Scottish Sleepers

GrimShady

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I've just been watching a few Inverness Sleeper videos from the late 90's. When did the MK1 BG disappear from the formation?

What were the formations of the Scottish Sleeper from the late 80s to present?
 
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GB71

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Assuming you mean the internal Scottish sleepers (Inverness - Glasgow/Edinburgh) it was certainly Mark 3 sleeping cars by September 87. Living in Thurso in the mid to late 80's and just before my 16th birthday I had my first ever experince of a sleeper from Inverness to Glasgow and remember the very new at that time Mark 3s. I don't think they'd been on internal Scottish sleepers that long.
 

GrimShady

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Assuming you mean the internal Scottish sleepers (Inverness - Glasgow/Edinburgh) it was certainly Mark 3 sleeping cars by September 87. Living in Thurso in the mid to late 80's and just before my 16th birthday I had my first ever experince of a sleeper from Inverness to Glasgow and remember the very new at that time Mark 3s. I don't think they'd been on internal Scottish sleepers that long.
I should have made my post more specific. What I meant to say was when did the current formation of splitting at Edinburgh commence? Going by the YouTube videos, the Inverness Sleeper was a fairly lengthy train already!
 

Journeyman

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I should have made my post more specific. What I meant to say was when did the current formation of splitting at Edinburgh commence? Going by the YouTube videos, the Inverness Sleeper was a fairly lengthy train already!
The current operating pattern of the Sleepers, i.e. the two runs in/out of London and the current splits of portions at Carstairs and Edinburgh, dates from 1995. Prior to that, there were three runs in and out of London. The plan was to axe the Fort William sleeper at that time, but there was a huge political furore about it, so it was reprieved and tacked onto the Inverness/Aberdeen service. Pretty sure Motorail was axed at the same time.

Only significant change since then was diversion of the West Highland portion onto the Airdrie/Bathgate line a few years ago, allowing the train to serve Queen Street Low Level. This replaces a former DMU shuttle from Queen Street to Westerton, to allow connection for Glasgow - Fort William daytime passengers.
 

GrimShady

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The current operating pattern of the Sleepers, i.e. the two runs in/out of London and the current splits of portions at Carstairs and Edinburgh, dates from 1995. Prior to that, there were three runs in and out of London. The plan was to axe the Fort William sleeper at that time, but there was a huge political furore about it, so it was reprieved and tacked onto the Inverness/Aberdeen service. Pretty sure Motorail was axed at the same time.

Only significant change since then was diversion of the West Highland portion onto the Airdrie/Bathgate line a few years ago, allowing the train to serve Queen Street Low Level. This replaces a former DMU shuttle from Queen Street to Westerton, to allow connection for Glasgow - Fort William daytime passengers.
Just what I was looking for, thanks. Was the Fort William Sleeper plus MotoRail one of the London departures? Also were these from Kings Cross at the time? What would the traction have been before the 37s took over for the WHL?
 

Journeyman

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Just what I was looking for, thanks. Was the Fort William Sleeper plus MotoRail one of the London departures? Also were these from Kings Cross at the time? What would the traction have been before the 37s took over for the WHL?
The Fort William did originally go from King's Cross, I think, but all Sleepers had diverted to Euston by about 1988, as the East Coast Main Line was frequently closed overnight during electrification work. I think the idea was to return some sleepers to the ECML after electrification - hence the blunt-end cabs on the 91s - but it never happened. The sleeper market was starting to decline somewhat by then, and BR had far more Mark 3 sleepers than it eventually needed. It was easier to concentrate all the Anglo-Scottish sleeper traffic on one line.

Traction on the Fort William Sleepers over the WHL was Class 26s before the 37s. The changeover there was some time in the early 80s. On occasion in the early diesel days, the exceptionally dreadful Class 21 and 29 locos made appearances, usually in pairs because they were so unreliable!

Information on Sleepers is quite hard to come by - they don't tend to get noticed or photographed by many people! A lot of the little variations and changes over the years have probably gone completely unobserved. There's certainly not much in the way of books about the history of sleepers, and I think this is a major gap in the market.

