Saving a Scottish Institution: what we all can do to save the Caledonian Sleeper

Charles Kennedy with the Caledonian Sleeper
Charles Kennedy with the Caledonian Sleeper (from

There was a time when travelling from Northern Ireland to London you could travel by sleeper from Stranraer Harbour to Euston – and indeed in the same manner in the opposite direction. Even as late as 1990 this was possible. However, sadly, this is now no longer possible, you have to take a train up to Glasgow to be able to connect with the sleeper. I know that I have enjoyed travelling using the services of the Caledonian Sleeper when I have needed to be in London fresh-faced for a meeting in the morning. But it seems that we may not be able to use this in the future, as the Nationalist Government in Scotland is questioning the service at all.

The SNP Government in Holyrood has launched a consultation into the future of Scotland’s Railways. In particular the Caledonian Sleeper has some major questions asked about it.

I am with Charles Kennedy on this one

New trains could bring our sleeper services up to the standard of those on the continent, which can carry more passengers in greater comfort. This would not only improve the service, but bring it to a more sustainable position financially. Thankfully, the UK Government has made an offer of £50 million – half the cost of replacing the trains – to Holyrood, as long as the Scottish Government is willing to put up the rest of the funds. This gives us the opportunity to secure the future of the sleeper for decades ahead– it’s a chance we can’t afford to miss.

I’ll be fighting tooth and nail to save our sleeper, and I urge everyone to respond to the consultation before it closes on the 20th February…


To respond to the consultation you can do so either online (at or by writing to Transport Scotland, 58 Port Dundas Road, Glasgow G4 0HF.

I wonder what could be done in between the two Executives (at Stormont and at Holyrood) to improve rail services from Northern Ireland to London. Are we going to have to travel south from Belfast on the Enterprise and then south-east from Holyhead after the ferry there, to London? And there doesn’t appear to be a sleeper from there….

Previous campaigns to retain the Caledonian Sleeper service have been successful, but only with hard work and commitment from campaigners around the country.

One thought on “Saving a Scottish Institution: what we all can do to save the Caledonian Sleeper

  1. Well, there aren’t any rail services from NI to Scotland, and in the strictest sense there haven’t been any since the HSS was introduced to Belfast. A horribly expensive bus service from the City Hall was withdrawn after a couple of years, leaving no public transport option except for the Ulsterbus service, even though it tended to be generous to ticket holders.

    Only when Stena moved out to Westbank Road was a bus service provided again, but Service 96 was largely withdrawn in September, and what was left was at the wrong time for the boats. The retimed boats didn’t connect with trains in Stranraer either, and hadn’t done so for about two years since the 07.40 HSS was withdrawn.

    Now the boats go to Cairnryan, and rail passengers are bused to… Ayr. Not Stranraer. Ayr. With no indication as to whether cyclists will be accommodated on the bus.

    With the winter withdrawal of the HSS from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead, there isn’t a rail service there either – on the other hand, I think there are buses from Connolly to Dublin Port. It’s a lot closer to being a rail service.


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