For this month’s Practice & Performance, John Heaton FCILT forgoes a night’s sleep to ride in the cab of a Class 92 hauling the Caledonian Sleeper from London Euston to Glasgow.
THE formidable teal-green electric locomotive nestled against the buffers of platform 1 at Euston station is Class 92 No. 92023, a 6,760hp 126-tonne giant which has just arrived with the empty sleeping cars for the 23.50 departure to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Its berths are spick and span with freshly laundered linen and now with the attendants standing at the train-side ready to welcome their overnight guests. The gleam of the station lights against the side of the vehicles enhances the atmosphere in the same way that makes a floodlit football match special. No. 92023 was formerly named Ravel but perhaps No. 92016 Brahms would have been more appropriate.
A trip on the sleeping car train is the opposite of travelling on a ‘redeye’ flight; it is an experience to savour – a taste of the golden age of travel, yet one that has retained its relevance across the decades for both business and leisure travellers.
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Serco Caledonian Sleepers now operates the two return Anglo-Scottish overnight trains; one splitting at Edinburgh into portions for Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William, and the second splitting at Carstairs for Edinburgh and Glasgow Central. Locomotive and train crew provision is contracted to GB Railfreight (GBRf), train managers being provided ‘in house’ from last month’s timetable change
My invitation to join the Glasgow train was kindly issued by Serco Caledonian Sleepers’ production and safety director David Simpson and my chaperone for a special night in the loco cab is to be Dale Williams, GBRf account manager for the Serco operation.
Read more in the June issue of The RM – on sale now!