Caledonian Sleeper

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Caledonian Sleeper
Main route(s): London EustonAberdeen/Edinburgh Waverley/Fort William/Glasgow Central/Inverness
Other route(s): None
Fleet size: 75 carriages (22 × Mark 2, 53 × Mark 3)
75 Mark 5 carriages under construction by CAF due for delivery in 2018
Stations called at: 46
Parent company: Serco

Caledonian Sleeper is the collective name for overnight sleeper train services between London and Scotland, in the United Kingdom. Trains run nightly (except Saturday night) with two departures from London and split to serve five final destination routes within Scotland.

The earlier departure serves Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness. The later departure serves Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central. All routes have several intermediate stops. As of 2015 the services are part of the Caledonian Sleeper franchise operated by the train operating company Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited (SCSL).


Since the privatisation of British Rail the Caledonian Sleeper has been part of the ScotRail franchise. The Scottish Caledonian Sleeper Service was named in the Top 40 priority investments on page 37 of the Budget 2013 Red Book.[1]

In 2012 the Scottish Government announced that as part of the reletting of this franchise from April 2015 it would be split, with the sleeper a separate franchise to run for 15 years. It was stated that a total of £100 million would be invested in new and additional rolling stock.[2] In June 2013, Transport Scotland announced Arriva, FirstGroup and Serco had been shortlisted to bid for the new franchise.[3] In May 2014, the franchise was awarded to Serco with a commitment to replace the Mark 2 and Mark 3 coaching stock by 2018.[4] On 31 March 2015, Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited,[5] a subsidiary of Serco, took over the operation of the Caledonian Sleeper as an independent franchise split from the ScotRail franchise formerly operated by FirstGroup.

The Caledonian Sleepers headquarters and customer call centre is located within Inverness Railway Station. Each terminus station has lounges and ticketing/customer service desks.


Two trains depart London Euston on six nights per week, Sunday to Friday, heading north on the West Coast Main Line. The trains normally operate at a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour (130 km/h), but are authorised to travel at 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) where line speeds permit if the train has been delayed by more than 20 minutes.

Highland Sleeper – Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness

Departs London Euston at 21:15 (20:57 Sunday), calling at Watford Junction, Crewe and Preston to pick up passengers only, and arrives at Edinburgh Waverley approximately six-and-a-half hours after leaving London. The electric Class 92 (Sometimes Class 90) locomotive is uncoupled and replaced by a Class 67 diesel locomotive for each of the three portions, to Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William, calling at intermediate stations.

The front three coaches are for Fort William, the middle portion for Aberdeen, and the rear portion for Inverness.

Heading south, the Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness portions join at Edinburgh to form one train calling at Preston, Crewe and London Euston (alighting only).

As of September 2014, the Fort William Sleeper no longer serves Westerton, instead serving Glasgow Queen Street low level, alighting only Southbound/Boarding only Northbound.

Lowland Sleeper – Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central

Departs London Euston at 23:50 (23:27 Sunday), calling at Watford Junction to pick up only. Passengers can alight at Carlisle and at Carstairs (on the Glasgow section only), where the train divides, the rear portion continuing to Edinburgh, the front portion to Glasgow Central additionally calling at Motherwell.

Southbound the portions from Glasgow (calling at Motherwell) and Edinburgh join at Carstairs (where passengers can board the Glasgow section), then call at Carlisle to pick up only, setting down at Watford Junction and London Euston the following morning.

The Sunday services are sometimes diverted via the East Coast Main Line when the West Coast Main Line is closed for engineering work. Services diverted via the East Coast Main Line still depart from London Euston but join the North London Line at a junction north of Wembley to access the East Coast Main Line.

Rolling Stock

Caledonian Sleeper operate the following stock which is leased from The AC Locomotive Group, GBRf, DB Schenker and Freightliner.


Class Image Type Top speed Numbers Nos. Usage Built Hired From
mph km/h
67 67004Waverley.jpg Diesel Locomotive 125 201 2 67004, 67010 Edinburgh - Inverness/Aberdeen/Fort William 1999-2000 DB Schenker
73/9 Electro-diesel locomotive 90 145 3 73966–73968 Edinburgh - Inverness/Aberdeen/Fort William 1962, 1965-1967
(Rebuilt 2014-2016)
GB Railfreight
86 Electric Locomotive 110 177 1 86101 Empty Coaching Stock (London - Wembley) 1965-1966 Electric Traction
100 161 1 86401
87 87002Waverley.jpg 110 177 1 87002 London - Edinburgh / Glasgow Sleeper Portions. Empty Coaching Stock (London - Wembley)
Rescue Locomotive
1973-1975 Electric Traction
90 Hugh llewelyn 90 019 (5569027064).jpg 110 177 - Varying Locos from both Freightliner and DBS Fleets. London - Glasgow/Edinburgh 1987–1990 Freightliner And DB Schenker
92 92038 stabled in centre-roads Euston.jpg 87 140 6 92014, 92018, 92023, 92033, 92038, 92044 London - Glasgow/Edinburgh 1993-1996 GB Railfreight
Mark 2 Caledonian Sleeper bar car 6706 at Euston Station.jpg Lounge car
Seated Sleeper
100 160 22 Full Network 1969-1974 N/A
Mark 3 Caledonian Sleeper at Euston.jpg Sleeping car 125 200 53 Full Network 1975-1988 N/A


