The London-Edinburgh night train turns into a nightmare

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Entrusted to a private concessionaire, the night train, revived in April, accumulates the setbacks, reinforcing the promise of Labor to renationalize the railways.

By Philippe Bernard Published on 05 July 2019 at 00h57

Time to Reading 5 min.

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LETTER FROM LONDON

In their advertising, the promoters of the new "Caledonian sleeper" promised a experience out of time ". They did not believe so well. Launched with drums and trumpets in the spring, the new night train between London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, only rarely arrives on time. Travelers who have tried " experience Enticing to fall asleep at Euston station to wake up in the heart of Scottish cities, spread their anger on social networks. Far less quick than the French to climb on their great horses at the slightest failure, the British politely evoke their disappointment ", tickets " overpriced ", schedules "Not respected", dcabins "To discourage claustrophobes".

Mythical link

Since its commissioning, the "Caledonian sleeper" chain of events, to the point that it looks like a small industrial disaster, emblematic of the excesses of the private management of trains in the United Kingdom. On the day of its inauguration, April 28, the shining convoy left with three hours late. Bad effect in front of the press and personalities. Since then, the litany of technical failures »And« sincere apologies Has not stopped. Toilet down, water leaks, alarms screaming in the middle of the night. On June 12th, at 5 o'clock in the morning, a defect in the braking system forced Serco, the concession company, to transfer the passengers of the dream train to a vulgar car for Glasgow.

In a country where rail transport is so slow and so expensive that the plane – often less expensive – gets the lion's share on some domestic routes, the revival of a night train seemed an ecological and attractive idea at the same time. . The new "Caledonian sleeper" allows you to leave London shortly before midnight to be transported fresh and available in Edinburgh at 7:23 am the next morning.

Everything seemed to have been planned to revive a legendary link opened in 1843. Comfort, rest and gastronomy were promised, far from the crush of airports, without charging for excess baggage and even with the possibility of falling asleep an hour before the departure to extend his night. The only one of its kind in the United Kingdom with the "Night Riviera" linking London to Cornwall, the new London-Edinburgh was to fuel the renaissance fashion movement in favor of night trains.

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