• Our booking engine at tickets.railforums.co.uk (powered by TrainSplit) helps support the running of the forum with every ticket purchase! Find out more and ask any questions/give us feedback in this thread!

Has there ever been a direct rail service from Far North to Edinburgh (or Glasgow)?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,574
Location
Hong Kong
Had a jolly up the Far North Line today and I must say, what a long and scenic trip it was, but what surprised me the most was the amount of passengers who connect up from the capital and Glasgow. Just wondering if there has ever been a direct service from Wick to Edinburgh as the North economy would benefit dearly from it, and there seems like a lot of demand too. A friend of mine who is a guard for Scotrail has had countless times where Passengers are travelling south of Inverness on connecting services after being serenaded with train time requests.

Do you think a direct service from Wick to Edinburgh would be worth looking into for when the HSTs come? It could run as a limited stopper, calling at all principal stations (those without request stops) until Inverness, where it runs semi-fast, calling at Aviemore-Kingussie-Pitlochry-Perth-Haymarket (via Stirling). It would run once a day - leaving Wick (or Thurso) at around 7ish, and Edinburgh in the afternoon for the Northbound service, similar arrangement to what the Highland Cheiftain does to and from London. The only issue however I can see would be where to stable/maintain the HST. Also, the turn around at Georgmas Junction wouldn't help things journey time wise. Fitting of RETB would be required as well as stopping points for stations with a short platform. What normally happens to trains up there anyway (well, the 158s) - I take it they are probably stabled overnight and are maintained at Inverness the following day? Also, wasn't there talk of a Sleeper service connecting the Capital from the Far North too?

Article about the Sleeper service: http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk...-between-Caithness-and-Edinburgh-17042016.htm
 
Last edited:
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Altnabreac

Established Member
Joined
20 Apr 2013
Messages
2,414
Location
Salt & Vinegar
Had a jolly up the Far North Line today and I must say, what a long and scenic trip it was, but what surprised me the most was the amount of passengers who connect up from the capital and Glasgow. Just wondering if there has ever been a direct service from Wick to Edinburgh as the North economy would benefit dearly from it, and there seems like a lot of demand too. A friend of mine who is a guard for Scotrail has had countless times where Passengers are travelling south of Inverness on connecting services after being serenaded with train time requests.

Do you think a direct service from Wick to Edinburgh would be worth looking into for when the HSTs come? It could run as a limited stopper, calling at all principal stations (those without request stops) until Inverness, where it runs semi-fast, calling at Aviemore-Kingussie-Pitlochry-Perth-Haymarket (via Stirling). It would run once a day - leaving Wick (or Thurso) at around 7ish, and Edinburgh in the afternoon for the Northbound service, similar arrangement to what the Highland Cheiftain does to and from London. The only issue however I can see would be where to stable/maintain the HST. Also, the turn around at Georgmas Junction wouldn't help things journey time wise. Fitting of RETB would be required as well as stopping points for stations with a short platform. What normally happens to trains up there anyway (well, the 158s) - I take it they are probably stabled overnight and are maintained at Inverness the following day? Also, wasn't there talk of a Sleeper service connecting the Capital from the Far North too?

Article about the Sleeper service: http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk...-between-Caithness-and-Edinburgh-17042016.htm

I would say it's fairly unlikely. I'm sure around 10-15 years or so ago there was a regular Aberdeen - Wick train although I suspect it was more for operational convenience than expectation of many through journeys.

Reasons it won't happen:
Unbalanced demand north and south of Inverness.
Different stock used north and south of Inverness.
RETB.
Performance pollution of 2 services with long single track sections each making the other worse.
Long journey time makes break at Inverness quite desirable.

Really the most useful things for people on this route will be speeding up HML journeys, making the HML service hourly, improving the reliability of Far North (dynamic loop at Lentran, reinstate Kinbrace Loop) and reducing journey times on Far North (Georgemas Curve, track replacement, level crossing removal, limited station closures (Scotscalder, Kildonan, Culrain).

