R40195 Hornby Caledonian Sleeper, Mk2E Brake Standard Open, 9497 – Era 11
East coast sleeper services between London and Scotland ceased in May 1988, but the sleeper services on the WCML from Euston remined. Responsibility for operation of the remaining Anglo-Scottish services passed within British Rail from InterCity West Coast to ScotRail in March 1995. The Caledonian Sleeper franchise was initially handed out as part of the ScotRail franchise which was won by National Express who took over the services operation in 1997. National Express continued to use BR’s Mk3 sleeper coaches, hiring locomotives from Virgin Trains until March 1998 and EWS from then on. Mk2 seated carriages were added to the service in 2000 featuring first class-style reclining seats, whilst the Mk3 sleeping cars were refurbished.
In 2004 the ScotRail Franchise including the Caledonian Sleeper was transferred to FirstGroup with the Caledonian sleeper rolling stock being repainted in FirstGroup’s corporate blue, pink and white livery. In 2014 the Caledonian Sleeper became part of a separate franchise awarded to Serco who invested £100 million in new Mark 5 carriages which were introduced in April 2019, replacing the aging Mk3 stock.
The Mark 2 coach was introduced to the British railway in 1964. Mk2 coaches were designed to be stringer and more resistant to corrosion than their predecessors whilst reducing maintenance costs. A revised painting method coincided with a switch from BR maroon and Southern Region dark green to a blue and grey livery.
1876 Mk2 coaches were produced by BREL at Derby Litchurch Lane Works between 1963 and 1975, with many remaining in service performing departmental work and charter services. Coach 9802 was one of 11 Mk2e Open Standard coaches converted for use on the Caledonian Sleeper service in 1999 to feature reclining seats.