Unusually long Caledonian Sleeper in Aberdeen

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LE Greys

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In Aberdeen, on Tuesday and Saturday (the 3rd and the 7th of July), I saw what appeared to be an eight-coach Caledonian Sleeper formation with six sleeping cars. This seems unusually long, I've seen six-coach and seven-coach rakes before, but not eight-coach. Have they changed the formation? If so, does that mean shorter trains to elsewhere?
 
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I think the Aberdeen/Inverness portions have been temporarily
lengthened due to the ongoing cancellation of the Fort William
section following the derailment of 6S45 on June 28th.

MARK
 

LE Greys

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I think the Aberdeen/Inverness portions have been temporarily lengthened due to the ongoing cancellation of the Fort William section following the derailment of 6S45 on June 28th.

MARK
Ah-ha! That makes sense, thanks :D . It would be interesting to see whether they manage to fill the train while this is happening. If so, then there might be a case for a third sleeper service. I'm not holding out much hope for a new Aberdonian from King's Cross (although I'd use it a lot) but perhaps running the Aberdeen service as a separate train would allow them to increase capacity on the others, provided there is sufficient stock available.
 

Yew

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Ah-ha! That makes sense, thanks :D . It would be interesting to see whether they manage to fill the train while this is happening. If so, then there might be a case for a third sleeper service. I'm not holding out much hope for a new Aberdonian from King's Cross (although I'd use it a lot) but perhaps running the Aberdeen service as a separate train would allow them to increase capacity on the others, provided there is sufficient stock available.
Unfortunately I fear any Aberdonian service would be running via the WCML to avoid the need for extra route knowlage. Unless it was included as part of the EC franchise. Maybe using an Electra with the first class carriages as a lounger car, and MK3 Slep's replacing the standard class coaches. Maybe one seated sleeper in the first class seats, two lounge cars, a buffet car, and 5 sleeper coahces? (actually this is starting to seem an interesting idea, i think the locos and dvt's might need swapping though, to reduce shunting when inserting the sleeper carriages. Ill give the idea some more thought.
 

rail-britain

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The Aberdeen and Fort William services share the same set

With two sleepers currently trapped at Fort William, one Aberdeen set is operating at standard length, hence why it appears longer than normal, the same length as a normal Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Inverness service
 

Yew

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you would probably have to have the whole train as Mk3s as i can't see the traveling public warming to Mk4 sleps :lol:
The canadians seem to like them :) I was thinking the Loco and the first class coaches could detatch and join up to a short rake of sleeper coaches, when the two sets could take eachothers standard class coaches (and buffets?) and leave the sleeper sets in some siding somewhere till later?
 

LE Greys

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The canadians seem to like them :) I was thinking the Loco and the first class coaches could detatch and join up to a short rake of sleeper coaches, when the two sets could take eachothers standard class coaches (and buffets?) and leave the sleeper sets in some siding somewhere till later?
I'm not entirely sure how many SLEPs there are. If there are enough of them, then form up enough for the entire Aberdeen train, with the ability to leave some behind for off-season/midweek workings if necessary. Add some ordinary MkIII FOs if there are any spare, plus a Chiltern-style DBGV (heavily silenced). The set could then sit in a platform without using too much power. Ideally, as I say, it would operate from King's Cross Platform 0, with calls at Peterborough, York and Newcastle, then take over the current Aberdeen working. This would make it possible to strengthen the existing Fort William and Inverness portions, or to run an Oban portion if there is demand.

AIUI, Transport Scotland want a separate sleeper franchise. I'm not sure whether this will involve new or refitted stock, Chiltern-style conversions are possible. A bit of growth to the franchise would be ideal. I'm not sure what the current capacity limits are, but the fact that it has to work out of two platforms at Euston would seem to be one of them.
 

Yew

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I'm not entirely sure how many SLEPs there are. If there are enough of them, then form up enough for the entire Aberdeen train, with the ability to leave some behind for off-season/midweek workings if necessary. Add some ordinary MkIII FOs if there are any spare, plus a Chiltern-style DBGV (heavily silenced). The set could then sit in a platform without using too much power. Ideally, as I say, it would operate from King's Cross Platform 0, with calls at Peterborough, York and Newcastle, then take over the current Aberdeen working. This would make it possible to strengthen the existing Fort William and Inverness portions, or to run an Oban portion if there is demand.

AIUI, Transport Scotland want a separate sleeper franchise. I'm not sure whether this will involve new or refitted stock, Chiltern-style conversions are possible. A bit of growth to the franchise would be ideal. I'm not sure what the current capacity limits are, but the fact that it has to work out of two platforms at Euston would seem to be one of them.
I would be tempted to add newark, as then you add leicester, nottingham and maybe sheffield ( would it b easier to get to crewe than newark to your catchment area, remember that if it is for the highlands it would probably leave around 8, so calling at newark at 10 at night would be okay

I currently Live near nottingham, and usually to get the sleeper I would go down to london, an ECML sleeper would add much more flexibility, albeit an early morning kick out at newark.
 

rail-britain

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AIUI, Transport Scotland want a separate sleeper franchise. I'm not sure whether this will involve new or refitted stock, Chiltern-style conversions are possible. A bit of growth to the franchise would be ideal. I'm not sure what the current capacity limits are, but the fact that it has to work out of two platforms at Euston would seem to be one of them.
The process has now commenced to split this operation into a separate franchise, commencing from 2014 for a period of 15 years
The bids will determine whether overhaul or replacement stock will be specified, and the future operational aspect based on that
 

D841 Roebuck

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There is scope for extra calls for the sleeper/s once trans-pennine electrification is in place.

