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All aboard! Fascinating photos give insight into historical luxury of Scottish sleeper trains

Georgie Darling
Yahoo News UK

From first-class areas the size of studio apartments to professionally prepared breakfasts, these vintage photographs will take you back to the long lost age of railway luxury.

Incredible photos from 140 years ago when Scottish Sleeper trains were first running have been revealed in a new book, Anglo-Scottish Sleepers.

Luxury and comfort is illustrated throughout early-twentieth century photographs that show men in official uniform and hats handing white pillows to a train conductor with a ‘Rugs & Pillows’ truck behind him.

Another pictures a group of passengers having a picnic party on a sleeper train.

The book has been compiled by Church of England priest and author, David Meara, who delves into the history of the sleeper trains that first ran between England and Scotland.

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‘Railways in Britain began in a haphazard fashion, with many small private railway companies being formed in the mid-nineteenth century in an opportunistic manner and only gradually being amalgamated to form more or less coherent operators, often fighting each other for territory and customers,’ David said.

‘Some of my happiest memories of Scottish holidays as a young teenager centre around the way in which my family began the journey north to Scotland – by the night sleeper trains, which, in the 1960s, ran to over thirty destinations throughout Britain.

‘We were provided only with pillows and blankets, but there was a restaurant car on the train, so we had the comparative luxury of an evening meal served in style – with crisp linen tablecloths and British Rail cutlery – before retiring to our cabin.’

Anglo-Scottish Sleepers is published by Amberley Publishing and is available here.

LNER First Class sleeping compartment on the Northern Belle

This picture reveals the comforts of a woman staying in a first-class compartment on the Northern Belle, lying in her bed and receiving a professionally prepared breakfast on a tray handed to her by a train attendant. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

Waiting to board the sleeper trains

‘One hundred and fifty years after the idea of providing sleeping accommodation on trains was first explored, the Anglo-Scottish sleeper service remains a key part of our national railway system and transport network,’ said David. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

St Pancras station Interior, 1947

Anglo-Scottish sleeper trains, or collectively known as the Caledonian Sleeper, are overnight sleeper train services between London and Scotland. Two services depart London each night from Sunday to Friday and travel via the West Coast Main Line to Scotland. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

Scottish Express train at Euston station c. 1909

On June 4, 1996, this service was relaunched as the Caledonian Sleeper with the Night Caledonian (to Glasgow), Night Scotsman (to Edinburgh), Night Aberdonian (to Aberdeen), Royal Highlander (to Inverness) and West Highlander (to Fort William) sub-brands.
(David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

Interior of Midland Pullman sleeping car, in 1905

‘We were provided only with pillows and blankets, but there was a restaurant car on the train, so we had the comparative luxury of an evening meal served in style – with crisp linen tablecloths and British Rail cutlery – before retiring to our cabin,’ said David. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

The lounge car quickly fills up as the train prepares to depart from Euston station

‘Some of my happiest memories of Scottish holidays as a young teenager centre around the way in which my family began the journey north to Scotland – by the night sleeper trains, which, in the 1960s, ran to over thirty destinations throughout Britain,’ said David. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

Midland Railway four-wheel bogie sleeping carriage, built 1887

Scottish Sleeper trains first ran more than 140 years ago. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

Rugs and pillows truck at Euston station, 1925

‘Railways in Britain began in a haphazard fashion, with many small private railway companies being formed in the mid-nineteenth century in an opportunistic manner and only gradually being amalgamated to form more or less coherent operators, often fighting each other for territory and customers,’ David said. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

First Class LNER sleeping compartment 1930s

The four main train companies during this period were the Great Western Railway (GWR), London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS), and the Southern Railway (SR). (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

Interior of Third Class LNER sleeper, 1947

Interlocking compartments with alternate upper and lower berths were commonplace on trains only 70 years ago. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

The cover of the book

The incredible images are compiled into a book called Anglo-Scottish Sleepers by Church of England priest and author, David Meara, who delves into the history of sleeper trains that first ran between England and Scotland. The book is published by Amberley Publishing. (David Meara / Amberley Publishing / mediadrumworld.com)

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