Once all those things were done it might make a through service more viable but perhaps less necessary.
 

ainsworth74

Forum Staff
Staff Member
Global Moderator
Joined
16 Nov 2009
Messages
27,794
Location
Redcar
Not sure about Edinburgh but during World Wars One and Two, when Scapa Flow (in Orkney) was a major Royal Navy base, there was a direct London to Thurso service!
 

47271

Established Member
Joined
28 Apr 2015
Messages
2,983
If it helps, there's an extensive discussion of the Far North Edinburgh sleeper idea around #1300 in the Caledonian Sleeper thread.

The sleeper struck most of us as very unlikely. A daytime service seems slightly more plausible, but some of the arguments against are covered above.

My only additional comment - expanding the performance pollution point - as a regular HML user is that Inverness conductors do a lot of work holding connections and arranging alternative transport for passengers when late running occurs in either direction. Late running all the way from Edinburgh to Caithness could become something very late indeed and disproportionately inconvenience local users both through the delay to the service itself, and disruption of crossover times over hundreds of miles distance from Perth to Wick.
 

Class 170101

Established Member
Joined
1 Mar 2014
Messages
7,962
Only one platform at Inverness I belive is accessible to both Aberdeen / HML lines and to those of the Far North.

The few trains that do this shunt via Rose Street.

The performance impact of linking across these routes on a regular basis is high and not recommended duw to the large amounts of single lines.
 

Altnabreac

Established Member
Joined
20 Apr 2013
Messages
2,414
Location
Salt & Vinegar
Is this a serious proposal? Doesn't seem a lot of point, just make them request stops if they aren't already.

Closure of Scotscalder and Georgemas with a new station at Halkirk replacing both and a new curve for Thurso has been proposed fairly seriously in the past.

Beyond those 2 nothing apart from the abortive Transport Scotland Rail 2020 consultation a few years back that wound up Glasgow politicians and was entirely counterproductive.

I'd like to see stations with no traffic, no tourist potential and no passing loop infrastructure removed.

Breich, Springfield, Barry Links, Golf Street, Beasdale, Culrain, Kildonan, Scotscalder, Lochluichart, Duirinish contribute nothing to the network and slow services down.

Get rid of them says I!
 

route101

Established Member
Joined
16 May 2010
Messages
10,652
Didn't there used to be one from Kyle to Edinburgh or Glasgow?
 

Railsigns

Established Member
Joined
15 Feb 2010
Messages
2,514
Only one platform at Inverness I believe is accessible to both Aberdeen / HML lines and to those of the Far North.

Actually, there is none (the connecting line from Platform 5 towards Aberdeen/HML is ground frame operated and not available to passenger trains) although a new platform on the Rose Street Curve has been proposed.
 

Bletchleyite

Veteran Member
Joined
20 Oct 2014
Messages
98,316
Location
"Marston Vale mafia"
Closure of Scotscalder and Georgemas with a new station at Halkirk replacing both and a new curve for Thurso has been proposed fairly seriously in the past.

I do think a station at Halkirk would make sense.

Breich, Springfield, Barry Links, Golf Street, Beasdale, Culrain, Kildonan, Scotscalder, Lochluichart, Duirinish contribute nothing to the network and slow services down.

Get rid of them says I!

What about your namesake? Not exactly busy, is it? :)
 

philjo

Established Member
Joined
9 Jun 2009
Messages
2,892
Didn't there used to be one from Kyle to Edinburgh or Glasgow?
yes - we had a holiday staying near Kyle about 15 years ago. My brother was leaving a day early and he caught the train from Kyle which took him through to Edinburgh. I think it was the late morning departure as he had an onward ECML connection at Edinburgh (but could be wrong on the time).
 

Iskra

Established Member
Joined
11 Jun 2014
Messages
8,019
Location
West Riding
If there is going to be a 'slightly less slow' service from Wick/Thurso-Central Belt, I think 2 things should happen:

1) It should only be implemented after the aforementioned improvements to the HML and FNL.
2) It should start as a summer-only service to test demand.
 

Ianno87

Veteran Member
Joined
3 May 2015
Messages
15,215
Actually, there is none (the connecting line from Platform 5 towards Aberdeen/HML is ground frame operated and not available to passenger trains) although a new platform on the Rose Street Curve has been proposed.

