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

Train Service Aims for 2004


Four Rail Operators have been short-listed for the Scotland's Passenger Rail Franchise for 2004. They are Arriva, First, Dutch Railways and National Express.

This paper sets out the main aspirations, aims and objectives of the Friends of the Far North Line for the provision of passenger services both on and in relation to the Far North line. We hope that it will assist applicants for the passenger railway franchise in Scotland when formulating their bids.

The Far North railway connects the economy of Caithness (and Orkney) through small towns, villages and townships to Inverness, the inner Moray Firth and beyond. Freight traffic is well established and is growing. Tourism is a significant part of passenger use and has a potential for growth. Part funding is in place towards the introduction of a two hourly passenger train service between Tain and Inverness, which could contribute to shortening journey times to and from Caithness.

1.   Requirements for future rolling stock.

We express the hope that we will see an introduction of trains, which meet these criteria early in the franchise, the more so because of the inadequacies of the present 158's. These in the main lack passenger comfort and have poor reliability.

2.   Passenger train services.

3.   Stations

4.   Infrastructure improvements.

5.   Fares and marketing.

Our committee can offer some wider understanding beyond the operation of a railway. We hope that the content of this document will provide the basis for further discussion with franchise applicants. We would welcome such discussion should the opportunity arise.