Caledonian Sleeper

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Caledonian Sleeper
Caledonian sleeper branding.png
Caledonian Sleeper bar car 6706 at Euston Station.jpg
Franchise(s): Part of ScotRail (National Express) franchise
31 March 1997 - 16 October 2004
Part of First ScotRail franchise
17 October 2004 - 31 March 2015
Stand alone franchise operated by Serco
1 April 2015 - 31 March 2030
Main route(s): LondonScotland
Other route(s): None
Fleet size: 75 carriages
(22 × Mark 2, 53 × Mark 3)]
Stations called at: 46
Parent company: First ScotRail
Web site:

The Caledonian Sleeper is a sleeper train operated by First ScotRail. It is one of only two on the British railway network, the other being the Night Riviera.

It connects London Euston nightly except Saturday with five Scottish termini: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Glasgow and Inverness, and intermediate stations. The Fort William service is known as The Deerstalker.

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.


Two trains depart London Euston on six nights per week, Sunday to Friday, heading north on the West Coast Main Line.

Highland train – Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness[edit]

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 (to pick up seated passengers to Fort William only) approximately six-and-a-half hours after leaving London. The electric 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 (alighting only northbound/boarding only southbound with the exception of the stops served by the Fort William section). Travel from Edinburgh is possible in seated accommodation subject to availability. (Passengers for Central Scotland and stations to Perth and Dundee may depart London later on the Lowland train to Edinburgh, and arrive later by connecting train.)

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 (where seated passengers from Fort William can alight) 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 train – Edinburgh and Glasgow[edit]

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.

All four services stop at Preston to pick up breakfast supplies and to change drivers. Other driver changes occur at Carlisle. 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.


Caledonian Sleeper destinations
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 (by request)
Corrour (by request)
Bridge of Orchy
Upper Tyndrum
Ardlui (by request)
Arrochar & Tarbet
Helensburgh Upper
Glasgow Queen Street
643 Edinburgh Waverley (split/join,
service to/from Fort William only)
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
DB Schenker Class 90 in First ScotRail livery for hauling the Caledonian Sleeper at Edinburgh Waverley
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 usually hauled by Class 90 locomotives south of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Class 67 north of Edinburgh, all hired from DB Schenker. The portions for all destinations except Fort William have up to six sleepers, a lounge car and seated.

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.

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.[1] 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 now being provided by a class British Rail Class 67.


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. First ScotRail 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 compulsory.


Since the privatisation of British Rail the Caledonian Sleeper has been part of the ScotRail franchise. 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. A total of £100m will 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]

From 2018, motive power will be provided by GB Railfreight with class 92s and rebuilt class 73/9s.[5]

The Scottish Caledonian Sleeper Service was named in the Top 40 priority investments on page 37 of the Budget 2013 Red Book.[6]


  1. ^ "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. 
  2. ^ "Scottish rail services plan outlined by government". BBC News. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  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. ^ "The Sleepers are stirring" Rail issue 756 3 September 2014 page 70
  6. ^ "Budget 2013". HM Treasury. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

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
Serco Group
Caledonian Sleeper franchise
Preceded by
First ScotRail
ScotRail franchise
Operator of Caledonian Sleeper franchise
2015 - present