Euston-Crewe-Manchester-Leeds-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh and split??
 

IanXC

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Unfortunately I fear any Aberdonian service would be running via the WCML to avoid the need for extra route knowlage. Unless it was included as part of the EC franchise.
I'm pretty certain that the Scottish sleeper crews have ECML route knowledge anyway, as its often a planned diversion.

I'm not entirely sure how many SLEPs there are. If there are enough of them, then form up enough for the entire Aberdeen train, with the ability to leave some behind for off-season/midweek workings if necessary. Add some ordinary MkIII FOs if there are any spare, plus a Chiltern-style DBGV (heavily silenced). The set could then sit in a platform without using too much power. Ideally, as I say, it would operate from King's Cross Platform 0, with calls at Peterborough, York and Newcastle, then take over the current Aberdeen working. This would make it possible to strengthen the existing Fort William and Inverness portions, or to run an Oban portion if there is demand.

AIUI, Transport Scotland want a separate sleeper franchise. I'm not sure whether this will involve new or refitted stock, Chiltern-style conversions are possible. A bit of growth to the franchise would be ideal. I'm not sure what the current capacity limits are, but the fact that it has to work out of two platforms at Euston would seem to be one of them.
Theres definitely plenty of SLEPs around still, quite how many of them could be easily returned to service is a different question though. Many of them seem to be in quite a state.

I'm inclined to think there are a reasonable stock of Mark 3 FOs available, even if it means buying them from charter operators. Of course there are plenty of Mark 3 DVTs which cover off the lack of Mark 3 brake vehicles.

I think before too long (particularly if the current 2 each way services are split into 3) the sleepers will be operating from Kings Cross anyway. Euston is a difficult prospect while HS2 works are taking place, and Kings Cross is going to be rather empty before too long. Fits nicely.

Chiltern style conversions would be all well and good, except that the power doors wont really fit on the 'cabin' side of the stock. There was some discussion of this on a recent FGW sleeper thread, given the accessibility issues once onboard the stock I wonder whether power doors on the 'corridor' side, with the SLEPs arranged so that alternative coaches on each side have power doors, would be workable.

One aspect that I think would work exceedingly well is the inter coach doors which separate the corridor connection from the main coach. Given the complaints about noise, these could make a significant difference to the passenger experience.
 

rail-britain

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Euston-Crewe-Manchester-Leeds-York-Newcastle-Edinburgh and split??
Surely using this route would add nearly an hour to the current journey time?
Equally, this might be seen as high risk removing the small passenger flows for Carlisle and Preston and hoping the new passenger flows are built up quickly
The majority of passengers only travel Scotland - Euston

The proposal did originally suggest ending the Glasgow sleeper
In turn this would allow a longer Aberdeen sleeper
Equally one other suggestion was changing the West Highland destination from Fort William to Oban, which the above change would allow
Transport Scotland has been very open and is welcoming innovation, whether of course this actually happens is another thing!

It shouldn't be too long before the full franchise specification is made available as there is quite a lot to be considered
Equally, it could be attractive to the new franchise holder of the revised West Coast franchise
 

ainsworth74

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I'm pretty certain that the Scottish sleeper crews have ECML route knowledge anyway, as its often a planned diversion.
I'm sure they do. Every so often you'll find an 86 parked up in York having run there to act as a route refresher.
 

rail-britain

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I'm sure they do. Every so often you'll find an 86 parked up in York having run there to act as a route refresher.
When I did my ALR on the ScotRail sleepers via York, there were loads of extra staff, the Train Manager basically had to travel southbound passenger in order to work the respective northbound working normally, and after departing Edinburgh was in one of the berths along from me
He reappeared in the Lounge Car as we waited at Newcastle
Edinburgh - Newcastle (change of driver)
Newcastle - York (change of driver)
York - Wembley
 

sprinterguy

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Theres definitely plenty of SLEPs around still, quite how many of them could be easily returned to service is a different question though. Many of them seem to be in quite a state.
Where? On preserved railways? There's certainly not many left that are mainline registered and out of use (and the majority of those that are, are in an essentially derelict condition at Long Marston).
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I'm inclined to think there are a reasonable stock of Mark 3 FOs available, even if it means buying them from charter operators.
You will find that DB Schenker now own the vast majority of the available Mark 3 FO vehicles, having acquired them from Cargo-D and DRS, the two principal "charter operators" to have made use of them past, and DB are currently busy putting them back into use with ATW, and potentially in the near future with Chiltern.
 
