The Anonymous Widower

SJ Invests In Thriving Sleeper Trains

The title of this post is the same as that on this article on Global Rail News.

This is said.

Over the last five years, passenger numbers on its Malmö to Stockholm services have increased by 100 per cent.

There has also been growth on the Gothenburg-Stockholm-Umeå-Luleå-Kiruna-Narvi route, where passenger numbers have risen by 25 per cent.

That sounds like thriving to me!

So why is it that sleeper trains are thriving in the UK and Sweden, but countries like Germany have given up?

Malmö to Stockholm

These factors probably help this service

  • Malmö is Sweden’s third-largest city.
  • The frequent trains between Malmö and Stockholm take four and a half hours.
  • Stockholm and Malmö are a very similar distance apart as London and Glasgow or Edinburgh.
  • Malmö is only thirty-five minutes from Copenhagen by train.

As the Caledonian Sleeper works between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow, why shouldn’t a quality service work on a similar distance in Sweden?


These factors probably help this service

  • The service effectively goes from the South-West of Sweden right up to the North.
  • The distance as 1,600 kilometres
  • I have been recommended to take this train to go to see the Northern Lights. So perhaps, it is useful for tourists.
  • The service probably appeals to train enthusiasts.
  • It is probably a reasonably civilised way to go to the North of Sweden.

I would certainly use it in winter to get to see the Northern Lights at Abrisko.



May 2, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Caledonian Sleeper’s New Mark 5 Carriages Tested In UK For First Time

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Global Rail News.

It appears from the article, that the project is on track, as the new Mark 5A carriages for the Caledonian Sleeper being tested on the West Highland Line, have spent time doing mandatory testing in the Czech Republic.

Two pictures in the article, show the carriages being hauled on test, by a Class 73 locomotive.

We must be only country in the world, where a flagship service, that runs virtually the whole length of the country , is hauled part of the way by a locomotive over fifty years old.

On the other hand, the Class 73 locomotives were built for the narrow tunnels and limited clearances of the Hastings Line, so they could work any of the third-rail electrified lines in the South of England.

The Highlands of Scotland may not have any electrification, but there are routes with limited clearances, where the Caledonian Sleeper will go.

So the Class 73 locomotive is an ideal choice for motive power.


April 12, 2018 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

From Hastings To The Czech Republic Via The Highlands Of Scotland

When British Rail drew up the specification for the Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive, in the early 1960s, they decided the locomotives would have the following characteristics.

  • The ability to go anywhere on the then Southern Region’s third rail electrified network.
  • The ability to travel on Southern Region’s non-electrified lines using the onboard diesel engine.
  • The ability to haul a heavy train at over 80 mph.
  • The ability for multiple working, with virtually all other trains in Southern Region.

One of the side-effects of this specification was a narrow profile, so that the locomotives could use the narrow tunnels of the Hastings Line.

This Class 73 locomotive at Tonbridge station certainly doesn’t look fat.

In recent years, the remaining Class 73 locomotives have found themselves various niche uses.

  • At one time, Class 73 locomotives pulled a rake of Mark 2 coaches to form the Gatwick Express.
  • Gatwick Express/Southern still retains one locomotive for Thunderbird duties.
  • Eurostar used two locomotives to rescue failed Class 373 trains.
  • GB Railfreight use several examples to pull engineering trains.
  • Merseyrail used four for shunting and departmental duties.
  • South West Trains use an example for Thunderbird duties.

For a locomotive designed over fifty years ago, they turn up in a wide range of places.

As many are in effect last-resort traction, when you do see one on the main line, it is usually looks to be clean and in top class condition.

But in the last couple of years, Class 73 locomotives have started working on perhaps the most high-profile niche market of all. This article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled Rebuilt ‘73/9s’ take over all Caledonian Sleeper work, describes the locomotives use in hauling the Highland portions of the Caledonian Sleeper to and from Edinburgh.

Perhaps the last laugh for the Class 73 locomotive is detailed in this article in Rail Magazine, which is entitled Czech trip for Caledonian Sleeper Class 73. One of the class will be sent to the Velim test track in the Czech Republic to assist in the testing of the new Mark 5 coaches for the Caledonian Sleeper.

January 17, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , | Leave a comment