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 Day Out in Forsinard

or

Who would want to run a railway?

Having publicised the RSPB reserve at Forsinard in the May 2002 issue of the newsletter I decided that a visit from keen bird-watching relatives gave me the perfect excuse to visit Forsinard. Little did I realise that it would be ScotRail that would provide the most interest during the day.

Not certain of how much time could be gainfully and interestingly occupied at Forsinard we travelled on the first train of the day. The train was 10 minutes late at Dingwall, holding back the Commuter train south, having been delayed whilst an extra 2 coaches were added so that they could be used to assist the first southbound train. Arriving in Invergordon we watched, with interest, whilst the train reversed slowly out of the station. The driver had discovered that his radio wasn't working properly and was trying to get a signal. Unfortunately, this did not cure the problem but highlighted another. Diesel was leaking onto the track and was cured by turning off the engine. The radio problem was then cured by putting the faulty set at the rear, enabling us to set off for the North 1 hour late! On reaching the southbound train it was learnt that it had also had to turn off one its engines and it continued south without the extra coaches that had been provided to help as it was felt that our need was the greater!

Then the problems of running a railway on a predominantly single track began to manifest themselves. With a new crew returning 'our' train to Inverness it meant that they were able to make up some of the lost time, but with the 'midday' north train still running with a 'dead' engine it continued to lose time and with a statuary time break for the driver it meant that our return journey south on the last train of the day was 50 minutes behind schedule.

I would still recommend the use of the train, but plan only for an afternoon visit, the guided walks are organised for visitors arriving from the south on the 'midday' train and surely lightning doesn't strike twice!

Roger Piercy