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

Letter to the Editor, Modern Railways

Dear Sir,


The improvements at Inverness Station (June issue) sound wonderful at first but the reality is somewhat different.

Effectively, the adjoining retail developer has been allowed to hem in the station on the side with the best road access and is merely paying for the displacement of some of the facilities. Whilst some of these may be improved (which would not be difficult with the existing sleeper lounge portakabin), access will suffer and the "minor closure" at platform 1 will mean passengers will no longer alight under cover of the canopy.

There will now only be 16 short stay parking spaces and room for one coach at the south east side of the station. Work has already started so that, during the recent Culloden landslip blockage, replacement coaches had to reverse gingerly up the narrow lane at the other side of the station. The Government press releases read as if there is to be a new extensive bus station.

Such an integrated transport centre has been sought by townsfolk for more than 25 years but it looks like being prevented by another planning application for retail use. Replacement buses will still have to reverse up the narrow access lane and passengers will still have to lug their own luggage to the existing poorly signed bus station. It seems that in the Highlands, the convenience of rail passengers comes last and commercial developers call the tune.

Where is the integration of facilities that the Government is calling for? Given its geographical position and essential bus links to Fort William and Ullapool, Inverness would surely be a good interchange project with which to start? Capital funds are needed along side the rhetoric!

Yours faithfully
R J Ardern

The above letter demonstrates part of the wide range of interests your committee undertakes to further the aims of the Friends. A great deal of time was spent attending planning meetings on site to achieve, unfortunately, very little of advantage to the travelling public.