scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

A View From The Signalbox

It's difficult to know where to start with this, my first effort at producing this newsletter for the Friends. You will be reading elsewhere all the changes that have been taking place and all the news that has been happening and that is one reason that we have delayed this long before publishing. Newsletters become quite personal to the Editor and so perhaps this is an opportune moment to give you a little background of myself, your Editor.

I've lived on the Black Isle for 25 years having moved up to Scotland to fulfill an ambition established in my last year at school to live in the Highlands. I was a trainspotter in the early 50's, cycling around the South of England visiting as many terminii, engine sheds etc. as possible. Seeing such wonderful sights as Schools Class and Merchant Navy locomotives, and riding in the double decker on the Dartford Loop line (well to be honest it was more a 1¾ ) which at least livened up what were quite bland 3 rail electric trains. Interest in trains/railways waned rather when I went into the aircraft industry and it wasn't until I started travelling around the North of Scotland that my interest in railways was re-awakened, as I kept coming across abandoned railway lines. I kept the interest going with plenty of reading and browsing through photographs until one day I met Frank Roach in the Staff Room at Dingwall Academy, where I teach Computing Studies. Frank's enthusiam about Railways and the Far North Line spurred me to take more interest in the railway on my doorstep.

Knowing my interest in Desk Top Publishing he eventually persuaded me to get involved with the Newsletter. But, before I finish, I have an admission to make; my journey, the other Saturday, to a committee meeting in Kinbrace Station was my first journey on the Far North Line! I was extremely impressed and can even better understand the enthusiasm and affection people have for the Line, but what astonished me was some of the strange things that are forced on the operation of the Line. For example the occasions when the train is forced to travel at 10mph, or even stop, just because of unattended crossings. In hindsight it is a pity that the landowner, in the days of the line being built, didn't insist on bridges being built as happened at Dingwall.

I've introduced an issue number to this edition, but I could only go by those in my possession; I'm working on getting an accurate figure. You'll find my home address etc. elsewhere in this issue, my e-mail address is roger.piercy at tesco.net and I would welcome any contributions to future issues of the newsletter.

Roger Piercy - Newsletter Editor