And I think only 2 cars or so will fit between the ground frame and buffer stops anyway?
 

brompton rail

Member
Joined
28 Oct 2009
Messages
754
Location
Doncaster
Even in the (BR) days when the sleeper ran nightly from Edinburgh (& Glasgow) it terminated in Inverness. A connection was made with the first Kyle train, although the first Far North train departed a little later. The overnight sleeper (& seated accommodation) train also connected with the CityLink coach to Ullapool for the Stornoway ferry. The Kyle train had a bus connection ( passengers used the Kyle - Kyleakin ferry to reach the bus at Kyleakin) to Portree (Skye) and bus to Uig for the boat to Tarbert (Harris) or North Uist. In earlier times the train would have connected at Kyle with Mail boat to Stornoway.

It is more difficult today to make a land / sea journey to the Western Isles than it was last century as the ferry routes now have been shortened to suit cars and lorries. No longer sleeper central Scotland to Highlands or cabins on overnight ferries. "You can't stop progress"!
 
Last edited:

D6975

Established Member
Joined
26 Nov 2009
Messages
2,871
Location
Bristol
Even in the (BR) days when the sleeper ran nightly from Edinburgh (& Glasgow) it terminated in Inverness. A connection was made with the first Kyle train, although the first Far North train departed a little later.
T'other way around, the far north was first, the Kyle followed 30 mins later. It was a standard bashing move, first far north to Dingwall, first Kyle to Achnasheen, back to Dingwall on the inbound Kyle and back to Inverness in the inbound far north. Four locos before 10:00.

In some winter timetables the Kyle used to start at Dingwall, pax changing off the far north service.
 

anti-pacer

Established Member
Joined
5 Jun 2013
Messages
2,312
Location
Narnia
Even in the (BR) days when the sleeper ran nightly from Edinburgh (& Glasgow) it terminated in Inverness. A connection was made with the first Kyle train, although the first Far North train departed a little later. The overnight sleeper (& seated accommodation) train also connected with the CityLink coach to Ullapool for the Stornoway ferry. The Kyle train had a bus connection ( passengers used the Kyle - Kyleakin ferry to reach the bus at Kyleakin) to Portree (Skye) and bus to Uig for the boat to Tarbert (Harris) or North Uist. In earlier times the train would have connected at Kyle with Mail boat to Stornoway.

It is more difficult today to make a land / sea journey to the Western Isles than it was last century as the ferry routes now have been shortened to suit cars and lorries. No longer sleeper central Scotland to Highlands or cabins on overnight ferries. "You can't stop progress"!

They had a sleeper from Glasgow/Edinburgh to Inverness??? How long did that take?
 

D1009

Established Member
Joined
22 Feb 2012
Messages
3,166
Location
Stoke Gifford
And I think only 2 cars or so will fit between the ground frame and buffer stops anyway?
If my memory hasn't failed me, I recall it wasn't particularly unusual for trains from the south to run past Inverness on the avoiding line and propel into the station.
 

Agent_c

Member
Joined
22 Jan 2015
Messages
934
Is this a serious proposal? Doesn't seem a lot of point, just make them request stops if they aren't already.

I could see closing either Culrain or Invershin. Before Carbisdale Castle closed I was suprised by just how close these stations are.

I think they are both request stops now though.

Back on topic, I think one of the HST sets will be too big to be justifiable on the far north line. 2-3 cars is about right.
 

cf111

Established Member
Joined
13 Nov 2012
Messages
1,348
Such a service did exist under National Express, it ran from Edinburgh to Wick and formed the last service north on weekdays. This would have been shortly after the 158s took over the operation.

The train normally came in to platform 4 at Inverness, then reversed at Welsh's Bridge to access the Far North Line. The toilets were always a disgrace from Inverness north.
 

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,574
Location
Hong Kong
Back on topic, I think one of the HST sets will be too big to be justifiable on the far north line. 2-3 cars is about right.

Presuming you mean passengers wise (platforms are really small up there though) The same could be said with the Highland Chieftain though. It only ever starts to become full at around Perth/Stirling heading Southbound. A HST, even just a 4 car one, up the Far North would encourage more to take to the rails and provide an extra service. Similar to the Chieftain, the service would be more likely to start to fill up at larger stations as it progresses:

The Chieftains case, the major stations for passengers would be Inverness, Perth, Stirling, Haymarket, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Darlington, York.

