Kessock Bridge logjam builds up as election issue
By Hector MacKenzie Ross-shire Journal Published: 13 April, 2007
So ran the headline of an article which contained the following quotes:
"Some frustrated commuters weary of waiting up to 45 minutes to cross the bridge southbound at peak times have even talked of campaigning to restore Black Isle rail links although the cost would be massive."
"Car sharing and promotion of alternative transport, like trains, only become attractive, he said, if onward transport links within the city are in place."
This prompted your Editor to offer the following letter which was published on 27 April.
THE KESSOCK BRIDGE BYPASS
There is certainly a problem with the increasing congestion on the Kessock Bridge and the scarcity of parking places in Inverness (Journal 13 April).
For some, the train is an attractive alternative. The morning commuter train is nearly full by Beauly and plans are being made to provide more services to cope with the increasing demand.
The first of these should be a service from Dingwall at around 08.15 reaching Inverness nicely before 09.00. This will be achieved by retiming the morning train from Kyle to run an hour earlier answering a call from people in Strathcarron seeking to commute to Inverness for work or education.
The possibility of a third train is also being discussed to give an earlier arrival in Inverness at around 07.45 and provide a connection in to the train to Edinburgh and London Kings Cross. It is envisaged that this might start from Ardgay and thus mirror the evening service which returns to Ardgay at 17.03.
Such arrangements would give a pattern of three morning commuting services in to Inverness and three back in the evenings at 17.03, 17.53 and 18.15.
Extra trains were added during the rest of the day when the Invernet services were introduced in December 2005. Ridership increased by 30% in the first year and partly due to the attractive fares structure, this trend is continuing.
Other enhancements being planned are the reopening of Conon Bridge station and a middle of the day train to Wick leaving Inverness just before 14.00.
The train service is now catering for the various different markets of commuters, students and shoppers as well as longer distance travellers.
The current level of 13 services per day into Inverness and 11 back northwards could soon become 15 and 13 respectively if the current ideas are approved. A further increase would thereafter be possible if the passing loop at Lentran between Inverness and Muir of Ord were to be reinstated.
As the Convener of The Highland Council, Alison Magee, said when travelling on the commuter train from Lairg, discerning passengers can sit back and relax while observing the standstill of traffic on the bridge as the train takes them in to the centre of the city with no need to search for a parking space.
Committee Member, Friends of the Far North Line.