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