Press release from John Finnie's parliamentary office:
John Finnie MSP, Independent Member for the Highlands and Islands, today [5th February 2015] secured support from Derek Mackay, the Minister for Transport and Islands, to put pressure on Network Rail to improve the Far North Line.
Mr Finnie questioned the Scottish Government on what it was doing to support the transfer of road haulage to rail, explaining that some of the freight trains travelling on the Far North Line have to travel significantly under capacity due to restrictions on the line.
Mr Mackay confirmed that while he was already working with Network Rail to improve conditions on the Far North Line, he would examine the situation on the Far North Line and would apply further pressure on Network Rail for conditions to improve if required.
Commenting on the Minister's answer Mr Finnie said:
"I very much welcome the answer the Minister gave today. I am convinced that upon further examination the Minister will put more pressure on Network Rail to improve the Far North Line.
"Those who frequently travel on the Far North Line know the difficulties posed by the condition of the line and know first-hand, often in great detail, where the greatest problems lie. I would encourage the Minister to reach out to those who use the line often, including Friends of the Far North Line, to get a first-hand experience of life using the line. I know that such testimony will help the Minister fully understand the pressures facing the Far North Line and cause him to press Network Rail into significant improvements."