Network Rail's Enhancements Delivery Plan
On 18th December, Network Rail published the Draft Delivery Plan for Control Period 5 (CP5) which runs from 1st April, 2014 to 31st March, 2019. As we have now come to expect, there is nothing north of Inverness. Into the Highland capital, there are details of route improvements from both Perth and Aberdeen, which we have outlined in our report on the new ScotRail franchise. Being considered are loading gauge improvements for freight between Elgin and Inverness but not beyond.
The Aberdeen to Inverness Key Outputs are:
- Hourly service between Aberdeen and Inverness
- Half-hourly service (other than after the evening peak) between Inverness and Elgin, including a new station at Dalcross
- Half-hourly service (other than after the evening peak) between Inverurie and Aberdeen, including a new station at Kintore
- Journey time improvements to provide all-stations journey time of an average of two hours
- Retain freight capacity
The Highland Main Line upgrade planning is less advanced. The chief output requirements are:
- Hourly train service in each direction between Perth and Inverness extending to either Glasgow or Edinburgh with an average end-to-end journey time reduction of around 10 minutes in both directions measured against the journey time as at 31st March, 2014
- More efficient freight operations that better respond to the demand from freight customers
It goes on, however, to define "hourly" thus: "A maximum interval of 90 minutes and a minimum interval of 30 minutes between departures from both Inverness and Perth is deemed acceptable within the objective of providing one train an hour." It goes on to tell us that station stops can be manipulated to permit this "hourly" service. All trains would call at Pitlochry and Aviemore and the minimum number of stops each way Mondays to Saturdays (excluding the sleepers) would be Dunkeld and Birnam (9), Blair Atholl (7), Dalwhinnie (5), Newtonmore (5), Kingussie (11, including East Coast), Carrbridge (5).
The document is in draft form and is subject to the necessary authorisation for release of funds. Should this be forthcoming, completion of upgrades is indicated for 31st March, 2019 in respect of both routes into Inverness.