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

Joy as trains stop again at Beauly station

Beauly railway station welcomed a passenger train for the first time in 42 years this week.

The 8.53 am Inverness to Kyle train rolled into the Beauly station on Monday morning following a £250,000 refurbishment.

But it was a deliberately low key opening of the new station which had been due to go back into operation last October. That was delayed, however, because of questions which were raised about the length of the platform, the shortest in the country, and the safety of passengers.

ScotRail and Railtrack subsequently had to present an Operating Statement to the rail authorities showing that it could be operated safely.

Because of the shortness of the platform, passengers will use only the two middle doors of the two-coach train.

Present at the ceremony were representatives of ScotRail and Railtrack, as well as local Highland Councillor Garry Coutts, and Councillor Sandy Mackenzie who is the council's transportation spokesman.

The Strategic Rail Authority provided £99,000 towards the overall cost of the re-opening under its Rail Passenger Partnership scheme.

Chris Austin, the SRA's external relations director, said "It's always good to be able to welcome the opening of a new station. Beauly station will provide a useful service to locals and tourists, as well as making its own contribution to the continued expansion of the Highland rail network that the SRA is delivering."

Councillor Coutts said, "I'm delighted to see it open. It's over 40 years since the last passenger train operated from Beauly and it's good news."

Also welcoming the opening was John Melling, chairman of Friends of the Far North Line. "The people of Beauly have waited long" said Mr. Melling. "The new station should attract commuters to Inverness and visitors to tourist outlets at Beauly." He hoped it would lead to the re-opening of other stations in the Highlands.

Re-printed with kind permission
of the Ross-shire Journal
19th April 2002