Caledonian Sleeper annual passenger satisfaction survey results: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You requested, as follows:

The results of the Caledonian Sleeper Annual Passenger Survey for passenger satisfaction for each year since the start of the current franchise.


Transport Focus carry out the guest satisfaction survey for Caledonian Sleeper. Transport Focus is the independent passenger watchdog which represents the interests of rail passengers in England, Scotland and Wales.  Their website can be found at  

Serco Caledonian Sleeper’s Annual Passenger Satisfaction Results (provided by Transport Focus) for each year since the start of the current Franchise are outlined below:

Year 1 - (2015/16) - 82%
Year 2 - (2016/17) - 82%
Year 3 - (2017/18) - 85%
Year 4 - (2018/19) - 83%

It may be helpful if I provide some further information regarding the above results and the current Guest Satisfaction Survey (GSS).

Between 2015 and 2017 the research agency BDRC undertook a survey measuring satisfaction with the Caledonian Sleeper on behalf of Transport Focus and Serco.

The questionnaire used for this work very much followed the format of that used for the National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), although the method of data collection was different. This survey was administered online, rather than through the distribution of questionnaires at stations as per the NRPS / bespoke satisfaction survey exercise.

At the end of 2016 / beginning of 2017 Caledonian Sleeper asked Transport Focus to review its market research portfolio and asked how this might be modified to better understand and monitor the experience of guests using the sleeper. This review recognised that using an NRPS type tool for comparing the sleeper against other train services offering only a seated, day-time service did not represent the most adequate or appropriate way of benchmarking. 

The decision was made to explore a survey with an amended focus on the sleeper as more of an hospitality offering and an alternative methodology which more closely measures factors affecting sleeper passengers was developed.  The revised Guest Satisfaction Survey was piloted in July 2017 and has been a continuous survey since this point.

It is important to note that the results detailed above (and for the majority of the current year 5 of the franchise) are based on the continued use of old carriages dating back to the 1970s and early 1980s.  These were due to have been retired in April 2018.

Delivery of new trains is central to the transformation of the Caledonian Sleeper service and you may be aware that this was significantly delayed.  The manufacturer Construcciones Auxiliar y Ferrocarriles (CAF) did not supply sufficient new vehicles, in service ready condition, for full introduction to service until recently.  Full introduction of new trains to all Sleeper routes was finally achieved on 10 October 2019.

A corollary of the late introduction of new trains is that key indicator targets such as Passenger Satisfaction became misaligned with the actual dates of delivery. Moving forward we would expect to see the new trains deliver an uplift in satisfaction scores.

Transport Scotland have accepted a proposal from Caledonian Sleeper that an overall journey experience at 3* and above will be accepted as an indication of guest satisfaction.  This will be on a trial basis, over a period covering the first year of introduction of new trains.  We also expect further refinement as, during this period, Caledonian Sleeper will review its data collection methodology with Transport Focus to ensure quality feedback and richer data.  They will also continue work with Transport Focus to develop a renewed benchmarking process that will allow direct comparison with others in the hospitality sector and refine the methodology to allow disaggregation of satisfaction recording and reporting by accommodation type. 

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top