Ross-shire Journal 21/8/98
Stations on the right track for a revamp
Three Ross-shire stations are to receive a revamp following an announcement by Railtrack of a £1.5 million upgrade package in the north. Achnasheen, Dingwall and Tain are all in line for a spruce-up which will include repairs to station buildings internally and externally, resurfacing platforms, weather proofing and upgrading shelters and structurally conserving footbridges.
Glass platform canopies will be maintained or replaced, along with other works. Work will start later this month and all stations will be completed by November.
At Dingwall a temporary footbridge will be installed and tread replacements and a non-slip coating will be applied to the permanent bridge.
However, Railtrack says passengers will not be disrupted in any way during these works. Railtrack Scotland director Janette Anderson said, "We hold a serious commitment to improving the infrastructure for Highland rail-users via our station regeneration plans, and our track and signalling programmes."
This week local Highland Councillor Margaret Paterson applauded the announcement. "It is wonderful news," she said. "I am having a meeting with Railtrack representatives on Thursday morning to determine what is going to be done at Dingwall. This will give us a feeling of security about our station and, with The Mallard opening there soon, it will really be the hub of that part of the town."
ScotRail Press Release
ScotRail still tops for performance
ScotRail is still running the most punctual trains in Britain according to figures published yesterday by the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising. By continuing to surpass Passenger Charter standards and demonstrate sustained improvement across its whole spectrum of services the company is again bucking an overall industry performance described by OPRAF director John O'Brien as giving "...cause for concern." ScotRail stands alone in showing improvement in punctuality and reliability in all five of its main service groupings, with figures well into the 90's in percentage terms.
"It helps that ScotRail and Railtrack also enjoy a superb working relationship. We share similar boundaries and an integrated train control centre in Glasgow and that greatly assists us in taking joint action to reduce delay, " said Deputy Managing Director Alex Lynch.
During the twelve months ended June 27th 1998:
96.4% of ScotRail Highland services arrived within ten minutes of schedule - 0.4% up on 96/97 and 4.4% above Charter Standard target revised upwards in September.
But although they're pleased that the latest figures continue to show an upward trend, ScotRail officials refuse to get carried away., "There can be no backslapping while there are still trains running late or trains being cancelled," says Alex Lynch.
Scotsman - June
Rhyming on the rails
Poetry was the order of the day in a train on the Far North line yesterday as part of the Highland Festival. Writers from all over the Highlands have joined trains on four North and West railway lines and read a selection of poetry to passengers.
Moira Forsyth, from Dingwall, boarded the train in her home town yesterday to go to Helmsdale in Caithness. "It's a good idea and people seem to enjoy it - holiday-makers especially," she said. "I'm used to reciting in hotels and other meeting places but I've never done it in trains before." She was joined on the train at Alness by Janet Macinnes, who helped to organise the project. Mrs. Macinnes said after the journey: "It was wonderful - it was nice to bring poetry to a wider audience. "You don't know what to expect at all as many people were scunnered by poetry at school and think it's not for them, but this makes it more accessible."