scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Strategic Priorities For Scotland's Railway

A Scottish Executive Consultation Paper

ScotRail holds the franchise to operate internal Scottish railway services to 2004. The Passenger Service Requirement (PSR) assures Far North Line passengers a minimum of three daily weekday trains in each direction until that date. The UK Strategic Rail Authority will be developing requirements for the passenger service franchise to run from 2004. The Scottish Executive will have a key influence on this. Hence this Consultation Paper.

The paper both lays out and seeks views on the Scottish Executive's vision and objectives for Scotland's passenger railway. It covers priorities in attracting more people to rail, the part of rail in an integrated transport system, and the securing of value for money investment. It poses a series of questions.

In welcoming the Consultation FoFNL established a sub-committee to co-ordinate a response. (This has now been completed and can be read here) The sub-committee has identified key issues including :-

  1. if rail is to deliver its potential in developing the economy of both Scotland and its regions there is a need for:-
    a) socio-economic environmental assessment in planning,
    b) an effective framework for the rail industry in the UK,
    c) provision of integrated transport hubs in city centres,
    d) a co-operative spirit across stakeholders,
    e) capital finance, including targeted pump priming by government.
  2. safety, frequency, speed, reliability, comfort, ease of access and competitive fares are each essential in growing the passenger railway.
  3. There are three distinct groups of traveller, the rural, the urban and the inter-regional-each have a different balance of needs.
  4. A Highland perspective is needed in responding to a paper written from the centre.

The sub-committee will reflect these issues and others relating to stations, trains and fare structure in their response.

Do you think we need changes to the timetable? Please write in.

John Melling, Chairman