Time for Caledonian Sleeper to be brought into public ownership

The Caledonian Sleeper service should run in the public interest and closely integrated with European national rail services, say the Scottish Greens, who have called for the service to be brought into public hands.

Scottish Greens transport spokesperson, Mark Ruskell MSP, during a debate in the Scottish Parliament called for an affordable sleeper service “that is fully integrated and operated in the national interest, and run by a public company.”

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

“Fundamentally I don’t think we can deliver a People’s ScotRail without a sleeper service that is fully integrated and operated in the national interest, and run by a public company.

“A nationalised sleeper service should not just be at the heart of this government’s vision for rail - it should also be at the heart of its vision for aviation because there is no credible way to meet our climate targets without a reduction in unnecessary air miles. 

“Short haul flights within the UK and to continental Europe can and should be reduced and the sleeper service should play its full part by becoming the first choice for overnight commuters.

“With single ticket prices costing in the hundreds of pounds, the sleeper is simply not an affordable service. Nationalised or not, we need to be doing all we can to ensure the sleeper is a low-cost option, competitive with aviation. 

“Since the Eurostar terminal shifted to St Pancras, the opportunity for seamless connections to Europe have been there for rail passengers coming from and to Scotland.

“A passenger getting on a sleeper at Inverness only has one platform change to get to Paris,  Brussels or Amsterdam the next morning. But the lack of an integrated, affordable ticket is the biggest stumbling block.

“Scotland should not be left out of this rail renaissance that is happening across Europe. Brexit has left us isolated and at times locked up in a 10-mile tailback outside Dover.

“We need to be better connected, and we should recognise that most European rail services are being run by nationalised rail companies which have the vision and backing of their governments at their heart. 

“We need a Caley Sleeper run in the public interest and integrated with the rest of Europe’s national rail services; I look forward to that vision and that day coming soon.”