At the end of October FoFNL received the news that four weekday and five weekend connections were to be broken at Inverness in the 9 December timetable. This would result in several hours' delay on journeys and sometimes mean the last onward train would be missed.
We immediately contacted Alex Hynes, MD of the Abellio ScotRail Alliance, to express our shock and to press for last minute changes to be made by Network Rail timetablers in Milton Keynes.
ScotRail moved very fast, having had very little notice of the broken connections, and put pressure on NR to fix whatever they could. Because of the fallout from last summer's timetable catastrophes down south, NR was very reluctant to consider any changes at all. However, the two organisations got together and managed to fix eight broken connections, leaving the 16:00 Wick-Inverness (Mon-Fri) which will have to wait until the May timetable to be reinstated. The other casualty, described by ScotRail as "the least worst option" was the suspension of the Beauly stop on the 18:31 Inverness-Wick, which, it is hoped, will be reinstated in May, although it may not be possible until the introduction of the new HML timetable in December 2019. The resolution of most of this problem was completed by 26 November - impressive indeed!
In FoFNL's view the whole sorry tale would have been avoided had the Westminster Government allowed Network Rail Scotland Route to be devolved to Holyrood. With this in mind we have written to all the MSPs asking them to support applying more pressure to achieve this improvement. We emphasised to them that this is a practical question, not a 'political' one, and cross-party support would therefore be expected.
Our letter can be read here.
My predecessor as Convener of FoFNL, Mike Lunan, has written to all eight of his representatives. His letter makes the reasons very clear indeed.
Please help to get this message across as soon as possible by writing to (preferably) all of your eight MSPs. If you want to check who they are, and how to contact them, use this tool.