The Anonymous Widower

Caledonian Sleeper Considers Seven-Day Running

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Tail Magazine.

This is the introductory paragraph.

More routes and seven-day-a-week running could feature for Caledonian Sleeper in the future.

To my mind, it should always be a service that runs seven days a week, as the make-up of passengers seems to contain, a lot of those who want to travel on the day they want.

As to more routes, I wrote about possible services between the Far North and Edinburgh in Rail Sleeper Plan Between Caithness And Edinburgh

This was my conclusion.

I feel that not next year, but once Scotland’s rail system is fully developed, with the shortened Inter-City 125s serving the longer routes and electric trains all over the Central Belt, that a Sleeper Train between Edinburgh and Thurso will be viable.

I’d certainly give it a go!

Conclusion

I can’t see any reasons for investigating the roll out of extra Caledonian Sleeper services, once the company sorts out their current operational problems.

Hopefully, the Scottish Government and tourism industry will give the services their backing.

 

 

October 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | 6 Comments

The Wrong Kind Of Bleach?

This article on Railnews is entitled 9 September: News In Brief.

It has the following sub-title.

Wrong Bleach Took Caledonian Sleepers Out Of Service

This is the first sentence.

Cleabers who used the wrong specification of bleach in the toilets and shower rooms on Caledonian Sleepers caused significant damage after the chemicals reacted with stainless steel pipes,

To my knowledge stainless steel, especially when it contains increased levels of chromium and some molybdenum, can be very proof to attack from most substances.

Look at this Butler Shba cutlery made in Sheffield from stainless steel with black Delrin plastic handles, which have seen continuous use in my household for fifty years.

Now that’s what I call stainless steel!

Perhaps, the Spanish used the wrong type of stainless steel?

Delrin is a form of polyoxymethylene, which is an engineering plastic.

This plastic has a wide spectrum of usage, including in zips, bagpipes and metered dose inhalers, to name just three of hundreds.

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On The Caledonian Sleeper To Glasgow

started this post on the Caledonian Sleeper to Glasgow.

It’s one of the new Mark 5 trains and they are a great improvement, although one Scottish hard man, preferred the old Mark 3s.

Out of Euston we were doing 80 mph and the ride in the Lounge Car is good. At least up to the standard of a Greater Anglia Mark 3, which are some of the best!

These are some pictures of my train.

I don’t think I could fault the train.

But the service was rather sub-standard and I got a partial refund.

 

 

August 19, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Promoting The Highland Main Line

On Wednesday, the Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership were in Kings Cross station promoting the Highland Main Line as a tourism destination.

I very much agree with the Partnership’s objective of encouraging more visitorsto the Scottish Highlands.

The Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership Web Site

The Partnership were giving out an excellent brochure brochure which documents the wide range of attractions along the line between Perth and Inverness.

The Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership web site has an on-line copy of the brochure.

The web site is also a valuable resource about the line and the area.

An Improving Domestic Rail Service

There is an approximately two-hourly service between Perth and Inverness and it is planned that this will be improved in the next couple of years.

  • Reducing journey times is an objective.
  • An hourly service is also an objective.
  • Inter7City trains, which are shortened, refurbished and modernised InterCity 125 trains will be introduced.

This service will enable visitors to base themselves close to one of the stations along the line and use the trains to visit other places.

Azumas To Inverness

LNER currently run InterCity 125 trains between London and Inverness

  • There is a single service each day in both directions.
  • The Northbound train leaves London at midday.
  • The Southbound train leaves Inverness just before eight in the morning.
  • The journey currently takes around eight hours.
  • The trains stop at all stations between Perth and Inverness.

The service needs two trains to run one train per day in both directions.

LNER have just launched the new Class 800 trains, which they are marketing as Azumas.

My observations show that Azumas could save between thirty and sixty minutes on the trip.

The following improvements will all help.

  • Improvements to the Highland Main Line.
  • Steo-free access between train and platform at all stations.
  • Faster acceleration and deceleration at all stops.
  • Electrification to Stirling and possibly as far as Perth.
  • As digital signalling is introduced South of Edinburgh, speeds of up to 140 mph could be possible.

Many of these improvements are currently planned and most will be completed by 2024.

This video was one I made travelling in the cab of an InterCity 125.

Will LNER invite to take one from an Azuma?

The Possibility Of Extra Services

The journey time between London and Inverness will surely get shorter in the next few years.

If say it was seven hours, then allowing an hour for cleaning, loading supplies and refuelling in Inverness would mean that a round trip from London would take fifteen hours.

  • A train leaving Kings Cross station at 07:00 would arrive in Inverness at 14:00.
  • The return journey would leave at 15:00 and be in London by 22:00.
  • A second service could start in Inverness and mirror the service starting in London.

The service would need two trains.

So it appears that by saving time on the journey, the possibility of extra services is opened up.

The Improved Sleeper Service

I have taken the current Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness and it is a spectacular ride through the Highlands in the early morning.

But the elderly trains are being replaced and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot more passengers decide to  use the sleeper to the Highlands.

Over the last few years, the Austrians, the Swedes and the Scots have all ordered new rolling stock for their sleeper trains and I believe that we’ll see a revival in this form of transport, throughout Europe.

A Caithness To Edinburgh Sleeper

This has been proposed and I wrote about it in Rail Sleeper Plan Between Caithness And Edinburgh.

This was my conclusion.

I feel that not next year, but once Scotland’s rail system is fully developed, with the shortened Inter-City 125s serving the longer routes and electric trains all over the Central Belt, that a Sleeper Train between Edinburgh and Thurso will be viable.

The proposed increase in capacity between London and Edinburgh, probably adds to the viability.

Sleeper One Way And Azuma The Other

I can see this becoming a popular way to visit Scotland.

  • It will be new trains both ways.
  • Both trains stop at all stations between Perth and Inverness.
  • The price of a sleeper ticket compares well with the cost of a reasonable hotel.

The combinations are many and varied.

Cycling

Cycling holidays seem to be increasing everywhere and Scotland is no exception.

On the West Highland Line between Gl;asgow and Oban, passengers with cycles are increasing in number, so Scotrail are converting redundant Class 153 trains into multi-purpose carriages to add capacity to the trains.

On the Highland Main Line, for those, who want to explore the area on their bicycles, the Inter7City trains should be able to provide enough space for bicycles in the back of the two Class 43 locomotives.

Conclusion

The more I look at the Highland Main Line, the more I think it has a rosy future.

All it needs to seal its future is a visit from Michael Portillo and his camera crew.

 

May 18, 2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | 2 Comments

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?

Gothenburg-Stockholm-Umeå-Luleå-Kiruna-Narvi

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