Sleeper driver allocation

Status
Not open for further replies.

DaveTM

Member
Joined
25 Mar 2014
Messages
64
Which depots supply the drivers for the Caledonian Sleeper and the Night Riviera (in both directions)? Are these lodging turns? Are there many driver changes en-route? How does it all work? I've had a search and didn't find anything relevant.

I ask as a lowest link driver myself. For me, a night turn consists of a series of train preps and trips through the carriage washer, between two very short local drives at the beginning and end. Normally there is time after the last prep for a doze, but if I am very ??lucky?? I get to drive an empty ghost train in the middle of the night to the limits of my route knowledge to break the ice off the conductor rails.

Traditionally night turns have been the work of the lowest link, the new guys who only sign routes local to the depot. Once you have gained seniority and moved up a link you don't have to do the menial work and unsociable shifts anymore, and you get to learn routes further from home. However the sleeper services do not fit this pattern in that they require higher link route knowledge (particularly if the sleeper is diverted due to engineering works), and yet are naturally night turns.
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

HamworthyGoods

Established Member
Joined
15 Jan 2019
Messages
1,492
Which depots supply the drivers for the Caledonian Sleeper and the Night Riviera (in both directions)? Are these lodging turns? Are there many driver changes en-route? How does it all work? I've had a search and didn't find anything relevant.

I ask as a lowest link driver myself. For me, a night turn consists of a series of train preps and trips through the carriage washer, between two very short local drives at the beginning and end. Normally there is time after the last prep for a doze, but if I am very ??lucky?? I get to drive an empty ghost train in the middle of the night to the limits of my route knowledge to break the ice off the conductor rails.

Traditionally night turns have been the work of the lowest link, the new guys who only sign routes local to the depot. Once you have gained seniority and moved up a link you don't have to do the menial work and unsociable shifts anymore, and you get to learn routes further from home. However the sleeper services do not fit this pattern in that they require higher link route knowledge (particularly if the sleeper is diverted due to engineering works), and yet are naturally night turns.

The Night Riveria is just part of the normal driving links on Great Western, usually working an 80x one direction and the Riv in the other.

It’s mostly Exeter drivers although Paddington, Plymouth and Penzance crews all get involved in some degree often though just the ancillary ECS moves.
 

craigybagel

Established Member
Joined
25 Oct 2012
Messages
3,568
Which depots supply the drivers for the Caledonian Sleeper and the Night Riviera (in both directions)? Are these lodging turns? Are there many driver changes en-route? How does it all work? I've had a search and didn't find anything relevant.

I ask as a lowest link driver myself. For me, a night turn consists of a series of train preps and trips through the carriage washer, between two very short local drives at the beginning and end. Normally there is time after the last prep for a doze, but if I am very ??lucky?? I get to drive an empty ghost train in the middle of the night to the limits of my route knowledge to break the ice off the conductor rails.

Traditionally night turns have been the work of the lowest link, the new guys who only sign routes local to the depot. Once you have gained seniority and moved up a link you don't have to do the menial work and unsociable shifts anymore, and you get to learn routes further from home. However the sleeper services do not fit this pattern in that they require higher link route knowledge (particularly if the sleeper is diverted due to engineering works), and yet are naturally night turns.
The Caledonian Sleeper is worked by drivers from GBRF. Freight drivers tend to do a lot more night work then passenger drivers anyway so it's probably not such an issue for them I would have thought?
 

Tom Quinne

On Moderation
Joined
8 Jul 2017
Messages
2,225
I think GBRF Willesden “depot” have the majority of the southern end sleeper work along with the morning and evening shunts.
The Scottish sleeper is very resource intensive, unlike the Cornish one however.

Cornish, empty stock taken into Paddington (top & tail - loco each end), the leading loco into Padd catches a loft back to Reading to detach on the way to Cornwall. On arrival at Reading it stables in the station (usually) to again catch a ride on the rear of the London bound train in the morning, to bring it back empty to Reading later on.