My own particular interest comes from two and a half years of working for Caledonian Sleeper. :)
 
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GrimShady

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The Fort William did originally go from King's Cross, I think, but all Sleepers had diverted to Euston by about 1988, as the East Coast Main Line was frequently closed overnight during electrification work. I think the idea was to return some sleepers to the ECML after electrification - hence the blunt-end cabs on the 91s - but it never happened. The sleeper market was starting to decline somewhat by then, and BR had far more Mark 3 sleepers than it eventually needed. It was easier to concentrate all the Anglo-Scottish sleeper traffic on one line.

Traction on the Fort William Sleepers over the WHL was Class 26s before the 37s.
Thanks again. I should have phrased the traction question differently lol, what would the traction have been from London before the 37 hauled the set up to Fort William. I seem to remember the Sleeper being added to the first day service out of QS, can't remember what brought the sleeper into QS.
 

Journeyman

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Thanks again. I should have phrased the traction question differently lol, what would the traction have been from London before the 37 hauled the set up to Fort William. I seem to remember the Sleeper being added to the first day service out of QS, can't remember what brought the sleeper into QS.
The sleeper stopped operating directly into Queen Street High Level some years ago, and I don't know how it worked back then. Certainly since 1995, the FW portion is electrically hauled to Edinburgh, and originally went over the E&G, bypassing Queen Street, and calling at Westerton, where a DMU from Queen Street provided a connection for early morning WHL seated passengers from Glasgow. As I say, the train now goes over the Airdrie/Bathgate and serves Queen Street Low Level directly, with the Westerton stop eliminated.

Class 37s on the Edinburgh - Fort William run were replaced by 67s about ten years ago. Most Sleepers in recent years were electrically hauled by 90s on the London - Edinburgh section, until Caledonian Sleeper started using 92s (on and off!) from 2015.

I'm not sure what the consist of the Fort William portion was before the current seated vehicles were introduced in 1999.
 

30907

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Thanks again. I should have phrased the traction question differently lol, what would the traction have been from London before the 37 hauled the set up to Fort William. I seem to remember the Sleeper being added to the first day service out of QS, can't remember what brought the sleeper into QS.
If you go back that far, the WHL was typically 26s/27s. I've checked my notes from my first Freedom of Scotland in 1973, and every train, including the sleeper, was a D53xx/54xx. I don't think that changed for years.
I didn't use the sleeper out of Kings Cross, but it was detached from an Aberdeen train at Waverley, so I would bet on another BRCW Type 2 into Queen St.
Slightly OT, but IIRC the Glasgow-Mallaig portion was only 2 coaches (RMB+BCK?) and it was strengthened at Ft Wm by a couple of TSOs. My notes aren't detailed enough to be certain, it might have been 3 and 1.
 

AY1975

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The Fort William did originally go from King's Cross, I think, but all Sleepers had diverted to Euston by about 1988, as the East Coast Main Line was frequently closed overnight during electrification work. I think the idea was to return some sleepers to the ECML after electrification - hence the blunt-end cabs on the 91s - but it never happened.
Yes, that's right - I think the Fort William Sleeper ran from King's Cross as a portion of the Aberdeen train until about 1976, when it switched to running from Euston.

I had always assumed that ever since then the Fort William Sleeper had always run as a portion of the Inverness train, but I seem to recall that for a short while during the transition period between Mark 1s and Mark 3s in about 1983 the Inverness was Mark 3s but the Fort William was still Mark 1s so maybe it was a separate train in those days or ran as a portion of another train (maybe the Stranraer?). Nowadays it would seem hard to justify running the Fort William as a separate train (in fact, since about 1995 the Aberdeen, Inverness and FW has run as one train as far as Edinburgh) - how times have changed.

See also my thread on when each route changed to Mark 3s at https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/when-did-each-sleeper-route-change-to-mark-3s.169704/
 

AY1975

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Assuming you mean the internal Scottish sleepers (Inverness - Glasgow/Edinburgh) it was certainly Mark 3 sleeping cars by September 87. Living in Thurso in the mid to late 80's and just before my 16th birthday I had my first ever experince of a sleeper from Inverness to Glasgow and remember the very new at that time Mark 3s. I don't think they'd been on internal Scottish sleepers that long.
The Mark 3s replaced the Mark 1s on the Inverness-Glasgow/Edinburgh service in May 1984, the last Sleeper route to change to Mark 3s.
 

