FoFNL campaigns in general for much faster and better services, facilities and customer experience. We monitor reliability, accessibility, safety, sustainability, value and resilience, and look for progress in these areas.
This is a list of specific FoFNL Aims and Actions on which we base our campaigning.
'Aims' are improvements which we wish to see.
'Actions' are more about an awareness of things to be mentioned and lobbied for whenever we're in a situation for passing on views.
Sometimes things on the 'Actions' list will throw up specific projects to add to the 'Aims' list.
- New passing loop(s) on one, or both, of the two long sections between Helmsdale and Georgemas Junction (each 24¼ miles)
- Best possible modal interchange facilities at Inverness and at Thurso for Orkney
- Halkirk Station - Georgemas Curve - Thurso-Wick Shuttle 1
- New alternatively fuelled rolling stock 2
- Additional year-round Sunday service to Thurso/Wick
- Evanton Station (possibly requiring closure of Kildonan because of issues with crew hours) 3
- Capitalise on the presence at Invergordon of one of the few deep water ports on the East Coast
- Promote use of FNL stations as 'hubs' for interchange with other modes, including Demand responsive transport (DRT). Possible development of social facilities too - e.g. café and/or small shop
- Lobby for additional regular freight traffic (intermodal / bulk / semi-bulk, such as timber and steel)
- Form closer links with communities along the line 4
- Keep a critical eye on planning applications for new developments to check whether they are consistent with sustainable travel objectives
1 There are three elements, shuttle, chord and reopened Halkirk Station, which give these options:
- A simple shuttle service between Thurso and Wick.
- Utilisation of the shuttle to replace alternate legs of the end-to-end service, with a change at Georgemas Junction (GGJ). This would save around 25 minutes on the INV-WCK journey.
- Construction of a chord allowing trains to bypass GGJ and proceed directly to Thurso. The train would then proceed to Wick.
- Provision of a station at Halkirk with either an island platform, or a bay. This would enable INV-THS/WCK services to terminate alternately at THS or WCK. The other leg would be provided by the shuttle with cross-platform interchange. The shuttle could still travel direct via GGJ when not connecting with a train to/from the South. This option would also give a more convenient station for Halkirk passengers.
2 There is a need, especially in the light of expected increases in tourist traffic as part of modal shift, to provide comfortable trains to enable the best enjoyment of the scenery and to provide cycle accommodation. It may be that one type of new unit would be suitable for both the FNL & Kyle lines and the West Highland Line.
3 When the service pattern is recast around Helmsdale the train crew roster limitations may be mitigated.
4 This is not meant in the sense of becoming similar to a CRP (Community Rail Partnership), the emphasis would be on communicating better with any existing local organisations.
FoFNL Committee - February 2022