ScotRail's £1 Train Trip for Dingwall Denizens
So runs the headline for the latest press release issued by ScotRail on 5th February, but so far the issues of the Ross-shire Journal for 6th and 13th February haven't covered the story!
The details were announced by Alastair McPherson at the meeting of the Highland Rail Network Development Partnership in Inverness.
The plan is to run the service from Dingwall at 08.00am, calling at Muir of Ord at 08.05 and reaching Inverness at 08.25. Commuters will be able to return on existing trains at 17.15 and 18.00.
An introductory £10 flexipass, valid, for a month, for ten single journeys in either direction on any service between Dingwall or Muir of Ord and Inverness, will be in place for the launch of the new service on March 2nd for a four month trial period.
"This is the first of a number of new services ScotRail plan to introduce. It is our response to a specific request from Highland Council who in recent years have become increasingly concerned about road congestion in Inverness, particularly in the morning peak. It demonstrates the very positive working relationship that we have with them and with other members of the Partnership." Then Mr. McPherson gave a warning - 'use it or lose it'.
The Friends of the Far North Line has been pressing for a commuter train from Tain for four years and we welcome this as a start. The Highland Rail Network Development Partnership was founded following a FOFNL initiative holding a Railway Conference in October 1995. Our representative had taken forward this initiative in the Partnership and the Steering Group.
At a recent Partnership meeting our Chairman, John Melling, offered the help of members to distribute flyer leaflets publicising the new service. FOFNL believes that only repeated marketing will secure the future of this commuter train. If you live in Ross-shire then please encourage your friends to use the service.
Whilst in Inverness Station I was checking on the advertising leaflets that were available and my attention was drawn to the leaflet for the Senior Railcard. What attracted my attention and amused me was the 'blurb' on the front cover.
To emphasise the extent of travel for passengers throughout the 'whole of the country' the text started "From Glencoe to Great Yarmouth ....." Now Glencoe was my introduction to Scotland 41 years ago but what made the author choose such a place, as if it was ever possible to reach Glencoe by train. However, I suppose Ballachulish wasn't too far away and there was always Rannoch Station!