Caledonian Sleeper services cancelled over staff shortages and Storm Arwen

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Twelve sleeper trains across the border have been canceled due to staff shortage and the effects of Storm Arwen

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And operator Circo said the “absence of safety critical staff” has led to revised timetables and cancellations of Caledonian sleeper services.

The operator has long been in an industrial dispute with the RMT union over pay and conditions, but the current disruption, which began on December 3, is not linked.


A Serco spokesman said Storm Arwen caused some service modifications and cancellations, but since December 5 they are mainly due to illness and people taking annual leave.

A notice on the Caledonian Sleeper website stated that there would be no northbound service from London Euston to Fort William from 5 December to 9 December, a total of five canceled trains.

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Passengers will travel on a Lowlander sleeper service to Glasgow Central and will be joined by a Scotland service at Fort William at 12.08am arriving at 8.23pm.

From December 6 to December 9, there is no southbound service from Fort William to Euston, a total of four canceled trains.

Passengers who have booked for that service will be taken to Kingussy where they will join the East Coast service from Inverness to Euston.

Between 1 and 3 December there were three further cancellations of sleeper services running from London Euston to Aberdeen, bringing a total of 12 canceled services as of 9 December.

A Caledonian sleeper train (Jeff Holmes/Cerco/AP)

Caledonian sleeper trains running southwards from Inverness to Edinburgh to London Euston on the east side of the country, unaffected by cancellations.

Magnus Conn, Serco’s Director of Operations at Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Due to the impact of Hurricane Arwen and the absence of safety critical staff scheduled to operate our train services, we are running a revised timetable this week.

“We have had to plan to cancel some of our northbound Aberdeen services between 1-3 December.

“It is our priority to keep our services running, but the safety of our guests is always of the utmost importance.

“We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused to all our guests affected by this disruption, who have all been offered a refund.

“On December 2, an incident at Harrow and Wealdstone affected some of our services.

“We feel sorry for the guests who were affected by this, but the cancellation was due to events beyond our control and affected all train operators.

“All guests traveling on affected services are entitled to a refund through a late payment scheme.”

Circo did not comment on cancellations between Fort William and Euston and northbound trains from 5–9 December.

The RMT regional organiser, Mick Hogg, explained that the “safety critical staff” are train managers, effectively the equivalent of guards, one of whom works on each of the four services per night.

Mr Hogg said: “In layman’s terms, if there is no security critical person for the train, it is canceled on security grounds.

“If a train crashes or derails the critical role of safety is to evacuate all passengers safely and to call emergency services, especially if the driver is incapacitated by a collision or derailment.”


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