The coaches will be introduced on the Highlander route between London and Aberdeen, Inverness and Fort William in the coming weeks.

The launch was not without its problems, as signalling issues on the Scottish network delayed services in both directions. The Glasgow Central - London Euston service, which was due to arrive at 07.07, was delayed until 10.27, while the London Euston - Glasgow Central service, which was due to arrive at 07.18, was delayed until 10.08.

Serco, which won a 15-year contract from Transport Scotland to operate the Caledonian Sleeper franchise in 2014, awarded CAF a contract in February 2015 to supply a fleet of 75 Mk 5 coaches of five different types, with the first batch of five coaches delivered in January 2018.

The new trains have some compartments with double beds, and some compartments have en-suite toilets and showers, a first in Britain. The lounge/dining car has several seating options and space for passengers to socialise. Other innovations include a hotel-style keycard entry system, more accessible compartments, reclining seats, upgraded panels for phone and gadget charging, and passenger Wi-Fi.

Secretary of state for Scotland, Mr David Mundell MP, Member of Scottish Parliament, Mr Michael Matheson MSP, and Serco managing director for Caledonian Sleeper, Mr Ryan Flaherty.

The sleeper now offers a range of options, including:

  • seats with a personal locker, reading light and charging point
  • classic rooms, for solo or shared use
  • club rooms, for solo or shared use with en-suite
  • Caledonian double, with a double bed with en-suite, and
  • accessible rooms, as a double or twin and situated beside an accessible toilet

Prices for seats start from £45, classic rooms from £140 for solo or £170 for two people sharing, club rooms from £205 for solo and £250 for shared and Caledonian doubles from £335 for solo and £400 for shared.

All accessible rooms are priced at the same level as classic rooms, including those with double beds. Caledonian Sleeper says it has engaged extensively with experts from The Shaw Trust to ensure the best possible experience for passengers with limited mobility.

The order was financed by Caledonian Sleepers Rail Leasing, a subsidiary of Lombard North Central, which is part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, with the aid of a £60m grant from the Scottish government and funds from the British government.

“Our new trains have been years in the making and to see them make their debut is a huge moment for everyone involved in making this dream a reality,” says Serco managing director for Caledonian Sleeper, Mr Ryan Flaherty.

“The overriding ambition has been to deliver on our vision of a Caledonian Sleeper service fit for today’s traveller, one that combines the modern facilities people expect with that feeling of nostalgia that comes from long-distance railway travel. We want guests to have a magical journey with us, whether they are travelling for business or for pleasure.”

“It is fantastic to see the launch of the new Caledonian Sleeper service,” says secretary of state for Scotland, Mr David Mundell MP. “The UK government has invested £50m in the new fleet, improving vital connectivity between Scotland and England, and improving the service for the thousands of passengers.”