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

Railway Cuttings

ScotRail Press Release - 31 March 1999

£7m upgrade for Scotrail 'Hotels'

ScotRail's 'hotels on wheels' the sixteen carriage Caledonian Sleeper trains which cross the border to and from London six nights a week - are set for a £7 million upgrade which will include new airline style seating, custom built disabled toilets, new livery and complete interior renewal.

Britain's longest domestic passenger trains convey 800 beds at up to 80 mph on Sunday to Friday nights linking London with Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen. Inverness, and Fort William. The creation of comfortable 'Club Car' seating will offer a cheap, high speed alternative to car or bus for a host of travellers wishing to journey through the night.

"This new upgrade completes another of our Franchise commitments and will enable us to welcome aboard disabled passengers and those looking for inexpensive overnight rail travel," says ScotRail Managing Director Alastair McPherson "We've already improved on-board quality with better breakfasts and dinner menus and Sleeper fares are currently up to 44% cheaper than they were before privatisation."

Eleven Mark 2 carriages supplied by Forward Trust Rail will be converted to 'Club Cars', each containing 31 reclining seats, two toilets, conductor accommodation, and space for luggage and cycles. Work will be undertaken at Railcare's Wolverton plant and the new vehicles should enter service in late autumn. The livery, logo and furnishings currently adorning existing sleeper vehicles will be superseded with new decor, beds and carpets in a striking ScotRail colour scheme of silver and purple. Contract is being handled by the Derby based consultancy W.S. Atkins and work will be carried out at Inverness by Rail Projects Ltd, Derby.

ScotRail Press Release - 20 May 1999

New trains for Far North

A ScotRail 'Special' running between Inverness, Kyle, Wick and Thurso on Sunday 23 May will pave the way for the introduction of 90 mph, air conditioned rolling stock on the routes next year. The run could also herald journey time reductions on the Far North line plus through services to and from Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of ScotRail's planned redeployment of modern rolling stock following the arrival of nearly £200 million worth of new trains currently on order. Sunday's run, which will not carry passengers, will be the first ever end-to-end trip north of Inverness for a Class 158 ScotRail Express of the type now operating between Inverness/Edinburgh and Glasgow. The train will be staffed by engineers from ScotRail and Railtrack who'll be checking that the rolling stock complies with all aspects of the route's safety requirements before the 158s enter public service in Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire in the summer of next year. Top speed on the Far North line is 75 mph but ScotRail hope to exploit the trains superior acceleration to bring journey times between Inverness and Thurso comfortably below 3 hours 30 minutes with less than four hours for the end to end trip to Wick.