The new Caledonian Sleeper train franchise, which aims to see the cross-border overnight service transformed into a world-class rail hospitality experience, has been launched.
Incoming operator Serco unveiled the new look of the service in Inverness, the home of the new Caledonian Sleeper franchise, at the city’s new Guest Service Centre.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also there and met with the Scottish design team who are creating the new interiors and uniforms for the passenger lounges and the new trains.
She also met with the staff who aim to turn the Caledonian Sleeper from a rail journey into a hotel on wheels.
Ms Sturgeon said: “When the Scottish Government set the specification for the refranchising of the Caledonian Sleeper service, we were clear that it had to become so much more than a commuter rail trip for those travelling between Scotland and London.
“We knew that the routes through Scotland already offered a spectacular backdrop, but we wanted to see the journey become a destination in itself and take a larger tourism role in promoting Scotland.
“Serco’s plans promise to bring all of this, as well as provide benefits for the small and medium-sized Scottish businesses up and down the country who will be involved in supplying the new service. Their commitment to qualification-level training for staff and investment in the service for the next 15 years is also to be welcomed.
“A £150 million fleet of new Sleeper trains arrive in 2018, and passengers can begin to enjoy the new catering offering that will showcase the best of Scottish food and drink as soon as the new franchisee takes over the service from next week.”
Rupert Soames, Serco Group Chief Executive Officer, added: “From the 31 March our guests will see the service get better and better, with a new booking website, branding, uniforms and a menu that showcases the best in Scottish food and drink.”