Transport Scotland Newsroom

01 November 2019, 09:20

Far North Line Review Group delivers for passengers and freight

Potential next steps outlined

Working collaboratively local stakeholders and the railway industry have developed an exciting programme of improvements to the Far North Line which delivers benefits for passengers and local communities.

The Far North Line Review Group has successfully driven a range of benefits along the route, as well as a potential programme of further improvements which are now under early development work.

Achievements to date include improved safety and journey time benefits, as well as customer service enhancements.

Bill Reeve, Transport Scotland’s Director of Rail and chair of the Review Group said:

“The Group has been an exemplar of good practice with the industry and local stakeholders each contributing expertise and knowledge to deliver a shared ambition to maximise the potential of the Far North Line for passengers, communities and businesses along the route.

“By building on the achievements to date, the Far North Line will yield economic benefits from improved services and infrastructure by encouraging more rail use by passengers and by freight operators.”

Ian Budd, Convenor, Friends of the Far North Line said:

“The Far North Line Review team was set up in response to issues raised by FoFNL's 2016 Consultant's Report and proved to be an extremely effective vehicle for identifying and tackling the many problems being experienced on the line.

“The workings of the group were exemplary and it was a pleasure to be involved.

“FoFNL is delighted that the Review Team's task is now complete and that work on implementing its recommendations is about to proceed.”

Network Rail is now developing a Strategic Business Case for improvements to services on the Far North Line. Once this concludes, Transport Scotland will assess the deliverability and affordability of the detailed options for potential implementation during future rail funding periods.

More details can be found on the Transport Scotland website


Contact Information

Sarah O'Loughlin
Strategic Communications Manager (Rail)
Transport Scotland
07920 477564

Notes to editors

  • Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, established the Far North Line Review Team in December 2016 with a remit to identify potential opportunities to improve connectivity, operational performance and journey time on the line.
  • The Review Team comprised senior representatives from the railway industry (Transport Scotland, Network Rail, ScotRail) as well as relevant stakeholders (HITRANS, Highland Council, HIE, Caithness Transport Forum and Friends of the Far North Line).
  • In March 2018 Transport Scotland published the Rail Enhancements & Capital Investment Strategy, which set out the Scottish Ministers’ commitment to investment in the rail network. The Strategy introduced a pipeline-based approach to rail project development and delivery.
  • A dedicated Transport Scotland project sponsor has been appointed to progress project development with Network Rail and ScotRail.