Class Image Type Top speed Number Nos. Usage Built Hired From Operated From
mph km/h
73/9 Electro-diesel locomotive 90 145 6 73969-73971 Edinburgh - Inverness/Aberdeen/Fort William 1962, 1965-1967
(Rebuilt 2014-2015)
GB Railfreight 2016
Mark 5 Carriage 75 Full Network 2016-2018 N/A 2018


Caledonian Sleeper destinations
Carrbridge (northbound only)
Blair Atholl
Dunkeld & Birnam
718 Stirling
684 Falkirk Grahamston (southbound only)
853 Aberdeen
827 Stonehaven
788 Montrose
766 Arbroath
738 Dundee
725 Leuchars
685 Kirkcaldy
Forth Bridge
Fort William
Spean Bridge
Roy Bridge
Bridge of Orchy
Upper Tyndrum
Arrochar & Tarbet
Helensburgh Upper
Dumbarton Central
Glasgow Queen Street
643 Edinburgh Waverley (split/join)
Anglo-Scottish border
336 Preston
254 Crewe
 28 Watford Junction London Overground (northbound only)
0km London Euston London Underground London Overground
646 Glasgow Central
625 Motherwell
646 Edinburgh Waverley
600 Carstairs (split/join)
    Anglo-Scottish border
481 Carlisle
28 Watford Junction London Overground
0km London Euston London Underground London Overground
Class 92 used for haulage in Caledonian Sleeper livery at Euston
Seating in the lounge car

The train consists of Mark 3 sleeping cars and Mark 2F lounge car and Mark 2E seated cars, all air conditioned. They are hauled by GB Railfreight Class 92 locomotives south of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and DB Schenker Class 67 north of Edinburgh. The portions for all destinations except Fort William have up to six sleepers, a lounge car and seated accommodation.

The Fort William portion consists of two sleeping cars (one set up for First Class, the other for Standard), with the lounge car and seated car north of Edinburgh only. This is because the longest permitted length train for the platforms at Euston is 16 carriages. Passengers in the Fort William portion can use the Aberdeen or Inverness lounge cars south of Edinburgh.

Previously, in 2006 First ScotRail and EWS came to an agreement that a dedicated fleet of Class 90s would be used, and these were painted in First ScotRail livery, with a small EWS logo at the cab.[6] Until June 2006 a Class 37 diesel locomotive hauled the Fort William portion; until 2001 Class 47 diesel locomotives hauled the Aberdeen and Inverness portions. The traction is now being provided by a class British Rail Class 67.

The current stand-alone Serco franchise uses traction provided by GB Railfreight. The fleet consists of four dedicated Class 92 electric locomotives that operate the electrified sections of the route, with a fleet of six Class 73/9 electro-diesel locomotives to operate the non-electrified sections of the route to Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen from October 2015. Until then Class 67 locomotives continue to be used.[7] For London area empty stock moves, Class 86 locos 86101 and 86401, and Class 87 no. 87002 are used.[8] 87002 has also been used as a back-up loco when others fail on the main passenger service.[9]


Three types of travel are available: First Class sleeper, Standard Class sleeper, and seated. There is often no differentiation between Caledonian Sleeper services and seated services on the National Rail booking system. Caledonian Sleeper offers a booking service which specifically shows its sleeper services, from the syndicated National Rail database. National Rail tickets are valid in seated parts of the train. Advance reservations are compulsory.


  1. "Budget 2013" (PDF). HM Treasury. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Scottish rail services plan outlined by government". BBC News. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Caledonian sleeper train service bidders named BBC News 28 June 2013
  4. Serco wins franchise for Caledonian sleeper train service BBC News 28 May 2014
  5. Companies House extract company no SC477821 Serco Caledonian Sleepers Limited
  6. "Operating enhancements for First ScotRail Sleeper to be delivered by DB Schenker and Axiom Rail" (Press release). DB Schenker Rail (UK). 26 May 2006. Retrieved 18 February 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Railway Herald issue 444
  8. "The Sleepers are stirring" Rail issue 756 3 September 2014 page 70

External links

Media related to Caledonian Sleeper at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
As part of British Rail
Sub-brand of ScotRail franchise
1997 - 2004
Succeeded by
First ScotRail
ScotRail franchise
Preceded by
ScotRail (National Express)
ScotRail franchise
Sub-brand of ScotRail franchise
2004 - 2015
Succeeded by
Caledonian Sleeper
Caledonian Sleeper franchise
Preceded by
First ScotRail
ScotRail franchise
Operator of Caledonian Sleeper franchise
2015 - present