Cale­do­nian Sleeper – the daily rou­tine

Model Rail (UK) - - Masterplan Caledonian Sleeper -

It’s eas­ier to start our whistlesto­p tour of the Cale­do­nian Sleeper at Lon­don Eus­ton, where, dur­ing the week, there are two north­bound de­par­tures per night. The ‘High­lander’ leaves Eus­ton at 2000 for Ed­in­burgh. Here, it splits into three por­tions to serve three des­ti­na­tions (with key stops en route): Fort Wil­liam, In­ver­ness and Aberdeen. The mid-week ‘Low­lan­der’ departs Eus­ton at 2200. This train di­vides at Carstairs Junc­tion; one por­tion goes to Glas­gow (via Mother­well) and the other con­tin­ues to Ed­in­burgh. South­bound de­par­tures work in re­verse. That’s a lot of trains to keep on top of! Al­stom’s Wem­b­ley de­pot is the nerve cen­tre at the Lon­don end and has to ser­vice two sets of sleeper stock per day. Its sis­ter de­pot, Glas­gow Pol­madie (also an Al­stom fa­cil­ity) ser­vices the ‘Low­lan­der’ set but this ef­fec­tively be­comes two sep­a­rate trains. The Ed­in­burgh por­tion runs empty to Pol­madie for ser­vic­ing and then re­turns empty to Waver­ley in time for the evening de­par­ture. In­ver­ness and Aberdeen Clay­hills de­pots ser­vice their re­spec­tive por­tions, while the Fort Wil­liam por­tion is ser­viced in the plat­forms.

From here… The lo­co­mo­tive fleet that GBRF uses for sleeper work is not kept at Wem­b­ley. In­stead, GBRF rents sid­ing space at Lon­don Over­ground’s de­pot at Willes­den, a few miles to the south. Willes­den reg­u­larly hosts GBRF Class 92s, 87002, 86401 and any ad­di­tional trac­tion it has hired in. On the day of Model Rail’s visit, Freight­liner Class 90 90047 was on sleeper duty. Also present out­side was Willes­den shed pilot Class 09 D3671.

JOE DUNCKLEY/ALAMY

One of GBRF’S Class 73/9s pow­ers the Cale­do­nian Sleeper across the wilder­ness that is Ran­noch Moor on Septem­ber 26 2017. …to here

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