UK: Train operating company ScotRail was expected to unveil a new livery for its Caledonian Sleeper services at the end of last month, as part of a £7m upgrading of the service announced by Managing Director Alastair MacPherson on April 1.

The company currently runs two 16-car trains to and from London Euston each night (except Saturdays). One splits to serve Glasgow (8 cars) and Edinburgh (8), the other Inverness (8), Aberdeen (6) and Fort William (2). Each eight-car sub-set is formed of six sleeping cars, a lounge car and a luggage van. Two separate seats cars and a van are added to the two through sleepers on the Edinburgh - Fort William leg.

The fleet of 78 vehicles (including spares) is being fully refurbished with a new livery; interior furnishings are also being updated, with carpets and bedding in ScotRail's silver and purple colour scheme. WS Atkins is managing the programme, which is being undertaken by Rail Projects at the ScotRail sleeper maintenance depot in Inverness.

In June ScotRail unveiled the first of 12 MkIII sleeping cars being converted by Hunslet Barclay to incorporate disabled-accessible berths (below left). The conversion has been designed by Interfleet Technology, which is also managing the work. Two compartments at one end of the car have been rebuilt, with the side corridor doorways replaced by a wider sliding door opening directly from the end vestibule. Cabin fittings have been modified for disabled users, and a disabled-accessible toilet compartment has been installed nearby. Four modified coaches were in service by mid-July.

ScotRail has also leased 11 MkII seats coaches from Forward Trust Rail to replace the existing MkI luggage vans. Being converted into Club Cars by Railcare at Wolverton, each will have 31 reclining seats, two toilets, conductor's accommodation and space for luggage and bicycles. Due to be rolled out in September, they will allow the restoration of the overnight seats facility withdrawn by BR as an economy measure in 1992. ScotRail says this will lift its nightly capacity from 800 to over 1000 places.

CAPTION: Removal of one sleeping compartment has provided space for a larger vestibule area (far left) with power-operated doors leading to the wheelchair-accessible sleeping compartment and a large disabled toilet (left)

Photos: Brian Morrison