Disruption-Far North Line (02/11)

Polarbear

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Flooding this afternoon in the Rogart area has suspended rail services on the far north line. I’m currently in Thurso awaiting a rail replacement of some description.

One customer is travelling to Altnabreac. That’ll be fun for a rail replacement of any kind...
 
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Polarbear

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I’m going to Inverness. Currently somewhere south of Golspie in a 16 seat Ford minibus. Lots of standing water & some more serious flooding on the roads too.
 

paul1609

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Flooding this afternoon in the Rogart area has suspended rail services on the far north line. I’m currently in Thurso awaiting a rail replacement of some description.

One customer is travelling to Altnabreac. That’ll be fun for a rail replacement of any kind...
Ive not been to Altnabreac station itself but Ive walked along the track that leads to it by Dalnawilian Lodge, most cars wouldn't really have a problem on the section I walked along.
 

Polarbear

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Ive not been to Altnabreac station itself but Ive walked along the track that leads to it by Dalnawilian Lodge, most cars wouldn't really have a problem on the section I walked along.
The taxi driver who arrived to take the customer to Altnabreac didn’t seem phased to be fair. I know it’s a very isolated spot but I’ve never gone that close by road.
 

47271

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The road's private for the eight or so miles from Loch More but perfectly decently made. Altnabreac isn't as cut off as you might think.

Corrour is the one that you really can't reach sensibly by road. The couple of times we've driven to Rannoch, all on public roads and just for the trip, I haven't felt like I'm behaving that sensibly....
 

Polarbear

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The road's private for the eight or so miles from Loch More but perfectly decently made. Altnabreac isn't as cut off as you might think.

Corrour is the one that you really can't reach sensibly by road. The couple of times we've driven to Rannoch, all on public roads and just for the trip, I haven't felt like I'm behaving that sensibly....
Thanks. I knew there was something about the road access to Altnabreac. It’s still quite a lonely place though.

The minibus managed Thurso to Inverness in 2’20”, which is commendable, given the road conditions further north. I’ll also be contacting Scotrail to flag up the excellent service provided by the ticket clerk at Thurso, who stayed well beyond the end of her shift to make sure the bus appeared.
 

paul1609

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The road's private for the eight or so miles from Loch More but perfectly decently made. Altnabreac isn't as cut off as you might think.

Corrour is the one that you really can't reach sensibly by road. The couple of times we've driven to Rannoch, all on public roads and just for the trip, I haven't felt like I'm behaving that sensibly....
Corrour is much the same as Altnabreac actually, the distance over the estate road is much further but Ive driven a Transit Van to Corrour station with the estates permission with no difficulty. The shooting lodge at the other end of Loch Ossian routinely gets taxis in. I think the estates USP is its remoteness so driving in isn't encouraged or advertised.
 

Gathursty

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The taxi driver who arrived to take the customer to Altnabreac didn’t seem phased to be fair. I know it’s a very isolated spot but I’ve never gone that close by road.
No vehicle can drive to Altnabreac unless someone in the car has access to the various gates or someone can meet them near Westerdale for the drive in. The nearest I drove to Altnabreac was 5 miles away before the gate into the forested bit.
 

paul1609

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No vehicle can drive to Altnabreac unless someone in the car has access to the various gates or someone can meet them near Westerdale for the drive in. The nearest I drove to Altnabreac was 5 miles away before the gate into the forested bit.
I think what your describing isn't the main vehicle access to Altnabreac thats on an estate road via Dalwillian Lodge which is around 4 miles from Altnabreac Station. I walked from Dalwillian to Westerdale in July although its a private road there no gates at all on that section and none on the route to Altnabreac that i could see from Dalwillian. Its marked as a cycle route on the latest OS maps. The route from Dalwillian is part of the End to End Trail which is a published Lands End to John o Groats trail.
 

stantheman

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I have often wondered what happens to passengers waiting at Corrour if there is a late evening cancellation say of the sleeper ?
There is a hostel at Loch Ossian but a bit of a walk away . Is there still a cafe at Corrour station ?
 

