New Caledonian Sleeper carriages under test

Photo: Serco.

The first new carriages destined for the Caledonian Sleeper service are now complete and in the Czech Republic for testing.

The new units, which will replace the current Mark 2 sitting and Mark 3 sleeping carriages from the 1970s and 80s, are being manufactured for operator Serco by CAF in Beasain, northern Spain.

The test train, made up of two seated, one Club and two sleeper cars, was first transported by road to Hendaye, just over the border in France, where they were hauled to the Velim test track by rail. Spain uses a different track gauge from the rest of Europe so direct rail transit was not possible.

After several weeks of testing at Velim, the carriages will then be taken through the Channel Tunnel to Polmadie depot in Glasgow for UK testing and approval. They are due to enter service in 2018.

Photo: Serco.

Serco chairman Peter Strachan commented: “It’s great to see the first of the new carriages on the move.  To design, build and introduce a new fleet of rail sleeper coaches is extremely challenging and complex.

“We still have a lot of work to do to successfully bring the new sleeper fleet into service next year, but I am really excited about the quality of experience we will be able to offer our guests when it arrives.”

Once in service, the new trains will offer four ways to travel – in reclining seats, berths, en-suite berths or even double en-suite berths for couples. There will also be a Brasserie-style Club Car for dining.

Interior designer Ian Smith has chosen a contemporary Scotland theme for the new carriages, which will feature Wi-Fi and charging points as well as hotel-style key-card locks on berth doors.

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