Railwatch, the magazine of the Railway Development Society, carried several letters about the Far North Line in its July issue. The letter below has an interesting angle on the issue of request stops.
I refer to Mr J Artherton's letter in Railwatch 143 in relation to the request stops on the Far North Line. I agree that little would be saved by abolishing some of the request stops, but believe, with some modest expenditure these could all be retained while the service is speeded up. I would suggest a similar system be adopted as on some secondary lines in Switzerland. Intending passengers wishing to stop a train press a button on the platform which illuminates a flashing light for the train at a safe braking distance. A light by the button shows passengers the train will stop.
The train driver does not need to slow down to look for passengers giving a hand signal. With trains able to proceed at full line speed unless definitely required to stop, several minutes can be saved on longer journeys, with the timetable based on the average number of request stops normally required. This system would benefit the Far North Line, and could be used on other lines, such as the Central Wales line.