Caledonian Sleeper

Caledonian Sleeper

Infobox Rail companies
bgcolor = white
image_filename = Caledonian90019.jpg
widthpx = 300px
franchise = Part of ScotRail franchise
(17 October 2004 - 2014)
logo_filename = Caledonian sleeper branding.pngnameforarea = route
regions = London-Scotland
secregions = None
fleet = 75 coaches
(22 x Mk 2; 53 x Mk 3)
allocated to Inverness TMD

stations = 46
parent_company = First ScotRail
website =
websitetitle = Sleeper trains
The Caledonian Sleeper is a sleeper train service operated by First ScotRail and one of only two remaining sleeper services running on the railways of Great Britain – the other being the Night Riviera.

It connects London Euston station and five Scottish termini – Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Glasgow and Inverness – six times a week (departures are daily except for Saturday nights) and also serves a number of intermediate stations. The service to Fort William is colloquially known as "The Deerstalker."

"Caledonian" is an adjective relating to Scotland or the Scottish Highlands and derives from "Caledonia", the Latin name for northern Britain.


Two services leave daily (except Saturday nights) from London Euston northbound along the West Coast Main Line. The "Highland Caledonian Sleeper" services leave London as one train in the early evening (between 2000 and 2115) for Inverness, Aberdeen and Fort William. Later on (around 2300 - 0000) the "Lowland Caledonian Sleeper" services leave for Edinburgh and Glasgow, also as one train.

After leaving London, The Highland Sleeper calls at Watford Junction, Crewe and Preston for further boarding. (It is customary for the service to arrive early and wait for its booked departure time.) This train arrives at Edinburgh Waverley (where no alighting is possible) about six and a half hours later after leaving London, where it splits into three separate trains, bound for Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William. These trains call at intermediate stations en route to their final destinations. Travel to intermediate stations between Edinburgh and the ultimate destinations is possible in seated accommodation subject to availability. It is worth noting that customers for Central Scotland and Fife stations to Perth and Dundee may depart London later and arrive later by travelling on the London Euston – Edinburgh Sleeper, then by local connecting service from Edinburgh. Also, although the Fort William portion of the Highland Sleeper skirts round northern Glasgow, customers may arrive in Glasgow earlier than the Lowland Sleeper by travelling on the Highland Sleeper and changing at Westerton.

The Lowland Sleeper leaves London, and calls at Watford Junction only to pick up passengers. The service stops to allow passengers to alight at Carlisle and Carstairs. At Carstairs it separates into two separate services, one bound for Edinburgh and the other for Glasgow Central, also calling at Motherwell.

Heading south, the Highland Sleeper trains depart from Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen, calling at intermediate stations on the journey southwards. They merge to form one train at Edinburgh Waverley before continuing their journey via Preston, Crewe and Watford Junction (all stops permit alighting only) to London Euston. The Lowland Sleeper services depart from Glasgow (calling at Motherwell) and Edinburgh and merge at Carstairs. The merged service makes a further stop at Carlisle to pick up passengers, and arrives at Watford Junction and then London Euston the following morning. All four services stop at Carlisle to pick up breakfast supplies and for a driver change.

From London Euston, the front two coaches of the Highland Sleeper are for Fort William, the middle portion Aberdeen, and the rear portion Inverness.

Of the Lowland Sleeper, the front portion is for Motherwell and Glasgow Central, the rear portion for Edinburgh.


Occasionally, if the WCML is closed for engineering works, the train will use the East Coast Main Line and miss out the usual stops. The train leaves Euston as normal but with a second locomotive still attached to the back of the train. Upon arriving at Wembley Car Maintenance Depot in North London, the first locomotive is detached and the train hauled southwards again, back in the direction of London. A curve is taken to join the North London Line through Camden Road station and onto the curve linking the North London Line to the East Coast Main Line near St. Pancras. After passing through Finsbury Park (heading north again), the service is run non-stop to Scotland. By entering Edinburgh Waverley station at the opposite end to normal, any further shunting is avoided, leaving the train in the "standard" arrangement.

