Transport Scotland has selected Serco Group to handle the new 15-year rail franchise for the Caledonian Sleeper service.

From April 2015, Serco will be responsible for operating all aspects of the Caledonian Sleeper, including marketing, sales, passenger services, station facilities and fleet maintenance.

The £800m franchise is to be operated separately from the main ScotRail franchise.

Serco aims to significantly improve the guest service, as well as promote and support Scottish enterprise by sourcing local produce from small and medium-sized businesses.

"The train will showcase the best of Scotland’s food and drink and will benefit Scottish businesses."

The changes to be introduced by Serco are anticipated to increase market penetration and passenger numbers from UK residents travelling on business or leisure, as well as international tourists.

It is expected that a £100m investment will be used to procure 72 new carriages from CAF, which constitute four new Sleeper trains.

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By GlobalData

Scotland Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "The train will deliver new standard-class sleeper berths. There will be en-suite shower and toilet facilities in business berths – essentially making it a hotel on wheels.

"The train will showcase the best of Scotland’s food and drink and will benefit Scottish businesses from Shetland to Stranraer and from Stornoway to Stonehaven."

The Caledonian Sleeper service will provide a crucial connection between London and Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fort William, Glasgow, Inverness and many other of Scotland’s main towns and cities.

The new fleet will be leased to Serco by Beacon Rail and are likely to be introduced by the summer of 2018.