Scottish sleeper goes to Serco

Transport Scotland has awarded the 15 year franchise to operate the Caledonian sleeper service to Serco, which commences on 1 April 2015.

Scottish ministers are contributing £60m towards the £100m investment needed for 72 new carriages. The new rolling stock will make up four trains, and is to be built by CAF in Spain and leased by Beacon Rail for delivery in 2018.

Total revenue over the 15 year term is estimated at £800m, of which about £180m will be in franchise payments.

The current service, which consists of two overnight trains linking London Euston with Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen & Fort William, carried 270,000 passengers last year.

The award is more bad news for the incumbent operator, FirstGroup (which has just lost its Thameslink franchise to Govia). The other unsuccessful bidder was Arriva.

Serco also runs the Docklands Light Railway and has rail interests overseas.

648/May 14


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