Author Topic: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!  (Read 1491 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« on: April 29, 2019, 05:16:16 pm »
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/apr/29/caledonian-sleeper-launches-new-trains-which-arrive-hours-late

It appears not to have got off to a good start, with trains in both directions delayed to the extent that all the passengers should be eligible for 100% refunds.

I have just booked myself a return journey to Edinburgh in July. I'm keen to try the new rolling stock/beds etc, but my experience last year with sleepers wasn't encouraging, in that I didn't get much sleep. On balance, I prefer to travel by day and look out the window or read a book. However, I'm taking part in the St. Andrews Uni Bach Choral Course again, and the course times make it very difficult, if not impossible, to travel to and from during the day without booking two extra nights' accommodation. We start at 2pm on the Tuesday and finish at 1pm on the Sunday. Travelling the same day in either direction from Southend is nigh-on impossible.

I've booked into the "Club Class" (whatever that means - do they provide a free service of bashing you over the head to ensure a good night's sleep?) giving me a solo room for £100 each way.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone who tries it out before I do.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2019, 06:50:27 pm »
I’m going to Glasgow in late May, but I was under the impression that I’ll still be on the old train. However, I slept ok last time on the sleeper and I’m doing it by preference.

yorkie

  • On top of the Galibier
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 07:34:17 pm »
The new trains were going to be introduced in June, but Caledonian Sleeper (CS) decided to have a "soft launch" from last night (28th April) instead. This means that all Lowlander services (London - Glasgow/Edinburgh) are on the new stock. The new stock is incompatible with the old stock - different couplings and electrical systems for starters - which means that it's either one or t'other. Given that CS have off-leased the old stock already to save on maintenance costs, there's no going back!

I believe Club Class includes an en-suite loo and shower. The top tip from last night's run courtesy of a member of a railway forum is "Toilet first, then shower, as the drain isn't very fast!"
Born to ride my bike, forced to work! ;)

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Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 08:37:45 pm »
Ooo, I love sleepers.  Not taken the Caledonian for many, many years, but SWMBO and I did take the Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin a couple of years back.. Somewhat costly, but a life experience, even if it was running on the sleepers rather than the rails over the first night out of Adelaide. Or it felt like it.  Very, very professional service though.

Must find an excuse to try the new Caledonian, but difficult to justify when you live near Chester......

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2019, 09:13:06 pm »
I know nothing about this, but it's a safe bet that the provision for cycles will be crap...
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2019, 09:14:56 pm »
He will be taking the Brompton I am sure.  :thumbsup:
Get a bicycle. You will never regret it, if you live- Mark Twain

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2019, 09:48:33 pm »
I've used the Aberdeen to London in the past when my flight was cancelled and I needed to be in London the next day anyway. Worked OK.

I've also used the Jo'burg to Cape Town as well in both directions.  Stopping in De Aar, in the middle of nowhere  and looking up was spectacular. 

I'm now starting to think about using the train vs flying to Aberdeen as BA are getting both extortionately priced and ever crapper
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
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Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2019, 10:00:29 pm »
Also much better for the environment. Having said that, the Dundee - London train is a diesel, because no-one has electrified those lines.

i really like the idea of a sleeper, and have used them a few times: Paddington - Penzance, London - Inverness - London, Aberdeen - London, Fort William - London, London - Glasgow, London - Edinburgh, Cologne - Vienna. But it's the practicalities that put me off. The terribly cramped compartments (I think it's a bonkers idea to put a shower in a sleeper, which we had on last year's Vienna jaunt. Takes up ridiculous amounts of space, and last year when I got to Edinburgh I just had a shower at the station), the fact that I don't sleep very well, and also that I like to admire the scenery which you can't really do at night. When we returned from Austria last year, the Salzburg - Frankfurt train went through some wonderful countryside. That's an important part of the holiday from my point of view.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2019, 10:12:10 pm »
I too enjoy the scenery, but the sense of waking up somewhere visibly different is quite exciting - to my mind, anyway.

Booking the bike and a space on the sleeper is much more straightforward than any other train site I've used lately. It asks about bikes along with number of people and what day and says if there's no spaces.


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ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2019, 10:13:09 pm »
Aberdeen-London is about six-ish hours, not worth the effort of a sleeper, we got the day train back a few weeks back. A good book, some tunes, a couple of drinks, and a snooze did the trick. Far better than the plane (which still takes the better part of the day, once you've factored in the ride the airport, getting their early for security etc.)
!nataS pihsroW

Wowbagger

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Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2019, 10:13:33 pm »
I've booked a bike space for my July jaunt.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2019, 10:16:58 pm »
Aberdeen-London is about six-ish hours, not worth the effort of a sleeper, we got the day train back a few weeks back. A good book, some tunes, a couple of drinks, and a snooze did the trick. Far better than the plane (which still takes the better part of the day, once you've factored in the ride the airport, getting their early for security etc.)

If it were the old rolling stock, and were it not for the inconvenient starting/finishing times of my course, I'd use the daytime train as well. It's fantastic value travelling first class with the OBRC, and on such long journeys there's always quite a good chance of being late enough to get a rebate. Jan and I should be getting half our fare back from Saturday, because we arrived in King's Cross 40 minutes late.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Jaded

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Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2019, 10:54:48 pm »
I've used the Aberdeen to London in the past when my flight was cancelled and I needed to be in London the next day anyway. Worked OK.

I've also used the Jo'burg to Cape Town as well in both directions.  Stopping in De Aar, in the middle of nowhere  and looking up was spectacular. 

