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

Most Innovative Approach to Cycle-Rail Integration

"The HITRANS entry with FSR and TS won the Most Innovative Approach to Cycle-Rail Integration award presented in London on 7 November by Mark Beaumont.
Well done, Frank!" So ran the email from John Yellowlees announcing to us this award.

Bike 2 The Future

Most Innovative Approach to Cycle-Rail Integration. Submitted by HITRANS- one of Scotland's seven statutory Regional Transport Partnerships

First ScotRail, Transport Scotland and HITRANS have joined forces to show the world that the railway and riders can freewheel together. Train seats out, saddles in, as we deployed hard measures to enable the train to alleviate the pain.

With the increased popularity of charity rides and mounting enthusiasm for sustainable tourism on the Lands End-John O'Groats route (LE JOG), a novel way of ferrying tired, tyred pedallers back home was needed. If you've caught sight of the Old Man of Hoy (the Orkney one), you deserve a soft machine to take you home. So out went 14 seats, in came 2 new bike spaces, a wheelchair space, luggage stacks, new seats that actually line up with the windows plus eight tip-ups.

As a result of this the opportunity for cycle-rail commuting in the Inverness travel to work area, already well above the national average, received an immediate boost. But what about the historically very infrequent train service? The area's suburban rail service -Invernet - started in 2005, a fourth Wick southbound service commenced in 2006, and December 2008 sees a half hourly peak service into Inverness.

And we've pulled out the stops for investment in cycle lockers and cycle stands at all stations Dingwall-Inverness-Keith, just in case the chain reaction spreads....

Project Detail

1.    In December 2005 Invernet was launched, creating a suburban rail service for Inverness to meet the growing demand for commuter services. Peak capacity is now full, so from December 2008 more services will come on stream.

2.    When the refurbishment of the 158 stock was first mooted a key output to increase cycle capacity from 2 to 4 bikes per unit was identified. This was prompted by demand from cyclists returning south after completing Lands End-John O'Groats, and cycle usage in Inverness at 6% is well above the Scottish average. Transport Scotland funded the £9m refurbishment with some assistance from HITRANS. The programme covers all 25 Inverness-based 158s and is due to be completed in September 2008.

3.    At the same time franchise commitments from First ScotRail and funding from HITRANS saw the roll-out of cycle parking at all stations.

4.    In 2007-08 HITRANS and Highland Rail Partnership, its rail delivery arm, funded the installation of cycle lockers at Muir of Ord, Beauly, Dingwall, Nairn, Forres, Elgin and Keith. This is designed to create secure parking without the need to take your bike on the train. The lockers are managed by FSR.

5.    Inverness station has a CCTV protected cycle parking and bike locker area.

6.    The increased number of cycles and cyclists through Inverness demonstrates the value to society of modal shift to public transport and the health and economic benefits to the individual.

7.    Cycle tourists spend more per head per day in remote areas than motorised visitors.