13 April 2017
The Scottish Government is not making any promises about the possible re-opening of Evanton railway station, according to Labour Highlands and Islands MSP Rhoda Grant.
Mrs Grant wrote to Transport Minister Humza Yousaf after hearing about a newly launched survey to boost the case for the re-opening of the station. Mrs Grant is backing the community initiative.
The Transport Minister said Evanton did not feature in the investment programme to 2019 adding:
“I am not in a position at this stage to say what our investment strategy for the railway network will be beyond 2019 as this will be informed by a range of evidence, including advice from the rail industry and Transport Scotland’s recently completed consultation exercise.”
However, Mrs Grant, Honorary Vice-President of Friends of the Far North line, was heartened that the Minister said “the Government is determined to improve overall performance on our longest rural railway line and it is imperative we look at options to achieve that”.
“It looks as though it will take some time to get the station back on the map but campaigners shouldn’t give up,” said Mrs Grant.
“On a positive note, I am hoping that the reply means that infrastructure improvements like the Lentran Loop – creating a section of double track between Clachnaharry Swing Bridge and Beauly Station – will be included in a future programme.
“This would stop late running trains and prevent late running early in the day from affecting follow-on services. Passengers have been choosing to take the bus or drive due to the poor performance and unreliability of the line but it appears, that at last, the Government is beginning to listen and hopefully will take action.
“The Minister has said consideration is being made of potential timetable improvements and opportunities for freight and marketing along the route to support communities, business and tourism.
“I await confirmation of such long awaited improvements.”