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

Three Steps Forward - One Step Back

Another FoFNL goal achieved - the Tain Commuter train starts on 25th September. With support from ScotRail FoFNL designed and produced the promotional leaflet. By mid September over 3000 copies had been distributed - 2100 to Invergordon homes as insertions in the Community Council Newsletter, and 1000 in Alness enclosed with the Community Association Newsletter. We wish ScotRail well in developing this service. This could be the beginning of improved services around the Moray Firth.

But not all has been well. Dingwall and Muir of Ord commuters have had a rotten summer. Extracts from a survey on 26 July are included on page 4 and make salutary reading. An additional 8 minutes to enable the 17.30 north to reverse outside Inverness, long waits on the station concourse, late departures, and having to stand on the homeward journey are not conducive to holding passengers whether to mid-Ross or Far North destinations. Comfort on the inward journey must be complemented by comfort at the end of the working day.

ScotRail has faced many difficulties, not least with Radio Signalling on 158 trains. FoFNL welcomed the May 2000 timetable with its average reduction of 18 minutes in Wick-Inverness travel time and are pleased this is consolidated for 2000-2001.

The attractiveness of Rail in the North is effected by connections to and from the South. Two ScotRail initiatives are very welcome - the 170 train and reductions in Inverness to Edinburgh/Glasgow travel time. The 170 Turbo train has comfort, space and ease of riding - by far the best ScotRail has introduced. It runs four times a day in each direction between Inverness and Central Scotland; well worth sampling!

I look forward to seeing you at the A.G.M. on November 4th when Alistair McPherson, Managing Director of ScotRail is our principal speaker.

John Melling, Chairman