Essan

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I have often wondered what happens to passengers waiting at Corrour if there is a late evening cancellation say of the sleeper ?
There is a hostel at Loch Ossian but a bit of a walk away . Is there still a cafe at Corrour station ?
Yes, although it's not open during the winter (and nor is the youth hostel). I don't know what happens if the trains aren't running!
 

Gathursty

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I'll try to be a bit clearer about my earlier remark. I've highlighted the route from Westerdale I drove. The red dot in the centre of the image is where I could drive no more as I saw two closed gates. One to the North West through a forest and one South over a lake. The South route goes through Dalnawillian Lodge then back North to Altnabreac past Lochdu Hotel IIRC. The route I walked (top one) was well maintained for vehicles but had several gates probably for deer management.

I think I was there very early on a Sunday so that could have had an impact on the gates being locked. Perhaps later in the day, they are open to all. If there is another route that I have not highlighted that has no gates to drive to Altnabreac, please put a link or image up.
 

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Journeyman

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I have often wondered what happens to passengers waiting at Corrour if there is a late evening cancellation say of the sleeper ?
There is a hostel at Loch Ossian but a bit of a walk away . Is there still a cafe at Corrour station ?
I wrote the Sleeper emergency plans. I suggested a Sleeper branded helicopter for rescue purposes, but it didn't get approved. :)

In all seriousness, there isn't much that can be done at Corrour besides try and contact people as soon as possible if disruption is likely - anyone who books via telesales or the website has to leave contact details.

I wouldn't fancy being stuck at Corrour overnight in bad weather if the cafe, hostel or rooms at the station are unavailable - the only alternative shelter is a couple of bothies about six miles away.
 

tsr

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I wouldn't fancy being stuck at Corrour overnight in bad weather if the cafe, hostel or rooms at the station are unavailable - the only alternative shelter is a couple of bothies about six miles away.
You’d be mad to go to the bothies in bad weather and the dark unless you were very well-prepared, in which case you’d probably have made backup plans anyway!

Best option is probably to get a MOM down with a road-rail vehicle and pick the people up. It’s unlikely that would be impossible, although it might take a few hours. Should be somewhere to stay in the Fort William area.
 

Journeyman

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You’d be mad to go to the bothies in bad weather and the dark unless you were very well-prepared, in which case you’d probably have made backup plans anyway!
Agreed. I've done some hiking in the area, and even in dry, sunny conditions it can be tough going. Hiking to Loch Chiarain bothy took me several hours and was very hard work. You'd risk death if you tried that in a snowstorm at night.

Best option is probably to get a MOM down with a road-rail vehicle and pick the people up. It’s unlikely that would be impossible, although it might take a few hours. Should be somewhere to stay in the Fort William area.
Agreed, either that or return to wherever you came from if possible. You'd hope in bad conditions people wouldn't be daft enough to be there unprepared anyway.

The youth hostel appears to be available for the rest of the year, though, so an emergency refuge is available there. Highly recommended, it's a great spot.
 
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paul1609

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I have often wondered what happens to passengers waiting at Corrour if there is a late evening cancellation say of the sleeper ?
There is a hostel at Loch Ossian but a bit of a walk away . Is there still a cafe at Corrour station ?
I think its likely that they'd be put up in one way or another the corrour estate people have been very nice when Ive had dealings with them https://www.corrour.co.uk
Its a common thing in rural areas, I wouldn't leave somebody stranded on Appledore Station which is isolated on Romney Marsh with no buses or prospect of a taxi.
 

paul1609

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I'll try to be a bit clearer about my earlier remark. I've highlighted the route from Westerdale I drove. The red dot in the centre of the image is where I could drive no more as I saw two closed gates. One to the North West through a forest and one South over a lake. The South route goes through Dalnawillian Lodge then back North to Altnabreac past Lochdu Hotel IIRC. The route I walked (top one) was well maintained for vehicles but had several gates probably for deer management.

