Scotland business

Serco signs GB Railfreight to run Scots sleeper services

Caledonian sleeper train Image copyright Ed Webster
Image caption The Caledonian sleeper service is currently provided by First Group as part of the ScotRail franchise

Rail sleeper services between Scotland and London are to be handled by a freight specialist firm as part of the new franchise.

GB Railfreight has been signed up by Serco to provide locomotives and drivers when it takes over the Caledonian Sleeper service from April.

The trains run between London Euston and five Scottish destinations.

The contract, to run in both directions six nights a week, is worth around £100m spread over 15 years.

GB Railfreight is a subsidiary of Group Eurotunnel, which is providing refurbished Class 92 electric locomotives for Edinburgh and Glasgow services from the 1 April start to the new franchise.

It is refurbishing diesel locomotives for the service linking London with Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William, and these should be in service from October.

Until then, GB Railfeight will be using locomotives on hire from the Harry Needle Railroad Company.

New sleeper trains are being built by a Spanish company, and are scheduled to enter service in 2018.

GB Railfreight currently runs around 1,000 freight trains a week, as one of Britain's biggest transporters of coal and of biomass. It employs 600 people.

Serco was awarded the contract last May to take over the Caledonian Sleeper franchise from First Group.

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