Down at Penzance, sometimes the Long Rock Class 08 pilot drags the lot onto the depot from the station. Likewise in the evening it takes the train into the station with the Class 57 on the front (to London).

The Scottish sleeper is very Loco heavy though.

Highland (H) into Euston off Wembley (T&T) leading loco into Euston will become the train loco for the lowland , stables on the stabling roads awaiting Lowland to arrive.

Lowland train comes into Euston single loco at the Euston end - detaches.

Loco from the Highland ECS attaches to the head of the Lowland and off he goes.

Loco off the ecs lowland now runs to the centre sidings at Euston to stable.

Lcoos at Euston (1)

Morning at Euston...

Highland arrives, former lowland loco stabled at Euston overnight attaches to the head of the train pulls to Wembley.
Train loco has detached awaits Lowland to arrive.

Lowland arrives, former HL loco attaches and hauls whole train + train loco to Wembley.

I expect the driver who brings in the HL the previous night is the shunt driver for the whole night?
 

irish_rail

Established Member
Joined
30 Oct 2013
Messages
2,096
Location
Plymouth
Night Riviera

ECS Reading to Padd - Paddington driver
2345 Padd to Exeter - Exeter driver
04xx Exeter to Plymouth - Exeter driver
0541 Plymouth to Penzance - Plymouth driver
ECS Penzance to Long Rock - Penzance driver

The reverse is similar except its Exeter drivers throughout on the mainline leg and there is only a driver change at Exeter and not Plymouth.

Night Riviera

ECS Reading to Padd - Paddington driver
2345 Padd to Exeter - Exeter driver
04xx Exeter to Plymouth - Exeter driver
0541 Plymouth to Penzance - Plymouth driver
ECS Penzance to Long Rock - Penzance driver

The reverse is similar except its Exeter drivers throughout on the mainline leg and there is only a driver change at Exeter and not Plymouth.

As others have said it is worked by any driver with traction knowledge, certainly not just for newbies, intact alot of newer drivers dont sign 57s. I think only one link of drivers (about 40 of them) sign 57s at Paddington.

All HSS drivers at Exeter in theory sign 57s but no West ones. Almost all HSS Plymouth drivers in theory sign 57s and same with PZ, but lack of training In past couple of years means lots of newer ones are not yet 57 trained....
 

GB

Established Member
Joined
16 Nov 2008
Messages
6,107
Location
Somewhere
As above, GBRf are contracted to supply drivers for the Sleeper. I don't know about the north end of the route but Willesden depot cover the south end. The concept of a top link and bottom link doesn't really exist at GBRf either.
 

alistairlees

Established Member
Joined
29 Dec 2016
Messages
2,708
I think GBRF Willesden “depot” have the majority of the southern end sleeper work along with the morning and evening shunts.
The Scottish sleeper is very resource intensive, unlike the Cornish one however.

Cornish, empty stock taken into Paddington (top & tail - loco each end), the leading loco into Padd catches a loft back to Reading to detach on the way to Cornwall. On arrival at Reading it stables in the station (usually) to again catch a ride on the rear of the London bound train in the morning, to bring it back empty to Reading later on.

Down at Penzance, sometimes the Long Rock Class 08 pilot drags the lot onto the depot from the station. Likewise in the evening it takes the train into the station with the Class 57 on the front (to London).

The Scottish sleeper is very Loco heavy though.

Highland (H) into Euston off Wembley (T&T) leading loco into Euston will become the train loco for the lowland , stables on the stabling roads awaiting Lowland to arrive.

Lowland train comes into Euston single loco at the Euston end - detaches.

Loco from the Highland ECS attaches to the head of the Lowland and off he goes.

Loco off the ecs lowland now runs to the centre sidings at Euston to stable.

Lcoos at Euston (1)

Morning at Euston...