When the Lowlander is in Edinburgh Waverley the Glasgow is detached from the front and hauled back down to Motherwell and up to Glasgow Central. The Highlander is split into three portions as usual. The opposite sequence is repeated going South. Because of the reversal at Wembley and additional route length, the train is normally booked to leave an hour early on such occasions.

Engineering work on other stretches can lead to the Highlander joining up/dividing at a different locations.

Other diversions include:
Northampton: Wolverton - Hanslope Jct - Northampton - Hillmorton Jct - Rugby
Bescot: Rugby - Stechford - Aston - Bescot Stadium - Portobello Jct - Bushbury Jct - Stafford

If the East Coast is shut and part of the West Coast is shut then these diversions over non electrified lines happen:
Manchester: Crewe - Stockport - Manchester Piccadilly - Bolton - Preston
Settle: Preston - Blackburn - Clitheroe - Settle - Carlisle
Dumfries: Carlisle - Dumfries - Glasgow Central (via Larkfield to Edinburgh)

Fort William Diversions:
Oban: Instead of Fort William the train has in the past diverted to Oban when the line north of Crianlarich is Shut, however this may not happen in the future as the Class 67 locomotives now used on the Fort William service have too high an RA rating for the Oban branch.
Shotts: Westerton - Partick - Glasgow Central Low Level - Cambuslang - Holytown - Shotts - Edinburgh

Inverness Diversions:
Inverness - Aberdeen - Perth/Leuchars - Edinburgh
Inverness - Perth - Kirkcaldy/Cowdenbeath - Edinburgh

Aberdeen Diversions:
Aberdeen - Perth - Falkirk - Edinburgh
Via Fife Circle.


The service uses Mark II and Mark III coaching stock, hauled by a variety of different locomotive classes, diesel or electric - depending on the route. From London, the train to each destination consists of up to six Mark III sleeping cars, a lounge car and seated car, the latter pair being converted Mark 2F coaches. The exception to this is the Fort William portion which consists of a First Class sleeper car and Standard Class sleeper car only - a Mark II Lounge Car is added at Edinburgh. A Mark II seated carriage is also added at Edinburgh, for passengers joining the train there. The reason for this is the train is at the longest permitted length, any longer and it could well be longer than the platforms at London Euston - although other portions of the train consist of half a dozen or so sleeper carriages, this may well seem like an unfair balance.

Trains south of Glasgow Central or Edinburgh (where OHLE is provided) are usually hauled by a Class 90 electric locomotive. Until June 2006, a Class 37 diesel locomotive hauled the Fort William portion north of Edinburgh; it is now hauled by a Class 67 diesel locomotive. Aberdeen and Inverness portions are also hauled by a Class 67. All locomotives are hired from EWS. In 2006, First ScotRail and EWS came to an agreement that a dedicated set of locomotives would be used for the Caledonian Sleeper, and these would be painted in First ScotRail livery, with a small EWS logo at the cab. [cite press release
title= Operating enhancements for First ScotRail Sleeper to be delivered by EWS and Axiom Rail
publisher= EWS Railway
date= 2006-05-26
accessdate= 2007-02-18
quote=EWS will introduce modern and reliable class 67 locomotives for operation of Sleeper services between Edinburgh and Fort William on the West Highland Line... A striking new livery has been designed to complement the newly refurbished sleeping and lounge compartments.


Three classes of travel are available on the Caledonian Sleeper. These are First Class, Standard Class and Seated Sleeper.

First Class and Standard Class both entitle the holder to an air conditioned cabin, with wash basin, shaver point, hand towel, bottled water and mini washkit - albeit more substantial in First Class. These berths are standard British Rail SLEP style rolling stock, and as such, were built with interlinking doors. These doors usually remain locked, however First ScotRail policy is to allow these doors to be unlocked if both berths booked as a group.

Berths are usually available prior to departure at the originating station and for a short while after arrival at the terminus.

