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Sleeper trains given £50bn grant

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An overnight sleeper train service that runs between Scotland and London has been been offered a £50bn grant by the treasury to help to secure its future.

In the Autumn Statement it was announced that there would be a significant amount of money being given to save the sleeper trains from being cut.

The Caledonian Sleeper service carries business passengers through the night from areas of Scotland with its end destination in London.

The design of the train is to get people to London at the beginning of the day; many prefer travelling through the night rather than taking the alternative of air travel.  

It provides First Class sleeper cabins with beds for passengers, standard cabins, seated area with reclining chairs and the lounge car.

However the train has a mixed reputation with passengers that travel on the Caledonian with some saying they are noisy and uncomfortable and others saying they prefer to travel by rail than by air.

A review on all train services by the Scottish Government resulted in them considering cutting this service which is why the UK Government stepped in with the contribution to stop this from happening.

The one off payment will go towards developing the trains to a more up to date status, buying new carriages and upgrading the current ones that the sleeper holds.

As a condition of the grant the commissioning of the new developments will be underway before the end of the financial year.

George Osborne will also challenge the Scottish Government to donate the same amount of money to upgrade the trains.

The review would see two of the Caledonian Sleeper services to London being cut which would reduce the lowland route connecting Edinburgh and Glasgow with Euston.

This would result in there being an Edinburgh only route and would cause closure of the highland service linking Inverness, Aberdeen and Fort William with Euston.

Transport of Scotland revealed to run the sleeper trains costs £21m a year but the train service appears to be under threat by faster daytime trains and aviation, the investment is hoped to boost its popularity.

The grant has faced backlash from members of the public with some saying it would be good for the trains to have an image overall but others are suggesting the money could be used more wisely elsewhere.

If the Scottish Government agree to match the £50bn that has been promised the Sleeper trains will be refurbished and hopefully be more popular with passengers.  

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By Amanda Bainbridge