Scotland’s Transport Minister Humza Yousaf MSP boarded a prototype of new Caledonian Sleeper train carriages a week ago for a sneak preview of what will be a world-class guest experience.
Mr Yousaf was treated to an exclusive preview of the new train design, which features double room accommodation, a first in the UK. The new fleet will also introduce en-suite toilet and showers in a number of rooms in the accommodation carriages alongside other new design features.
The design of the train has evolved over the last year following a consultation process. Several new features have been included such as a hotel style key card entry system, more accessible rooms, and reclining seats, upgraded panels for phone and gadget charging and wifi.
The prototype carriages were installed at a warehouse near Edinburgh to allow feedback ahead of the full build programme by supplier CAF in Spain, which is now underway.
The new design will ensure guests, whether on business or leisure, enjoy a hotel-style experience, waking at their destination refreshed and rejuvenated having travelled in luxury and comfort.
And in response to the ever-growing popularity of hospitality on board the Caledonian Sleeper, the Lounge Car for dining will be further upgraded with more seating options and social space serving the best of Scottish produce in the on board menu,
Scottish interior designer Ian Smith has overseen the look and feel of the new carriages, with the patterns reflecting a contemporary Scotland.
Peter Strachan, Managing Director, Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Sitting with Humza Yousaf aboard the new Lounge Car allowed us to fast forward to 2018 and get a real feel for what will be a new standard of overnight travel between Scotland and London.
“We have made a number of improvements to the design plans for the new Caledonian Sleeper based on discussion with stakeholders and model testing, most notably the introduction of double beds which will enhance the Caledonian Sleeper’s reputation for being one of the world’s most enchanting travel experiences.”
Over £150m is being invested in the new fleet, which is part funded by a £60m capital grant from Scottish Ministers.
Minister for Transport & Islands, Humza Yousaf said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving every aspect of Scotland’s railways, no less so than on one of the truly iconic Scottish rail services.
“When investing upwards of £60m, we wanted a new sleeper service that incorporated cutting edge design, top class passenger catering and a service that was emblematic of the very best Scotland has to offer. We also wanted a service that would enhance travel options to and from London as well as encourage more tourists to visit Scotland.
“Today’s glimpse of what innovative and never-before-seen upgrades to services rail passengers can expect is breathtaking, and I look forward to the trains moving to full production and then into service.”
The introduction of new trains will be the culmination in a raft of improvements and investments in the Caledonian Sleeper since Serco took over the franchise on behalf of the Scottish Government in April 2015.
Highlights include a new Guest Service Centre in Inverness as well as new uniforms, toiletries and food and beverage offer, all supplied by Scottish companies.