The Fort William-London Euston Caledonian Sleeper service has been cancelled for several weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions. From Tuesday 10 November up to and including Friday 4 December 2020, the West Highland portion of the overnight train will not run, as well as the adjoining section from Aberdeen. This is due to the latest Coronavirus lockdown measures in England. The Inverness-Euston service will continue to run as it stands.
The Caledonian Sleeper operations – which also include the ‘Lowland’ working from Glasgow and Edinburgh – have recently been affected by strike action as well. The Aberdeen portion had only recently returned to the rails following an emergency timetable across the country for several months, enforced by social distancing restrictions. The West Highland service had similarly been out of action during the first half of 2020.
The West Highland sleeper now utilises modern, state-of-the-art Mk 5 rolling stock, introduced last year. Recent months have seen it double-headed by pairs of GB Railfreight-owned Class 73s; now seemingly standard practice.
Travellers should check Serco Caledonian Sleeper’s website www.sleeper.scot for the latest updates and for more detail about the aforementioned changes. Covid-19 restrictions are subject to change at very short notice; hence services could be altered further in the weeks to come. As with all West Highland Line services, the public are advised not to travel by train unless the journey is essential.
Text: Gordon Webster.