A comparatively minor road accident on 12 July caused the road system in Inverness to lock up. This prompted much anger and a news item and editorial in the Inverness Courier the following week.
It would be perfectly possible to substantially improve the rail provision north of Inverness. There used to be a six-mile double-track section from Clachnaharry to Clunes. FoFNL has long been pressing for at least the passing loop at Lentran to be reinstated, and we may be about to hear that it will be. The fact will remain though that single track railways, even with plenty of passing places, can still only provide a limited service.
In the end the Scottish Government needs to tackle this problem and put money into upgrading the southern end of the route, including a better signalling system. It's not clear at the moment that they are listening to the rising clamour, but newspaper coverage such as this certainly helps.
An Inverness business leader has called for improved train services in the region after a campervan overturned just north of the Kessock Bridge, causing traffic chaos in the city. Stewart Nicol, chief executive of the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, said the incident, which blocked' the northbound carriageway of the A9, highlighted the need for better commuter rail services.
The crash, at 4.45pm on Friday, also led to gridlock in the city for an estimated two hours as motorists sought alternative routes. There were also long tailbacks on the northbound A9. Mr Nicol said it illustrated the importance of the Kessock Bridge, which is used by tourists and locals, to the Highland economy. But it also highlighted the volume of traffic. "It reminds us how reliant we are on the roads," he said. "There is not really a great commuter service by rail. They are not frequent enough to get people off their reliance on cars."
Inverness came to a complete standstill at rush hour on Friday and all those caught up in the traffic nightmare are quite entitled to wonder what on earth went wrong. Almost the whole city ground to a halt for around two hours. And all because a campervan overturned on the other side of the Kessock Bridge near North Kessock.
Fridays at this time of year are particularly busy in any event, but can it be right that a relatively minor accident can bring an entire 21st century city to a grinding halt? It certainly doesn't augur well for the rest of the summer with a packed diary of major events adding extra pressure to the road system.
This weekend sees the Inverness Highland Games and Pride march, quickly followed by the Black Isle Show and Belladrum music festival - on the same day! Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol is quite right when he says too many people are using their cars because commuter rail services aren't up to scratch.