I think I was there very early on a Sunday so that could have had an impact on the gates being locked. Perhaps later in the day, they are open to all. If there is another route that I have not highlighted that has no gates to drive to Altnabreac, please put a link or image up.
Not sure when you visited I walked down the south route in early July from Dalnawillian having camped just before there overnight. There is a dog kennels and a cemetery there. I can't be sure that there wasn't any gates at loch more, Its hard to remember every gate on a 1200 mile walk but if there was it was open when I passed through. The postman met me along this stretch in a ford escort van and stopped to wish me good morning and asked me where Id walked in from, it was raining. The Lochdu Hotel closed in 1975 by the way its now a private house. I believe there was a post bus service along this track that went to Altnabreac until early 21 st century.
 

Altnabreac

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Yes, although it's not open during the winter (and nor is the youth hostel). I don't know what happens if the trains aren't running!
Loch Ossian Youth Hostel has been open Wed- Sun in winter for the last few years (before that it was available for group bookings). Last few times I've been up in Winter its been pretty busy on Friday and Saturday nights.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think its likely that they'd be put up in one way or another the corrour estate people have been very nice when Ive had dealings with them https://www.corrour.co.uk
Its a common thing in rural areas, I wouldn't leave somebody stranded on Appledore Station which is isolated on Romney Marsh with no buses or prospect of a taxi.
Cheddington probably vaguely similar. I'd imagine it's a favourite for chucking people off where necessary.
 

tsr

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Cheddington probably vaguely similar. I'd imagine it's a favourite for chucking people off where necessary.
Cheddington is obviously nowhere near Corrour in terms of remoteness. It even has staff (admittedly just a security guard most of the time).

Probably about the same as Appledore in terms of inconvenience if you have no onward arrangements, but it's easy enough to get a replacement bus or taxi to either if needed - it's been arranged countless times. There are plenty of stations which fall into this category; many smaller stations on mainlines just outside London fall into this category. You wouldn't really want to be asked to leave at Denham Golf Club, Hatfield Peverel, Harlington or Salfords...
 

paul1609

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I think Appledore still has a sign saving that in the event of disruption to the train service they will attempt to make alternative arrangements but it may take several hours and if you can make you own arrangements that may be better. I live about 5 miles from Appledore and the chances of a private individual getting a taxi there that hasn't been paid for in advance is next to nothing. The station has 2 buses per day mon to friday and 1 on saturday.
Today the signalling failed at Eastbourne and Southern struggled even to get a replacement bus service from hastings or even ticket acceptance on the service bus. Marshlink fortunately had the Rye Shuttle unit going between Rye and Ashford but if you wanted to get from Rye to hastings you were expected to go via Tonbridge! Its a shambles and the sooner GTR goes the better.
 

Bletchleyite

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Cheddington is obviously nowhere near Corrour in terms of remoteness. It even has staff (admittedly just a security guard most of the time).
Indeed, I was comparing it to Appledore. I forgot about the security guard, who is there as a suicide prevention measure and will probably just look at you funny if you ask for a taxi having been chucked off the train from Euston due to not paying.

Probably wouldn't be too hard to get a taxi there if needed, though, I'm sure one of the MK operators would do it at a price (as long as you agreed to have the meter running on the way there and back I suspect). You might get one to Appledore on the same basis from the nearest sensibly sized town - I have in rural Sussex between accommodation and a wedding.
 

glenbogle

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Re Corrour - if sleeper is cancelled for any reason there is still a Scotrail Service to Fort William/Mallaig at 21:20 so you wouldn’t be stranded.
 

InOban

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I seem to recall that there was an occasion when stranded passengers were extracted by 4WD. There may not be a public road but ....
 

dcsprior

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In all seriousness, there isn't much that can be done at Corrour besides try and contact people as soon as possible if disruption is likely - anyone who books via telesales or the website has to leave contact details.
Out of interest, is there some kind of long-line PA setup there, so that announcements can be made by someone in a control room somewhere?
 

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