Far North Line Train Service Enhancements
There are no developments to report on either the enhancements to the existing services nor to the hourly Inverness - Tain proposals. Copies of our proposals have been sent to all five ScotRail bidders.
Meanwhile, in today's world, random observations by members have revealed an increasing number of incursions to and beyond Inverness by Haymarket-based class 158 units. Those noted amounted to 20 in February and 27 in March, almost one a day! And this is only a snapshot. The 25 Inverness sets were specially refurbished for use on the Far North and Inverness to Aberdeen lines. The Haymarket units do not have the 4 bike spaces and more comfortable window-aligned seats specified for the long FNL journey nor the First Class provision for the Aberdeen line. Their use on any services involving Inverness also torpedoes the seat reservations system. We believe that Haymarket units are not diagrammed to work north of Perth or Arbroath, but it has been an endemic problem over the past two years. For example, Haymarket's 158738 worked to Wick on 21st February and back early next morning, then formed the 10.58 to Kyle; and 158739 was seen on the BBC's Great British Railway Journeys when Michael Portillo visited Dunrobin Castle station.
We have raised these issues with First ScotRail. It has to be said that we have always been dealt with sympathetically. Unfortunately substitutions with Haymarket units continue.