Highland arrives, former lowland loco stabled at Euston overnight attaches to the head of the train pulls to Wembley.
Train loco has detached awaits Lowland to arrive.

Lowland arrives, former HL loco attaches and hauls whole train + train loco to Wembley.

I expect the driver who brings in the HL the previous night is the shunt driver for the whole night?
And that's just the south end of things, which is simpler! The Lowlander arives at Euston (at 07.07 usually) before the Highlander (at 07.49 usually) though.
 

Scotrail84

Established Member
Joined
5 Jul 2010
Messages
2,265
Caledonian sleeper, to my knowledge was covered by Willesden, Crewe, Edge Hill, Polmadie, Craigentiny and Inverness men. Occasionally Carlisle Kingmoor men as well.
 

MrEd

Member
Joined
13 Jan 2019
Messages
585
Caledonian sleeper, to my knowledge was covered by Willesden, Crewe, Edge Hill, Polmadie, Craigentiny and Inverness men. Occasionally Carlisle Kingmoor men as well.
Also GBRF Fort William drivers between Helensburgh and Fort William on 1Y11 and 1B01. Presumably it’s an Edinburgh-based driver throughout on the Aberdeen section (1A25 and 1B16).
 

CW2

Established Member
Joined
7 May 2020
Messages
1,397
Location
Crewe
Once GBRf got the sleeper contract, and before the arrival of the CAF stock, there was a period in 2015 when 86101, 86401 and 87002 were being used, due to availability issues with the booked 92s. This also coincided with occasional diversions via the ECML. On one occasion I was travelling from Euston to Inverness and got chatting with a GBRf driver travelling passenger. I turned out he was from Tonbridge depot, and was travelling passenger to Doncaster to work 87002 (which was hauling our train via the ECML) forward to Newcastle, with a route conductor. Bizarre!
 

Tom Quinne

On Moderation
Joined
8 Jul 2017
Messages
2,225
And that's just the south end of things, which is simpler! The Lowlander arives at Euston (at 07.07 usually) before the Highlander (at 07.49 usually) though.

I do love the method behind the various shunts, love a bit of shunting ;)
 

matthewbirkett

New Member
Joined
26 Jun 2014
Messages
4
I've only had one experience of the Caledonian Sleeper back in July 2019 from Crewe to Fort William, but it did strike me how labour intensive the service is, as well as being the longest train I think I've ever travelled in (16 coaches) and hauled by a GBRF freight fleet 90 (no train heating....brrr).

If I remember rightly, there was a driver change at Crewe, followed by Preston and Carlisle.
On arrival at Edinburgh Waverley, the portions for Inverness, Aberdeen and Fort William were separated, with an "orange army" doing the honours.
Electric loco off at Newcastle and of the platform. Class 73 on at Glasgow end, then the first portion away. Second 73 onto the Glasgow end and then that portion away. Third Class 73 attached seated Fort William coach at the rear of the remaining portion, then set back over 2 crossovers onto the front of the train.
As I'm a cheapskate, we were in the seated portion, so had to get out at Waverley and wait on the platform, watching this fascinating activity unfold from about 0345-0450hrs!

We had then had a passenger crew from Edinburgh (who had presumably worked the London service earlier) as far as Dumbarton Central, where we had another crew change for the last leg.
 

gnolife

Established Member
Joined
4 Nov 2010
Messages
1,817
Location
Johnstone
I've only had one experience of the Caledonian Sleeper back in July 2019 from Crewe to Fort William, but it did strike me how labour intensive the service is, as well as being the longest train I think I've ever travelled in (16 coaches) and hauled by a GBRF freight fleet 90 (no train heating....brrr).

