Caledonian Sleeper services are no longer the responsibility of the ScotRail franchise, having been separated and contracted out as a separate operation to Serco. With the change in the operation comes a new livery and a future change in traction as DBS (formerley EWS) are replaced as traction providers by GBRf. As a keen follower of the former Southern Region of BR, I am fascinated to hear that the now long term incumbents, the Class 67, are to be ousted by rebuilt but considerably older former Southern Region Class 73s, working in pairs. As an aside, GBRf Class 92s have already replaced Class 90s south of Edinburgh.
Following a problem with a Class 67 recently where one over-heated on the Inverness-Euston service (eventually cancelled) when climbing to Slochd Summit (together with a few strange management decisions by those in ‘control’); Caledonian Sleeper services are now double-headed on the Highland Line leg (most of the time). On a recent visit to Aviemore (on the way to another mountain climbing day on Thursday August 13th), I noted No. 67 009 leading No. 67 004 on the 1S25 north-bound service.
Both No. 67 004 and the leading Mark 2 coach, No. 9802 have the new CS livery of dark blue applied. Given that this is a night-time operation, I think some much brighter colours would have stood out better in stations after dark…
Class 67s look as if they will be a thing of the past on Caledonian Sleepers after this October and there’s little other scope for their use in the Highlands these days, so they may become rare visitors to Fort William and Inverness in the future. It’s been a long reign and even though I like Class 73s, the enigmatic and not always reliable Class 67 will be missed from the Highlands. I wonder how the Class 73/9s will cope… I am not one for pessimism, but I give them six months, especially as they will debut at the start of a Highland winter with all that means for weather over Rannoch Moor, Druimuachdar Pass and Slochd.