A direct HST up the Far North, the major stations for passengers would be Wick, Thurso, Tain, Alness, Invergordon, Dingwall, Connon Bridge?, Muir of Ord, Beauly?, Inverness, Aviemore, Kingussie, Pitlochry, Perth, Haymarket

Also, I don't know if it suits folk time wise, but I find a lot of passengers tend to take a HST over a 158, 170 on the Scotrail network. For example, I was heading to London from Perth yesterday, and there were 2 trains going to Edinburgh: The HST (09:57) and the Perth-Edinburgh local (10.02), both of which arrived into Edinburgh at the same time. However, when I got to the station, I noticed Platform 4 was notably busier for the HST than what Platform 5 was for the local, with a number of folk I saw board at Perth alight at Haymarket and Edinburgh.

I don't know if it's just a coincidence, but maybe having a bigger train with more space acts as an incentive to get people to travel. Also, the better complementry first class offerings are a big pull factor too. Looking for my seat I noticed a few good lots of reservations for between Inverness and Edinburgh in coach M.

Although this is just a matter of personal opinion
 

backontrack

Established Member
Joined
2 Feb 2014
Messages
6,383
Location
The UK
Closure of Scotscalder and Georgemas with a new station at Halkirk replacing both and a new curve for Thurso has been proposed fairly seriously in the past.

Beyond those 2 nothing apart from the abortive Transport Scotland Rail 2020 consultation a few years back that wound up Glasgow politicians and was entirely counterproductive.

I'd like to see stations with no traffic, no tourist potential and no passing loop infrastructure removed.

Breich, Springfield, Barry Links, Golf Street, Beasdale, Culrain, Kildonan, Scotscalder, Lochluichart, Duirinish contribute nothing to the network and slow services down.

Get rid of them says I!

I don't think Duirinish would be worth removing; of those it sees the most traffic and isn't worth the hassle of closing. Keep Duirinish. I don't see there being much point in having Achanalt, however. Culrain is dependant on the Carbisdale Castle youth hostel, which might well reopen.

Of course nobody's mentioned closing Altnabreac... <D
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
A direct HST up the Far North, the major stations for passengers would be Wick, Thurso, I'm fairly certain you'd stop at Helmsdale, Brora, Golspie, Lairg and Ardgay, and Halkirk may yet reopen, Tain, perhaps Fearn to serve the Seaboard Villages and Portmahomack (?), Invergordon, Alness, Evanton may yet reopen too, Dingwall, Conon Bridge, Muir of Ord, Beauly, Inverness, Aviemore, Kingussie, Pitlochry, Perth, Haymarket

^^^^^
 

Clansman

Established Member
Joined
4 Jan 2016
Messages
2,574
Location
Hong Kong

I'm on about the stations which would see more passengers on average than other calls, not the calls itself. For example Stirling would be the major station for passengers as opposed to Dunkeld. But just because the major station is Stirling, doesn't mean Dunkeld wouldn't be worth a call. Same case when I was stating the major stations for passengers. I would love to list all the possible calls but the number of stations on that line, I'd be as well cut my fingers off. Probably just the stations without requests and run semi-fast from Inverness to Perth and non stop from Perth to Haymarket?
 
Last edited:

backontrack

Established Member
Joined
2 Feb 2014
Messages
6,383
Location
The UK
I'm on about the stations which would see more passengers on average than other calls, not the calls itself. For example Stirling would be the major station for passengers as opposed to Dunkeld. But just because the major station is Stirling, doesn't mean Dunkeld wouldn't be worth a call. Same case when I was stating the major stations for passengers. I would love to list all the possible calls but the number of stations on that line, I'd be as well cut my fingers off. Probably just the stations without requests and run semi-fast from Inverness to Perth and non stop from Perth to Haymarket?

Ah, I see now. I agree; after Inverness, I'd call at Aviemore, Kingussie, Pitlochry, Dunkeld and Perth. Perhaps even Blair Atholl too.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top