A More Prestigious Train
The increase in the frequency of trains between Inverness and Edinburgh promised for December 2011 should help to improve connections with the Far North Line. It will also require more train sets. Two locomotive hauled trains are currently chartered by ScotRail for morning and evening peak journeys around the Fife Circle from Edinburgh. They are to be replaced in December 2011 by suburban diesel units displaced by the Bathgate electrification.
Inverness to Edinburgh requires inter-city type rolling stock similar to, but perhaps shorter than, the High Speed Trains used on the East Coast. One way to achieve this would be to use and adapt the locomotives and coaches currently touring the Fife Circle. It is here suggested that the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland might seek to emulate the Welsh Assembly-sponsored Holyhead to Cardiff dining train as a way of bringing the country closer together.
This would provide attractive breakfast and dinner time services each way between Inverness and Edinburgh with full catering for the business market and for others who want a more comfortable, higher quality service. The uprating of the class 170 engines to achieve higher speeds has not been successful, but five or six coach locomotive hauled trains might be timetabled to provide the sub three hour journey times promised. If we are serious about getting people out of their cars and reducing carbon emissions, this is the way to do it and attract them on to the trains.
What would we call this prestigious service? How about The Highland Enterprise?