2018 will be a memorable year for Scotland's railway. Many projects with a long lead-time will come to fruition. Already electric trains are running between Queen Street and Waverley, and the new trains ordered are being delivered. Work to electrify the route through Shotts is now well under way. The HSTs rescued from GWR will start to appear on other Inter-City routes this year, affording a substantial increase in comfort and convenience for passengers. ASR has had to put up with a lot of flak, some of it undeserved, but with any luck 2018 will be the year which brings compliments and passenger appreciation.
The new Sleeper coaches will arrive too, and ought to be delivering the full timetable by the end of the year. Here the improvement in accommodation will be astonishing, and there will be many of us keenly anticipating our first overnight journey. The plan to introduce a sleeper service from Thurso ("for Orkney") to Edinburgh using the best of the displaced rolling stock should move closer to fulfilment - fingers crossed. VTEC will be introducing their Azuma fleet this year. A unit has been as far north as Inverness already. The electric version operating south from Edinburgh will shave a useful amount of time from the current timetable; we awaited, with interest, detailed timings for the much more challenging bi-mode performance over the hilly HML. A table showing a crucial part of the 15 January run appears on page 10. The technical press has been pessimistic about the suggested uprating of the diesel motors' output for reasons not unconnected with the technical press's unhappiness that the trains were ordered by the DfT (who, you will not have failed to notice, neither operate trains nor have 'customers'). And here? The Review Team met, as reported here, in May 2017 and NR were to go and put flesh on their outline proposals for an improved timetable, and generally to give us a better railway. The putting-on of flesh is going to take as long as it would in real life: the next meeting will be in February, too late for its outcome to be reported here. But a process which occupies the finest minds in NR (Scotland) for nine months surely cannot produce a mere mouse.
So let me say, for what I'm confident will be the last time -
THE LENTRAN LOOP MUST BE BUILT
As Bugs Bunny was fond of saying "That's all, folks!"