The 72 new state-of-the-art carriages, making up four new trains and representing investment of more than £100million, will transform the comfort of sleeper travel. Passengers in London will step into Scotland as they board the train. The new catering will showcase Scottish produce to benefit firms from Shetland to Stranraer and Stornoway to Stonehaven.

The news was revealed today by Transport Minister Keith Brown as he unveiled Serco as the new Caledonian Sleeper franchisee.

A partnership with luxury hospitality firm Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) and Michelin-starred chef Albert Roux will introduce hotel-style service and an improved all-round travelling experience and passengers will benefit from the sleek new trains, a wider range of ticket types and a more family-friendly ethos.

Onboard staff will be offered training towards achieving an SVQ Level 3 qualification in hospitality. The franchisee is also committed to ensuring that 15 apprenticeships are created and apprentices trained during the first 2 years of the Franchise, thereafter a minimum of 2 apprentices will be supported in each calendar year during the Franchise.

In short, this investment offers staff the opportunity to work for a Caledonian Sleeper with a secure future, new equipment, and ambitious growth plans and to be at the heart of delivering an emblematic Scottish train service of which they can be justifiably proud.

Revealing the exciting new contract at the Annual Rail Conference in Edinburgh this morning, Mr Brown said:

“The successful bidder has reflected the Scottish Government’s objectives to transform this iconic Scottish rail service. The new Caledonian Sleeper franchise will commence on 1 April 2015, and delivers investment in the service for the next fifteen years.

“The contract secures the future of the Caledonian Sleeper, ensuring it delivers a service fit for the 21st century and that it provides – as it has done for over 100 years – a unique, valued and high profile overnight service between Scotland and London.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to investment has led to a real success. New trains will be built – designed especially for this service, and developed in consultation with passengers. The new fleet will be ready and on the tracks in 2018.

“The service will creatively reflect the attributes that visitors say best describe Scotland; a dramatic, human and enduring place.

“Key features will include - in the seated accommodation – modern comfortable cradle seats as well as innovative pod seats that can transform into flatbeds.

“The train will deliver new standard class sleeper berths. And in business berths there will be en-suite shower and toilet facilities – making it truly a hotel on wheels.

“The service will be easy to book and a pleasure to travel. This investment ensures an iconic Scottish railway journey will be available for all – from backpackers to business travellers. It will open the Sleeper up to a whole new audience.

“The train will showcase the best of Scotland’s food and drink and will benefit Scottish businesses from Shetland to Stranraer and from Stornoway to Stonehaven.

“Our decision is good for passengers, good for staff, good for Scottish business and good for Scotland.”

Around 270,000 journeys were made on the Sleeper service in the last full year.

Jamie Ross, Business Development Director for Serco’s transport business, said:

“We are thrilled to have been selected to run the Caledonian Sleeper service and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with Transport Scotland to achieve their aspirations for a truly emblematic service that encompasses the best of Scotland.

“Serco has a strong track record in running transport operations all over the world from the Dubai Metro and driverless Docklands Light Railway system to the Great Southern Railway in Australia and North Link Ferries in Scotland.

“We are looking forward to transforming the iconic and prestigious Caledonian Sleeper service into an outstanding and world class experience for passengers.”

Transport Scotland Press Office – 0141 272 7199

Notes to editors


Transport Scotland is the national transport agency for Scotland, delivering the Scottish Government's vision for transport.

Further details of the Sleeper service can be found here

The new Caledonian Sleeper contract will offer


  • Four brand new top-of-the-range, 18 carriage trains.
  • A transformed passenger experience, including earlier train boarding.
  • Staff trained to hotel-industry qualification standards
  • Choice of ticket types from pod flatbeds and cradle seats to en-suite business berths.
  • Brasserie-style club car with themed evenings
  • Child-friendly ethos with free meals for under-12s
  • Improved accessibility
  • Easier booking systems


  • Training and development
  • Support towards achieving an SVQ Level 3 qualification in hospitality for all onboard staff.
  • 15 apprenticeships in first two years.
  • Two further apprenticeships annually for the remainder of the contract.
  • Terms for existing staff protected under TUPE
  • Railway Pensions Scheme protected.
  • Rail Staff Travel Rights protected.


  • Supply contracts for at least 15 SMEs throughout Scotland.
  • Partnership with Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI)
  • Working with Scotland Food & Drink to achieve a recognised accreditation for catering
  • More attractive service bringing business to Scotland


  • Working with VisitScotland on branding and promotion.
  • Showcasing the best of Scottish food and drink
  • Emblematic of ‘Brand Scotland’.
  • Attracting business and tourists to Scotland

Published 28 May 2014