Service extended to north
Serco says ‘lessons learned’ as Highlands Sleeper arrives
New trains now serve the north of Scotland
UPDATED 13th: Serco Caledonian Sleeper boss Ryan Flaherty says it has “learned lessons” from problems on the Lowlander service as it extends the new trains to the Highlands.
The new £150 million fleet was hit by a series of setbacks, including cancellations, when it was introduced in April, connecting Edinburgh and Glasgow with London.
Mr Flaherty said the company had been focused on ensuring the reliability of the service which is now extended to Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William.
However, there were further reports this weekend of problems with key cards, missing staff, toilet problems and lack of hot food.
Managing director Mr Flaherty said: “We have worked really hard to learn lessons from introduction of the trains on the lowlander route earlier this year.
“We are now confident that all passengers can rely on the Caledonian Sleeper to provide the journey of a night time.”
The trains include wi-fi and rooms with double beds and en suite bathrooms.
Mr Flaherty said: “Our new trains have been years in the making and to see them complete their introduction to service is extremely exciting for everyone involved.
“The Highlander route has always been popular – there’s nothing quite like falling asleep just outside of London and awaking at the foot of the mountains in the Scottish Highlands.
“With the new service we are sure to see familiar faces continue to make the journey between London and Scotland as well as many new guests enjoy a service which is fit for today’s traveller, combining modern facilities expected with that feeling of nostalgia that comes from long-distance railway travel.”
The trains were built in Spain to replace the ageing fleet. They were due to enter service in spring 2018, but this was put back a year.
In late April, the inaugural overnight trips from Edinburgh and Glasgow to London Euston arrived over three hours late because of Network Rail problems.
The introduction of the Highlander service was due on 2 June, but was delayed because of further technical problems.