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Liam

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When I did my ALR on the ScotRail sleepers via York, there were loads of extra staff, the Train Manager basically had to travel southbound passenger in order to work the respective northbound working normally, and after departing Edinburgh was in one of the berths along from me
He reappeared in the Lounge Car as we waited at Newcastle
Edinburgh - Newcastle (change of driver)
Newcastle - York (change of driver)
York - Wembley
I'm not so sure about on train staff, but as the sleepers are hauled by DBS and driven by DBS drivers, they should have plenty of drivers with the appropriate knowledge.
 

IanXC

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Where? On preserved railways? There's certainly not many left that are mainline registered and out of use (and the majority of those that are, are in an essentially derelict condition at Long Marston).
There seem to be about 14 which are either stored at Long Marston, in use with charter operators or with DB Regio. Like you say they are likely to be in poor condition, but remember what else has been restored from that kind of state to the network!
 

rail-britain

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First Great Western use only SLEP
This is unusual as they could have used SLE
It does give greater operational flexibility with such short formations but it does mean one of the pantry is effectively not used for full benefit

ScotRail have always used combinations of SLEP and SLE
However this can become restrictive, especially in shorter sets such as the Fort William
If the boiler in the SLEP fails then the remaining one in the Lounge Car has to be used, and this can compromise the service level

However, the main issue is the lack of spare BT10B bogies which the sleepers use
This has resulted in many of the sleepers being withdrawn, initially to provide a source of spare bogies and then in turn other spares
It is very unlikely that such coaches will return to passenger use as a result (the recent acquisition and stripping of a SLE in Inverness is one such example)

I believe Porterbrook have raised the issue of the lack of spare BT10B bogies numerous times
Details also appear in the ScotRail sleeper franchise proposal, but suggests that (between 14 and 22) additional new bogies would be manufactured if simple refurbishment progresses rather than complete train replacement

The situation at ScotRail is further complicated by some SLE having been converted to SLED, but this is not such an issue, as these are normally marshalled next to the Lounge Car, thus these first four coaches are normally always the same type (BUO-RLO-SLED-SLEP)
 

LE Greys

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Surely using this route would add nearly an hour to the current journey time?
Equally, this might be seen as high risk removing the small passenger flows for Carlisle and Preston and hoping the new passenger flows are built up quickly
The majority of passengers only travel Scotland - Euston

The proposal did originally suggest ending the Glasgow sleeper
In turn this would allow a longer Aberdeen sleeper
Equally one other suggestion was changing the West Highland destination from Fort William to Oban, which the above change would allow
Transport Scotland has been very open and is welcoming innovation, whether of course this actually happens is another thing!

It shouldn't be too long before the full franchise specification is made available as there is quite a lot to be considered
Equally, it could be attractive to the new franchise holder of the revised West Coast franchise
Well, looking at it from my point of view, I often chose to fly instead of taking the sleeper because I would avoid the additional costs of going into London - an Aberdeen-London Terminals SOR plus suppliment is considerably more expensive than an Aberdeen-Hitchin SOR plus suppliment - and having to get out again during the rush hour. I'm also not sure about platform space at Euston, although if things work this way, there would still only be two trains, so that's not an issue. Using a short section of NLL to get to Euston would be tricky because that is a very busy line, but I suppose it's possible.

The Oban section would be worth having, because it makes it easier to get to the Western Isles. The Tiree ferry runs leaves an hour before the sleeper's expected arrival time (about 09:00) so holding it for 90 minutes to give a half-hour connection time would be possible. Passengers would have a bit of a wait for the Craignure ferry, which is nearer midday. Going the other way, the Tiree, Craignure and Lismore ferries all arrive before 18:00. Playing with the timetable might be very helpful with this. It's unfortunate that the Orkeny/Shetland ferries travel overnight, but a day in Aberdeen is probably something passengers can live with.
 

scotsman

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Unfortunately I fear any Aberdonian service would be running via the WCML to avoid the need for extra route knowlage.
Erm, DBS sign both routes - the sleeper runs down the East Coast during works on the WCML
 

rail-britain

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I'm also not sure about platform space at Euston, although if things work this way, there would still only be two trains, so that's not an issue
The new franchise is suggesting the number of departures / arrivals at Euston could change from the current 2 to more
Examples -
A
Glasgow / Edinburgh -> Edinburgh / Inverness (serving Carlisle)
Fort William / Aberdeen / Inverness -> Fort William / Oban / Aberdeen (serving Preston and Crewe)
B
Glasgow / Edinburgh -> Edinburgh (serving Carlisle) / * new destination
Fort William / Aberdeen / Inverness -> Fort William / Aberdeen
new -> Oban / Inverness

Equally, as above the routes between Scotland and London could vary
For example the Edinburgh could swap to Kings Cross, the other sleeper would then continue to serve Carlisle

Finally, if new rolling stock is acquired the franchisee could retain the Mark 3 sleepers for contingency
These could then be used at peak periods (Friday / Sunday nights) and summer only services (Edinburgh - Bristol - Plymouth), although the chances are near to zero
 
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