Serco Wins 15-Year Caledonian Sleeper Deal
Embattled outsource firm Serco has won a 15-year contract to operate the Caledonian sleeper train service between London and Scotland.
The company, which was forced to repay the Government £68.5m in December for overcharging for the tagging of criminals, will take the franchise from FirstGroup next April.
Duties for the new franchisee include marketing, sales, passenger services, maintenance and platform facilities.
The company said it plans to invest more than £100m in new rolling stock, due to be active by the summer of 2018, and the investment includes a £60m capital grant from Scottish ministers.
Serco said the new carriages would be fabricated by CAF and offer 'pod' beds, a brasserie-style saloon and ensuite cabins.
The overnight service runs from London Euston, northwest England and more than 40 destinations in Scotland, including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fort William and Aberdeen.
Serco Group chief executive Rupert Soames said: "Serco has a strong track record of providing high quality and efficient rail services around the world, as well as experience in managing large-scale tourism-focused transport services.
"I am delighted that we can use this unique blend of expertise to transform the iconic Caledonian Sleeper into a modern, high quality hospitality service to make Scotland proud."
"Serco has a very constructive relationship with many parts of Scottish Government and already operates essential public transport and many other services."
The company is expected to see revenues over the 15-year period reach £800m, which includes some £180m as franchise operating payments.
FirstGroup currently runs the sleeper as part of its ScotRail franchise, which it has operated since 2004.
FirstGroup chief executive Tim O'Toole said: "I would like to thank all of our employees who have worked hard to deliver the best possible service for Caledonian Sleeper customers over the past 10 years.
"We submitted a strong bid which would have offered further high quality services for passengers and a good return for taxpayers."
Last week FirstGroup discovered it had lost out on the new Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise into London, which was won by Go-Ahead-owned Govia.