Sleeper Either Class

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British Rail Sleeper Either Class
British Rail Mark 3A SLE 10727 at Meldon.JPG
Providing accommodation at a heritage railway
In service1982–
ManufacturerBritish Rail Engineering Limited
Built atDerby Litchurch Lane Works
Family nameBritish Rail Mark 3
Number built208 (120 SLEP, 88 SLE)
Fleet numbersSLEP: 10500–10619,
SLE: 10646–10733
CapacitySLEP: 12–24 beds (12 compartments),
SLE: 13–26 beds (13 compartments)
Operator(s)Great Western Railway Caledonian Sleeper
Car length75 ft 0 in (22.86 m)
Maximum speed125 mph (200 km/h)
Weight43 t (42 long tons; 47 short tons)
Train heatingElectric heating (ETH index SLEP: 7, SLE: 6), air conditioned, electric cooking
Braking system(s)Air
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

A Sleeper Either class (SLE) and Sleeper Either class with Pantry (SLEP) are a type of railway sleeping car used in Great Britain. Some units were later modified for better wheelchair access as Sleeper Either class Disabled (SLED). A smaller number reused in Denmark were classified as WLABr[1].

A total of 208 vehicles were built at Derby Litchurch Lane Works by British Rail Engineering Limited between 1982–1984 to the British Rail Mark 3A profile for British Rail. They were introduced to replace an ageing fleet of Mark 1 sleeper cars built to various designs and which dated from the late 1950s to early 1960s. The order consisted of 88 SLE variants, numbered 10646–10733, were constructed with thirteen bedrooms each, and 120 SLEP variants, numbered 10500–10619 constructed with twelve bedrooms with the last compartment used for an attendant.

As of 2017, the only mainline operators of these type of carriages are Great Western Railway on the Night Riviera and Serco on the Caledonian Sleeper.

With the decline of overnight sleeper services in the United Kingdom shortly after their introduction at the end of the 1980s, many of the carriages later were moved to heritage railways to provide sleeping accommodation for heritage staff and volunteers.


SLEP 10590, at Penzance railway station on 29 August 2003 as part of the Night Riviera

On the Night Riviera from London Paddington station to Penzance railway station in Cornwall.

The various Scottish services depart from London Euston railway station for final destinations at Glasgow Central station, Edinburgh Waverley railway station, Aberdeen railway station, Inverness railway station and Fort William railway station.

Between 1988–1998, ten SLE carriages were leased to Danish State Railways (DSB) for use in Denmark. This lease came to an end following the opening of the Great Belt Fixed Link combined bridge and tunnel. During this time, the vehicles were classified as WLABr and each carried a UIC number.


Following the withdrawal of many overnight sleeper services in the late-1980s, many Mark 3 SLEP sleeper carriages were obtained by heritage railways in order to provide sleeping accommodation for heritage staff and volunteers. As of 2015 there were 32 SLEs [2] and 2 SLEPs [3] in preservation at heritage railways.


  1. ^ "DSB litra WLABr. Oversigt over samtlige vogne". Retrieved 2017-08-01.
  2. ^
  3. ^

Further reading[edit]

  • "Exiled Mk 3 'sleepers' return home after ten years in Denmark". RAIL. No. 346. EMAP Apex Publications. 16–29 December 1998. p. 13. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.