First Class

First Class is the most expensive, but most amenable class offered. This class of ticket entitles the holder to a private cabin consisting of a single bed, morning tea, coffee and full continental-style breakfast. Breakfast consists of a choice of bacon, egg or Danish pastry with fruit salad, yoghurt, orange juice and shortbread, served with a Scotsman newspaper. Because of the Scottish scenery the train passes through, especially to Fort William, if there is enough light and the weather is good then breakfast can be a very pleasurable experience onboard as it may be taken in the Lounge Car.

Room service is also available in First Class, and First Class ticket holders may also use the Virgin Trains lounge at London Euston, including the showers.

Standard Class

Standard Class is a less costly ticket, even less so if booked more than two days in advance, and offers a shared cabin consisting of a bunk bed and wash basin. Included in the price is early morning tea, coffee and a morning snack before alighting, consisting of muesli, a muffin and croissiant. As these cabins sleep two people, single travellers may have to share with a fellow passenger of the same sex. Each pair of adjacent cabins have interconnecting doors, lockable from both sides.

Seated Sleeper

The cheapest of the classes offered by the Caledonian Sleeper, this ticket entitles the user to an airline-style reclining seat in an air conditioned carriage, shared with up to 31 people, roughly what you would expect from a daytime First Class service. Amenities include tables, footrests and a reading light — while it can be turned off, the standard coach lighting remains on throughout the night. Blindfolds have been provided since 2004.

Lounge Car

Holders of First Class and Standard Class tickets are entitled to use the Lounge Car, although it can be restricted to First Class ticket holders at busier times. There is a buffet car service available for Seated passengers and all passengers can take purchases back to their seat or cabin. The lounge car provides meals, snacks and alcoholic or soft drinks.

The lounge car permitted smoking until October 9, 2005, being the last place where it was legal to smoke on the British railway network, but it is now banned. It is highly unusual amongst British trains in having chairs which are not secured to the floor. Recently, Lounge Cars have had a complete refurbishment, including the installation of leather sofas and electric sockets for chargers.


Luggage is generally conveyed on all sleeper services, with large areas available for storing luggage. Bicycles are conveyed on all sleeper services subject to availability, with a necessary booking. Bicycle and luggage van storage on southbound services from Inverness and following stations is limited [First ScotRail, [ First class travel - overnight: Luggage and Cycle Accommodation] ] .


Dogs are allowed on sleeper services, with a conveyance fee (no fee is charged for Assistance Dogs). Dogs are only allowed in single-berth cabins or where the ticket holder has exclusive use of a twin-berth cabin.


There are no showers available on the Caledonian Sleeper. However, there are showers available at Inverness, Edinburgh Waverley, and Glasgow Central for an extra charge. There are new shower facilities at Fort William railway station that have recently opened which are free for use by first class caledonian sleeper ticket holders and come at a cost of £3.50 for standard class passengers.Only First Class ticket holders are entitled to use the shower facilities at London Euston, however showers are available for all at nearby London Kings Cross station. [ cite web
title =Station Facilities: London Euston (EUS)
work =Stations & Destinations
publisher =National Rail Enquiries
url =
accessdate =2007-02-18


Booking the Caledonian Sleeper services can be tricky, because there is often no differentiation between these and seated services on the National Rail booking system. First ScotRail offers an online booking service which specifically shows its sleeper services, from the syndicated National Rail database.

Ticket prices vary depending on the demand expected for the train, and time of booking. Standard Class and Seated Class both offer cheaper 'Apex' fares, if booked in advance of the date of travel and subject to availability. First Class does not offer an 'Apex' ticket, but special fares are available for travelling on weekends. Railcard discounts apply at the network standard rate of 34% in Seated Class, and at a lower rate on tickets with berths. This discrepancy is due to the Railcard discount being available on the travel portion of the ticket, but not redeemable against the berth. Discount rates are typically not available with the cheaper 'Apex' tickets.

Cheap tickets, termed "Bargain Berths", may be booked in advance and are allocated in very limited numbers to each service. They are available from as little as £19 and are available in Standard Class. The process of booking Bargain Berths is entirely web-based and no physical tickets are issued. It is necessary to print off the booking confirmation e-ticket as confirmation.


External links

* [ First ScotRail]
* [ National Rail Journeyplanner]
* [ London to Scotland by sleeper]

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