RLBH

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I had always assumed that ever since then the Fort William Sleeper had always run as a portion of the Inverness train, but I seem to recall that for a short while during the transition period between Mark 1s and Mark 3s in about 1983 the Inverness was Mark 3s but the Fort William was still Mark 1s so maybe it was a separate train in those days or ran as a portion of another train (maybe the Stranraer?). Nowadays it would seem hard to justify running the Fort William as a separate train (in fact, since about 1995 the Aberdeen, Inverness and FW has run as one train as far as Edinburgh) - how times have changed.
For a fair time in the 1970s and 1980s, the Inverness train ran on its own, whilst the Fort William ran as a portion off the Perth sleeper. Except on Saturday nights, when the Perth train didn't run and the Inverness train was shortened to allow it to take the Fort William portion.
 

GrimShady

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It's a shame the Scottish - West Country Sleepers were done away with. I for one would use it. Currently getting into to Euston at 0700 then getting to Paddington to catch a GWR service is less than ideal.
 
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dubscottie

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It's a shame the Scottish - West Country Sleepers were done away with. Information one would use it. Currently getting into to Euston at 0700 then getting to Paddington to catch a GWR service is less than ideal.
The Royal Navy pulling out of Rosyth and privatisation killed that sleeper.
 

gingerheid

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It's a shame the Scottish - West Country Sleepers were done away with. Information one would use it. Currently getting into to Euston at 0700 then getting to Paddington to catch a GWR service is less than ideal.
I miss them. But towards the end there was so rarely anyone else in the carriage that I can't argue with their withdrawal :(
 

IanXC

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It's a shame the Scottish - West Country Sleepers were done away with. Information one would use it. Currently getting into to Euston at 0700 then getting to Paddington to catch a GWR service is less than ideal.
What we need is a couple of special workings by Caledonian Sleeper after they have Mk 5 stock in service to recreate said service ;)
 

Journeyman

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Going off topic when did Saturday night Sleepers fall out of favour?
Around the same time that they were diverted off the ECML, I think. Biggest problem with running them is that it's peak time for engineering work, and the demand to be anywhere at 7am on a Sunday is minimal.
 

Journeyman

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I for one would use it.
Problem is very few other people would, and let's be honest, how often would you use it? Once or twice a year? We're actually very lucky the remaining sleepers have survived - from a purely commercial perspective they're dead ducks.
 

snookertam

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Problem is very few other people would, and let's be honest, how often would you use it? Once or twice a year? We're actually very lucky the remaining sleepers have survived - from a purely commercial perspective they're dead ducks.
I always wondered why this should be the case. There are still overnight routes on the continent, and there is still a certain market for overnight land based travel as opposed to flying early in the morning.

Caledonian Sleeper have targeted one end of this market through the idea of luxury overnight travel between London and Scotland. I've sometimes wondered about having a low cost operation, a bit similar to the Inter-Rail idea on the continent, or to challenge overnight bus services?
 

Journeyman

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Caledonian Sleeper have targeted one end of this market through the idea of luxury overnight travel between London and Scotland. I've sometimes wondered about having a low cost operation, a bit similar to the Inter-Rail idea on the continent, or to challenge overnight bus services?
There's absolutely nothing low-cost about running overnight services, as they're very complex and difficult to fit in with everything else, and the initial investment is very high. You can't compete with overnight bus services, you'll never be able to price them low enough.
 

GrimShady

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Problem is very few other people would, and let's be honest, how often would you use it? Once or twice a year? We're actually very lucky the remaining sleepers have survived - from a purely commercial perspective they're dead ducks.
At least six.
 

xotGD

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I don't remember Saturday night sleepers even in the early 80s
The South West England - Scotland sleeper ran on a Saturday night in the mid/late 80s. An opportunity for some entertaining diversions - I guess that's one reason Saturday night services were binned.
 

trebor79

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I wonder if there's a market for a sleeper motorrail? East Anglia to the west country, south coast to northern England & Scotland. Arriving with your car would be very useful for leisure and business travel

What's going to happen to the MK3 sleepers that come off lease? Maybe an opportunity for an open access operation?
 

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