The ScotRail Alliance has installed new equipment at Inverness Depot to improve train performance in the Highlands.
A new £1.6 million mobile wheel lathe has been installed which will improve the performance and reliability of services between Inverness and Aberdeen, Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick and Thurso.
The machine reprofiles train wheels - which can become misshapen - removing any imperfections or flat spots which have developed, keeping the wheels completely round without having to remove the them from the train.
In the past this task would be time consuming and involved transporting the trains to the Central Belt at low speed to allow the work to be carried out. The introduction of the new equipment also included the installation of new synchronised lifting jacks that allow two-carriage trains to be lifted without uncoupling, reducing the time it takes to service the train.
Both ScotRail's existing Class 158 trains - which operate to and from Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick and Thurso - and new fleet of high-speed Inter7City trains will be serviced at the depot.
The £1.6 million project was funded through Network Rail's Control Period 5 Scottish Network Improvement Fund, where investment was made available to deliver enhancements to the rail network and services.
ScotRail Project Manager John MacDonald said:
"The installation of the new wheel lathe at Inverness Depot will improve the performance and reliability of services in the region.
"Trains can now be serviced locally, allowing the depot to get them back in passenger service faster, saving valuable time.
"With the busy tourist season fast approaching, this is a real boost for the Highlands."
Transport Scotland's Rolling Stock Programme Manager Dougie Andrews said:
"Passengers across the Highlands will be delighted that this equipment is now being used to help enable trains to return to service quickly and provide a more reliable level of performance.
"This Scottish Government funding builds upon the significant on-going investment in infrastructure and rolling stock across the area, enabling more services and seats to be provided. This, in turn, is helping make rail travel a more attractive choice for commuters and leisure travellers in the north of Scotland."