If I remember rightly, there was a driver change at Crewe, followed by Preston and Carlisle.
On arrival at Edinburgh Waverley, the portions for Inverness, Aberdeen and Fort William were separated, with an "orange army" doing the honours.
Electric loco off at Newcastle and of the platform. Class 73 on at Glasgow end, then the first portion away. Second 73 onto the Glasgow end and then that portion away. Third Class 73 attached seated Fort William coach at the rear of the remaining portion, then set back over 2 crossovers onto the front of the train.
As I'm a cheapskate, we were in the seated portion, so had to get out at Waverley and wait on the platform, watching this fascinating activity unfold from about 0345-0450hrs!

We had then had a passenger crew from Edinburgh (who had presumably worked the London service earlier) as far as Dumbarton Central, where we had another crew change for the last leg.
I think that the crew change will have been Dalmuir, not Dumbarton, thats certainly where the southbound change happens
 

43096

On Moderation
Joined
23 Nov 2015
Messages
10,870
I've only had one experience of the Caledonian Sleeper back in July 2019 from Crewe to Fort William, but it did strike me how labour intensive the service is, as well as being the longest train I think I've ever travelled in (16 coaches) and hauled by a GBRF freight fleet 90 (no train heating....brrr).
I assume you mean a GBRf 92: they don't have any 90s, but did hire them in from Freightliner. In any case, both types have train heating equipment.
 

alistairlees

Established Member
Joined
29 Dec 2016
Messages
2,708
I assume you mean a GBRf 92: they don't have any 90s, but did hire them in from Freightliner. In any case, both types have train heating equipment.
I don’t think the highlander was new stock in July 2019 (the lowlander had only swapped over at the end of April) so perfectly likely to have been a 90.
 

43096

On Moderation
Joined
23 Nov 2015
Messages
10,870
I don’t think the highlander was new stock in July 2019 (the lowlander had only swapped over at the end of April) so perfectly likely to have been a 90.
It was a mix of 90s and 92s back then. Whatever, it wasn't a GBRf 90.
 

Scotrail84

Established Member
Joined
5 Jul 2010
Messages
2,265
I assume you mean a GBRf 92: they don't have any 90s, but did hire them in from Freightliner. In any case, both types have train heating equipment.

The MA was probably Donald Ducked on the seating coach at towards the end the MK2s were basically left to far to pieces.

I've only had one experience of the Caledonian Sleeper back in July 2019 from Crewe to Fort William, but it did strike me how labour intensive the service is, as well as being the longest train I think I've ever travelled in (16 coaches) and hauled by a GBRF freight fleet 90 (no train heating....brrr).

If I remember rightly, there was a driver change at Crewe, followed by Preston and Carlisle.
On arrival at Edinburgh Waverley, the portions for Inverness, Aberdeen and Fort William were separated, with an "orange army" doing the honours.
Electric loco off at Newcastle and of the platform. Class 73 on at Glasgow end, then the first portion away. Second 73 onto the Glasgow end and then that portion away. Third Class 73 attached seated Fort William coach at the rear of the remaining portion, then set back over 2 crossovers onto the front of the train.
As I'm a cheapskate, we were in the seated portion, so had to get out at Waverley and wait on the platform, watching this fascinating activity unfold from about 0345-0450hrs!

We had then had a passenger crew from Edinburgh (who had presumably worked the London service earlier) as far as Dumbarton Central, where we had another crew change for the last leg.
Carlisle was not a driver change, it was a booked stop from days of old to put newspapers on but latterly a travelling fitter would sometimes board there hence the stop.
 

TimboM

Established Member
Joined
12 Apr 2016
Messages
3,720
Despite several earlier replies, at the current time (and for the past couple of years) the southern legs have in the main been driven by Crewe depot, along with a couple of the Liverpool men. They are "traditionally" Willesden turns, but in practice not at the moment. Willesden still do the majority of the Wembley ECS turns and also work certain other turns - back in "normal" times, Willesden typically did Friday nights to keep their route/traction knowledge.

During the current revised timetable, it's Crewe (or Liverpool) men most of the time as far as Carlisle, with driver changes at Crewe and Carlisle (where the Scottish-based drivers take over). If a Willesden driver is used, they either have to get back from Crewe c.midnight, or get to Crewe for c.0500 - both of which involves a long-distance taxi/hire car which is clearly not ideal.

