The deleterious permaneant way slowing (pws) to 25 mph at Chapelton Farm user-worked level crossing (UWC) north of Muir of Ord (MOO) has been inflicted on FNL services for some six years now. It was meant to be temporary and we were told at our June 2012 AGM in Dingwall that it would be removed within weeks.
The crossing is situated 13 miles and 1100 yards north of Inverness and the restriction extends to 14 miles 260 yards where there is another UWC. This is a distance of just over half a mile, although it seems much longer. We understand the problem revolves around sighting issues and type approval for a new type of equipment installed there.
Initially, the delay was mostly masked by the extra time which had been added to the timetables in expectation of an earlier opening of Conon Bridge station than was actually achieved. When Conon opened, the effect of the "temporary" pws was more widely felt such that an emergency timetable with extra minutes was introduced in October 2013 and yet more time added to this section in December 2014.
There were suggestions that the speed restriction was to be removed in February and again in April this year, but this has not happened. Passenger confidence has been eroded by extended periods of disruption to timekeeping and reliability in the last few years. FoFNL believes that we cannot afford to let this situation continue for any longer. Removal of this damaging restriction is long overdue. Please, Network Rail, could it be removed before the new timetable starts in December?