The man wakes up after a night on a sleeping train to find it never left the station

The man wakes up after a night on a sleeping train to find it never left the station

After a bed for the night on the Caledonian Sleeper train on Tuesday – expecting to sleep through a 345-mile journey – passengers awoke to discover it had never left the station.

Jim Metcalfe, a regular user of the sleeper train service from Scotland to London, first reported the strange events on the morning of July 20.

“In 15 years of using this train, and through many bizarre twists and turns, this has to be the strangest yet,” Metcalfe wrote on Twitter.

“Wake up and the train never left Glasgow. It just sat here all night and now we’ve been thrown off it at 5:30 in the wrong city.”

The Caledonian Sleeper operates several routes between London and Scotland, with its Glasgow-London overnight service usually lasting seven and a half hours. Passengers can board from 22.00 on the evening of departure and stay on board until 07.30 the next morning.

Mr Metcalfe, who is from East Renfrewshire, explained: “Cal Sleeper tweeted that the service was on last night, let people board and just left us sitting here all night.

Jim Metcalfe didn’t expect to wake up where he went to bed


“They let everyone come in and go to bed, and just left us here. I’m traveling for work. It’s hard to know what to say…”

After going ashore, Metcalfe told that BBC: “I can’t sleep after it starts moving, so I get up early and try to sleep first, so I got on at 10.30pm and slept at 11pm. It really was.”

The next morning, he said: “There was a knock on the door at 5am and a guy turned up with a hot dog and coffee – he explained that the train hadn’t moved.”

Jim Metcalfe traveled for work


“We were told we had to get off because they needed the platform back. It was more surreal than anything – I should have been 300 miles away.”

He said that before leaving home he had checked that the train was definitely running, as Wednesday was a day of disruption on the railway following the heat wave. It had definitely been planned to drive, so he boarded as usual.

Praising the staff on the Caledonian Sleeper, Mr Metcalfe said: “I would say that in a very difficult situation the train staff on board were very calm and professional and handled it as well as they could.”

He added: “I just went home, for me it was a bit of an inconvenience. But it’s bringing home what’s happening around the world on the climate crisis – it made it very real that you were experiencing this in real time.”

People were amused by the story, with the tweet attracting more than 4,900 likes on Twitter.

“I know it doesn’t really help, but the train is definitely more than an hour late getting to its destination, so you should be able to claim it,” suggested one helpful follower.

Kathryn Darbandi, Serco’s managing director of Caledonian Sleeper, said: “We apologize to guests affected by the cancellation of our overnight services between Scotland and London.

“This was due to a fault identified on the line late at night, related to the extreme temperatures causing problems across the network, which were beyond our control.

“We made every effort to support guests affected, including offering accommodation on board and options to travel on alternative train services the next day. All guests will receive a full refund.”

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