Brand new Caledonian Sleeper carriages are out for testing on the UK rail network for the first time ahead of their introduction later this year.
The overnight Caledonian Sleeper rail service will be transformed by the introduction of the new £100m fleet which will see Serco introduce 75 new carriages in a phased transition starting this autumn.
A total of four Mark 5 carriages are out for testing this week, running on the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Arrochar & Tarbet. Testing on the West Highland Line will continue over the coming weeks before moving onto the West Coast Main Line.
Magnus Conn, Serco’s New Trains Director for Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Taking some of the new carriages out on the network for testing marks an exciting phase in our development programme. The purpose is to monitor the interaction between vehicle and track, and to check ride comfort in a variety of suspension states and speeds
“As testing progresses onto the West Coast Main Line later this month, we will be conducting a variety of tests including running at up to 110mph.”
The first carriages arrived in the UK in January following travel through the Channel Tunnel from the Velim Test Centre in the Czech Republic where mandatory trials were conducted.
The introduction of new trains will be the culmination of a wide range of improvements and investment in Caledonian Sleeper since Serco took over the franchise on behalf of the Scottish Government in April 2015. These are the first sleeper trains to be introduced to the UK in over 35 years, with part funding by capital grant from Scottish Ministers of £60m.
The fleet is designed to accommodate the modern-day traveller and cater to both business and leisure travel guests. A range of accommodation options will be offered, including:
• Comfort Seats
• Classic Rooms (twin or single)
• Club Rooms (twin or single with en-suite)
• Suites (double bed with en-suite)
• Classic, Club and Suites will also be available as fully accessible rooms for guests with reduced mobility
Other new features will also be included, such as a hotel-style key card entry system, more accessible rooms, charging panels and WiFi throughout the train.
The trains will initially be introduced on the Lowlander route between Glasgow / Edinburgh and London from October 2018. There will then be a phased transition on the Highlander route, which serves Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness.