Transport giant Arriva bids for Caledonian Sleeper train franchise

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SUNDERLAND transport giant Arriva is dreaming of success in the race to run one of Britain’s best-loved rail services.

Transport Scotland has announced that the Doxford International firm has qualified to bid for the Caledonian Sleeper franchise, which operates overnight trains from London to the north of Scotland.

Arriva submitted an expression of interest in April.

Managing director Bob Holland said: “Securing the opportunity to bid for this high-profile sleeper service is tremendous news.

“Arriva, and our parent company DB, have a wealth of experience in long-distance services which we can draw from.

“We will use our expertise operating CrossCountry – the UK’s most extensive rail franchise – and the DB City Night Line sleeper network to develop a bid that helps meet the aspirations of Transport Scotland and provides high–quality services for passengers. The creation of a new franchise specifically for this route will help ensure a renewed focus on this important link between Scotland and London.”

The Caledonian Sleeper will continue to serve the overnight market between Inverness, Aberdeen, Fort William, Edinburgh and Glasgow to London.

The news comes a week after Arriva was selected by Transport for London to bid for the prestigious Crossrail concession. The firm is one of four to make the shortlist to operate the capital’s new service, due to launch in five years’ time.

Arriva already operates six rail businesses in the UK – Grand Central, Tyne and Wear Metro, Arriva Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry and London Overground Rail Operations.

The company is also one of London’s largest bus operators, running almost a fifth of the routes in the capital.