As visitors to the Great Electric Trains show recently in MIlton Keynes will know, Revolution Trains has received decorated samples of all four variants of Mk5 Caledonian Sleepers being offered.
The vehicles have now been assessed and, barring some very minor notes and comments, are approved for production. The order book for these models will remain open until the Trans Pennine Mk5a vehicles have also been signed off.
The Caledonian Sleeper fleet comprises four different vehicles: Seated, Club, Accessible PRM Sleeper and Standard Sleeper.
Seated cars numbered 150XX have lowered windows to align with the seats that have a mix of blue and red-brown upholstery. These have been replicated on the fully painted interior. The doors carry various small information signs while the matrix displays show the coach designation which is either Coach A or H on trains leaving London.
Club cars (151XX) can be quickly recognised by the distinctive Wifi dome set into the roof at the staff end. Again, the interiors of this are painted with the bar at one end and a combination of bench seats and individual ‘bar stools’ along one side while the various passenger information symbols can be seen on the doors. The Club Cars do not have a designation, but carry a plate and cutlery symbol in the matrix display.
There are usually three Accessible PRM (Person of Restricted Mobility) Sleeper cars (152XX) in each 16 coach train leaving London (as can be seen in the formation diagrams below) designated B, P, G or J depending on the service. These have larger compartments at either end which are suitable for wheelchair users, as can be seen from the spacing of the windows on the compartment side.
The Standard Sleepers (153XX) are, not surprisingly, the most numerous of the various types in the fleet, with 9 in the formations; designated C, D, E, F, G, L, M, N, K in Lowlander trains and C, D, E, F, K, L , M, N, P in the Highlanders. Again the cars feature painted interiors; on the corridor side the grey doors can be seen contrasting against the ‘wood’ corridor panelling.
Each train leaving or arriving in London comprises 16 vehicles, which split en route depending on the service.
The ‘Lowlander’ serves Glasgow and Edinburgh, splitting into two 8-car halves at Carstairs with Class 92 haulage throughout, while the ‘Highlander’ splits at Edinburgh into three portions for Fort William, Aberdeen and Inverness. The make-up of these varies seasonally, and traction forward over non-electrified routes is usually provided by Class 73/9 locomotives.
However, over the last 18 months or so the pandemic has resulted in short formations of as few as 8 coaches being used from time to time.