In the Highlands and Islands Enterprise response of 31 May to the work of the Scottish Government's Advisory Group on Economic Recovery (post Covid-19), convened by Benny Higgins, there is an inadvertent glimpse into the minds of those charged with formulating the document.
On P10 we read the HIE's very brief views on transport. It stresses that "addressing long-standing transport constraints must also continue to be at the forefront if the economy of the Highlands and Islands is to rebound strongly. Acute issues such as ferry disruption, the fragility of air links and the resilience and reliability of strategic roads can have a significant impact on residents' lives and the operation of businesses. Enhancing growth and productivity also requires reduced journey times from the Highlands and Islands to Scotland's main economic centres. Scottish Government's commitments to deliver the A9 and A96 dualling programmes along with an appropriate network of electric charging points will be hugely important in supporting inclusive growth and aiding recovery in the regional economy over the long term."
The next bullet point is concerned with infrastructure investments needed to drive the decarbonisation of transport, and contains the only reference to rail: "electric and hydrogen powered trains."
There is no mention, at any point, of the Victorian railway infrastructure which needs to be upgraded to provide a fast and frequent enough service to achieve modal shift away from road transport.
It clearly didn't occur to the response writer of the organisation, whose declared purpose and priorities are "making our region the best place to live, work, study and invest", that there is such a glaring deficiency in the area's rail network as a single-track-with-passing-places "Main Line". The Highland Main Line joins a large part of its constituency to the rest of Scotland and the UK.