In terms of Top Links etc. as noted above, there isn't really such a thing at GBRf. That said, the drivers working the Beds have to be Class 1 trained, sign the traction + added extras for the Mk5s and have pretty extensive route knowledge - not to mention the vast majority of them have years/decades of experience. Folk can come to their own conclusions what link they'd be in, if such a thing existed...

There are no lodging turns usually - most diagrams are "out and back" (some including travel as pass(enger) or via road to/from the start/end points if required).
 

MrEd

Member
Joined
13 Jan 2019
Messages
585
We had then had a passenger crew from Edinburgh (who had presumably worked the London service earlier) as far as Dumbarton Central, where we had another crew change for the last leg.
I’m fairly sure that the train managers who work the Fort William section are Dalmuir-based and, as you suggest, the TM was on a night shift, working 1B01 from Dalmuir to Edinburgh before staying at Edinburgh to work 1Y11 back. A new guard then relieved him/her to work 1Y11 north to Fort William.

The on-board hosts on this section are all Fort William based, working Fort William to Edinburgh on 1B01 then back to Fort William on 1Y11 on the same (very long) night shift.

The drivers change at Helensburgh rather than Dalmuir. The driver of 1Y11 (and 1B01) between Edinburgh and Helensburgh is a GBRF man/woman and must be based somewhere in the Central Belt (probably Polmadie, but I’m not sure); I’m not sure whether he works 1B01 from Helensburgh to Edinburgh then 1Y11 back in the same night shift, or whether he travels passenger to/from Helensburgh (probably involving a walk from Central to Upper) before/after his sleeper driving duties. Perhaps various depots in the Central Belt can cover this leg, I don’t know.

The driver of 1Y11 between Helensburgh and Fort William is definitely a GBRF Fort William man/woman and (I believe) drives a car down to Helensburgh Upper to take the sleeper back. The driver of 1B01 drives the sleeper from Fort William to Helensburgh in the evening, then returns the car (which has sat at Helensburgh during the day) back to Fort William. Probably a wonderful turn (in many ways) in spring and summer but an unenviable one in winter!
 

DaveTM

Member
Joined
25 Mar 2014
Messages
64
Thanks all for your replies. There is an interesting amount of disagreement! I'd forgotten that the haulage was contracted out to FOCs, at least on the Caledonian, so links can be forgotten. It does sound though as if the pool of suitably qualified drivers must be fairly small, and I wonder if it makes life interesting for the roster clerks!
 

Garmoran

Member
Joined
27 Sep 2011
Messages
61
Location
Not UK Mainland (ie: north of Perth)
The driver of 1Y11 between Helensburgh and Fort William is definitely a GBRF Fort William man/woman and (I believe) drives a car down to Helensburgh Upper to take the sleeper back. The driver of 1B01 drives the sleeper from Fort William to Helensburgh in the evening, then returns the car (which has sat at Helensburgh during the day) back to Fort William. Probably a wonderful turn (in many ways) in spring and summer but an unenviable one in winter!
Not as bad as you would think: snow is rarely a problem on the A82 and at night it is pretty well deserted except for deer. I bet the drivers do Helensburgh-Fort William in 2 hours or less, even keeping below 60 mph.
 

cakefiend

Member
Joined
23 Jun 2020
Messages
84
Location
Earth
Not as bad as you would think: snow is rarely a problem on the A82 and at night it is pretty well deserted except for deer. I bet the drivers do Helensburgh-Fort William in 2 hours or less, even keeping below 60 mph.
Probably much worse in summer, given all the tourists on the A82!
 

John Bishop

Member
Joined
15 Nov 2018
Messages
317
Location
Perth
Inverness GBRf drivers do a similar road journey each night Down to Stirling or back to Inverness spending which train they’re driving.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top