Serco criticised after Caledonian Sleeper passengers stranded

Caledonian Sleeper train Image copyright PA
Image caption Serco Caledonian Sleeper launched its new £150m fleet with a promise of a "hotel on wheels"

A union has called for Serco to be stripped of the Caledonian Sleeper contract after stranded passengers were told to buy new tickets to London.

The service from Glasgow/Edinburgh was cancelled at 05:20 in Preston and people were told tickets would not be accepted on any other service.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said "This is just the latest rail debacle from Serco."

Serco issued an apology and said the problem was due to a technical fault.

Last week the train was stopped using an emergency brake after overshooting the platform at Edinburgh Waverley.

Following the latest incident, Mr Cortes described asking customers to pay the bill for the remainder of their journey as "outrageous".

He said the railway company should have helped them get to their destination.

"If they can't do the job properly the government should take the franchise back and let the public sector take over," he added.

'Extremely sorry'

Ryan Flaherty, Serco's managing director for Caledonian Sleeper, said the Southbound Lowlander service was cancelled at Preston due to a technical fault "affecting ride comfort and on-board systems".

He said: "We're extremely sorry to those affected by this issue.

"Unfortunately ticket acceptance on other trains was initially declined due to knock-on effects of disruption across the network yesterday, but all guests will be reimbursed for their onward travel to London.

"Ticket acceptance was later put in place which allowed the remaining guests at Preston to complete their journey.

"Our maintenance team will be looking into the fault this morning and we expect tonight's services to run as scheduled."

The Sleeper service has been beset with problems since its re-launch and staff recently voted for industrial action in a dispute over "appalling" working conditions.

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