I'm now starting to think about using the train vs flying to Aberdeen as BA are getting both extortionately priced and ever crapper

Ah, the Cape Town - Joburg route. I’ve done it on the Blue Train a couple of times, on the Trans Karoo Express, which was somewhat less sumptuous, and at a much more basic level, I shared a compartment with 5 heavy Afrikaaners. A language barrier. The only thing we had in common was the ability to play cards. And to fart.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2019, 11:56:12 pm »
Also much better for the environment. Having said that, the Dundee - London train is a diesel, because no-one has electrified those lines.
It is electric from London to Edinburgh, when the train splits. So most of the distance anyway.

I quite like the seated sleeper. Quite a comfy, reclining chair, I can manage to get a bit of sleep anyway. And a lot cheaper than a bed, especially if on your own. Don't know how the seats on the new, improved trains compare.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2019, 12:03:39 am »
I've not slept well on sleeper trains as an adult though comfortably doze sitting up.

Even if I were able-bodied, I wouldn't fancy showering on a moving train and think I would generally prefer to travel some distance from train toilets.

I can't see myself using the CS for a while...

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2019, 04:48:25 am »
I used the old CS for my Scotland tour in 2004 and loved it. I managed to book one of the £19 fares from London to Edinburgh, and got a compartment to myself. I had some good times as an adolescent taking night trains around Europe, no sleepers, just finding an empty compartment and stretching out on the seats for the night. It was always fun to go to sleep in one city/country and wake up in another. Doing the same thing on the CS 30 years later, I was glad to have an actual bed.

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2019, 08:40:43 am »
Interesting to read about longitudinal vs transverse sleeping. I've seen the former on Russian trains in the open carriages (a carriage full of bunk beds – it might not even exist now) but only experienced the former. Presumably there are differences in the way you feel the motion of the train. Also in how many beds you can fit into the space, but that's more relevant in the open carriages.

Presumably on the Caledonian, once you're in your cabin nobody disturbs you till your destination. I didn't get much sleep on the Bratislava-Warsaw sleeper I took a several of years ago, because of the four passport checks in quick succession (we went through a corner of the Czech Rep).
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2019, 09:04:04 am »
The numerous onboard showers is, indeed, barmy.

I've done the London - Inverness route several times and the showering in the lounges at either end was no trouble.

As for sleeping - The first journey was bad, I never slept deeply constantly coming too with a start and remembering "oh, i'm on a train" but has been plain sailing ever since. A wee dram of single malt helps.

FifeingEejit

  • Not Small just Far Away at the back
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2019, 11:06:14 am »
Always found it easier to sleep heading north than south, I think the tracks out of London are considerably smoother than in Scotland.
At £150 I can't justify the sleeper now, always got a good price before and never minded sharing a compartment.

When it's stacked against the late East Coast service from Edinburgh which I've managed to get for 25 quid arriving at 1am...
That time I just wandered round for 3 hours as I was booked on the first Eurostar to Brussels that morning, but there's cheap hotels and hostels that probably allow arrival at that time of morning...
and I only needed to pay for it that time because I didn't want to take a half day off work so I could use 1 day of my Interrail pass. (The UK is now party to the domestic travel to/from port clause)



ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2019, 07:46:56 am »
Aberdeen-London is about six-ish hours, not worth the effort of a sleeper, we got the day train back a few weeks back. A good book, some tunes, a couple of drinks, and a snooze did the trick. Far better than the plane (which still takes the better part of the day, once you've factored in the ride the airport, getting their early for security etc.)

in my case it's marginal, once you've taken into account travel to the airport, hanging around, flight time adn then taxi to hotel at the other end, is about 6 hours as you say.

Train from Ely to Aberdeen, if only one change at Peterbore takes about 7 and a half hours, but you can probably be slightly more productive rather than trying to read in the back of the car to the airport.
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

ian

  • fatuously disingenuous
    • The Suburban Survival Guide
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2019, 09:29:42 am »
I generally look forward to long train journeys, if it's a business trip I can get some work done, if it's a holiday I can read a good book. We often take a ride down to southern France, take an early train from St Pancras, have lunch in Paris, and arrive in the early evening. Compared to flying, which is just moving from queue to queue at graduated levels of discomfort while people shout at you, it's a far better way to spend a day. Off to Lyon in a couple of weeks, which will be nice.
!nataS pihsroW

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2019, 10:35:53 am »
Apart from a school trips, which involved sleepers between Leningrad and Moscow, and the old Motorail from Boulogne to Brive (which for a few years carried cycles in a special van) I've only had one sleeper experience, and that was London to Glasgow, some 40 years ago. Memorable for my compartment-mate being quite a posh city gent, who went to bed attired in a starched cotton (or possibly linen) nightgown, and a "wee willy winky" hat, all in pristine white.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2019, 11:45:12 am »
The original plans of the new carriages had interesting looking Pod Flatbeds ( A fully reclining seat with a curtain around it) I thought it was part of the specification and intended to compensate for the removal of shared cabins. Seems somewhere along the way they got dropped which is a shame as they would have been my preference. 

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2019, 02:50:43 pm »
There are no wheelchair accessible shower facilities on the new Caledonian Sleeper... Much to the disgust and anger of several of my train spotter wheelchair using friends. Tanni Grey-Thompson has also been asking POINTED questions... We could understand why ensuite might not work, but not to have a *single* wheelchair accessible shower is a disgrace but sadly is lawful due to the holes in the Equality Act for transport vehicles and rail accessibility requirements not covering showers at all so it's OK to have non-disableds with showers and leave wheelchair users without  >:(

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: Caledonian Sleeper - New! Improved!
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2019, 03:16:09 pm »
That is a bit of a fail. Though as people have said upthread, it's perhaps a bit of a waste having showers at all.
An ungovernable laughter, a joyous agitation which makes the summer stretching before you seem like an unrolling canvas on which you might draw those first rude pure strokes that are free. (Capote)