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

Response to the Network Rail RUS Scotland Consultation

Friends of the Far North Line (FoFNL) was formed in 1994 to support the railway line from Inverness to Wick and Thurso, and now has over 200 members. FoFNL supports the Scottish Executive's policy of encouraging travellers to use public transport rather than private cars, so as to reduce traffic on overcrowded roads, to help conserve fuel resources, and to reduce the amount of pollution. We represent the views and aspirations of users of the Far North Line (FNL) and other lines out of Inverness, to service providers, government (local and national), Transport Scotland and other stakeholders.

FoFNL welcomes the RUS and the contemporaneous Highland Room for Growth (RfG) studies, which have been complied to a compatible standard.

FoFNL has identified nine schemes which we regard as PRIORITY schemes, and we have designated them accordingly in this Response.

RUS schemes FoFNL supports

Route 25 Option 17.1 Inverness-Aberdeen platform extension to accommodate 6-car trains.
Option 17.2 Inverness-Aberdeen additional infrastructure to operate an accelerated hourly service. PRIORITY
Route 24 Option 13.5 Line speed enhancements between Hilton and Ladybank. PRIORITY
Option 14.1 Timetable recast through Fife. It is essential in this recast to ensure hourly paths from Edinburgh to Perth via Ladybank for Inverness trains.
Option 10.1 Larbert to Stirling reduced headways. It is essential to ensure paths are available for Glasgow-Perth-Inverness trains.

Room for Growth schemes to be incorporated into the RUS

Route 25 p94 Reinstate Ballinluig and Newtonmore loops. PRIORITY Redouble line from Culloden to Daviot. Associated line speed improvements for hourly service frequency, plus freight paths.
p113 Raise Far North Line line speeds and loop speeds. PRIORITY
Upgrade level crossings. PRIORITY
Reinstate double track over whole or part of lengths from Clachnaharry to Clunes to create either a dynamic or static passing loop to improve robustness of timetable. PRIORITY
Construct Georgemas chord.
Re-open Halkirk station.

Additional schemes FoFNL wishes to see

Route 25   Provide new train service from Inverness to Wick leaving at around 1400 and connecting at Thurso with the last (19.00) ferry to Orkney. PRIORITY
Reinstate double track at both ends of Inverness-Aberdeen line to facilitate robust time-table. We suggest Inverness to Dalcross Airport new station and Kittybrewster to Dyce, Raithes Farm Freight Terminal or beyond as appropriate to increase end-to-end hourly, and Aberdeen Crossrail, services. PRIORITY
As well as Orton loop, and marrying of Forres loop and station, consider transferring Keith loop to embrace station so that passengers can at least detrain while the train waits to go forward.
Consider new station at Inverness Retail and Business Park (Seafield of Raigmore) and additional commuter services to Inverness from Nairn and Elgin to reduce road congestion.
Consider new or re-opened station at Evanton.

Detailed notes on the RUS

We now turn to the detail of the RUS, and our comments are given in page order.

Minor errors and confusions which should be corrected in the final RUS

© FoFNL 27 October 2006