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

Facing Points

Night-time timber loading at Kinbrace is a stimulating novelty. The blaze of arc lights making the site look like an inland oilrig! It results in a much more impressive train than the daytime freight, which loads pretty modestly these days. The timber train goes to Forsinard for the loco to run round, where new road gates are now closed during the manoeuvre; seemingly Railtrack consider that a motorist travelling under headlights on a straight road might not otherwise notice a train standing across it!

The timber operation is providing a good deal of local employment with the Syre road being reinforced as necessary, but is primarily being used as a test-bed to gain experience - to be applied elsewhere in the U.K. as well as in Scandinavia - since they discovered it suffers from considerable movement in winter due to 'frost heave'.

Certain aspects of railway operation do strike one as eccentric. We are advised that to construct a siding at Kinbrace, permitting loading in daylight and clear the running line, would have cost roughly £1 million and taken some 6 years to negotiate. I will return to value for money more generally another time.

In July, another eccentricity was highlighted; the British Transport Police Chief Constable Ian Johnston, speaking about suicides on railway lines reported, "I've managed to convince the coroner that we don't need to call out a doctor to certify a person is dead if the head is in a different place from the body. That is a pretty big step for them."

Finally, (I must be brief this time at the Editor's request) three quotations you might find thought-provoking, as I did.

Sir Peter Parker, former BR chairman: "From ashes of yesterday's corporate plan rises the phoenix of tomorrow's cock-up."

Source unknown: "What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary."

Sir Barnet Cocks, Clerk of the House of Commons: "A committee is a cul-de-sac down which ideas are lured and then quietly strangled."

See you at the AGM. . . . !!
Your Secretary,
Keith Tyler

Editor's note:
If the above comments re. committees, stirs some feelings within you, such that you want to prove them wrong or that we are unrepresentative and moving in the wrong direction, and would like to join our committee, then don't be shy, make your feelings known to a committee member and we will organise your nomination at the AGM.