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9 September: news in brief

Wrong bleach took Caledonian Sleepers out of service

CLEANERS who used the wrong specification of bleach in the toilets and shower rooms on Caledonian Sleepers caused significant damage after the chemicals reacted with stainless steel pipes, it has emerged. The problem affected the inaugural train which carried VIP guests in April, according to Scotland on Sunday, leaving the affected equipment out of service and other toilets also without water. SoS said a source had told it that ‘There has been a progressive programme to go through all the carriages, some of which were in worse condition than others. One set of carriages, which sat with the chemical in them for some time, was the worst affected’. The mistake is understood to have been made by a contractor working for manufacturer CAF, and not the operator Serco. Caledonian Sleeper managing director Ryan Flaherty said: ‘Bringing our new trains into service has been very complex and challenging. ‘We have been working closely with all our partners to resolve the issues that we have faced and we are pleased with the progress that has been made.’ Serco is under pressure after a series of failures this year. In one recent case a southbound train was taken out of service at Preston overnight, and passengers were effectively told to find their own way onward to London, although any additional fares would be reimbursed. Meanwhile,there is still no launch date for the new trains on the Highlander routes to Aberdeen, Fort William and Inverness.

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