The Mk 5 carriage story

Although locomotive-hauled coaches are largely a thing of the past, there has been one fleet of new-builds in recent years - the Mk 5s operated by Caledonian Sleeper and TransPennine Express. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES looks into the background of these interesting vehicles.

THE ORIGINS of the Mk 5 coach project can be traced back to 1997 when, during privatisation, sleeper services between England and Scotland became part of the ScotRail franchise, which was first allocated to National Express to operate, and later to FirstGroup.

Both of these operators continued to use the former British Railways stock, which was at the time relatively modern. However, in 2012, the Scottish Parliament decided that the sleeper operation should be split from the rest of ScotRail, with potential bidders being informed that the expectation was that rolling stock would be updated or replaced. 

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