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Wick and Thurso

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Pumbaa

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When the DMUs first started working it. (Because to do that you'd basically need a four-car service, 2×156, which is probably overkill.)

What I want to know is is there a specific reason that the trains go to Thurso first and then Wick, rather than the other way round which is probably quicker due to less changes of end?

Crew depot at Wick.
 
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Johnuk123

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Doing Wick/Thurso on Thursday, staying overnight in Inverness to catch the first train there just after 7am.

You will be on the train for not far short of 9 hours, You could be halfway round the world in that time.

I don't know if you've been to Wick but it isn't what would be called touristy.

It is functional and not very exciting, you won't be booking your next holiday in Wick I can assure you.
 

tbtc

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What I want to know is is there a specific reason that the trains go to Thurso first and then Wick, rather than the other way round which is probably quicker due to less changes of end?

Possibly because the competing Citylink service goes Inverness - Wick - Thurso - Scrabster (for the Orkney ferry), so going direct from Inverness to Thurso (first) gives the train an advantage for that market?

Just a guess - IIRC the two towns are about the same size (?)

For me, the far north line is a bit too bleak, nowhere near as nice as the Kyle line

That's true, Mallaig,Kyle and Oban are all superior scenery wise.

Agreed - it's worth doing the Far North to "tick a box", but it's not my kind of scenery - I'd prefer the WHL or other unsung Scottish routes (Stranraer etc)
 

OxtedL

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Georgemas Jn - Thurso 6 miles 50 chains
Georgemas Jn - Wick 14 miles 15 chains

Given as roughly double the number of passengers use Thurso (at least officially) this makes Thurso the obvious place to go to first from Inverness.
 

LE Greys

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It must also have been very annoying for people who lived in Thurso and wanted to go to Wick.

I've been up there a few times, and it's worth looking along the coast for Seals and the river beyond Helmsdale for Deer. Also, keep looking up for various large birds.

I must say I'd rather have a 156 with opening windows than a 158 any day.
 

headshot119

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It must also have been very annoying for people who lived in Thurso and wanted to go to Wick.

I've been up there a few times, and it's worth looking along the coast for Seals and the river beyond Helmsdale for Deer. Also, keep looking up for various large birds.

I must say I'd rather have a 156 with opening windows than a 158 any day.

158's have opening windows.
 

cjp

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I don't know if you've been to Wick but it isn't what would be called touristy.

It is functional and not very exciting, you won't be booking your next holiday in Wick I can assure you.
I drove through Wick (having hired a motor in Inverness) looking for the centre and was out the other side before I found it:D

Thurso is better and the Station was interesting with a mural - sadly I cannot find my picture to post the snaps
 

STEVIEBOY1

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It is an interesting route to travel on. I saw seals along part of the line last year. I think though that the trains should be 3 or 4 coaches long rather than 2, as sometimes several tour groups make block reservations and one train every seat was prebooked, apart from a few in the very front first class bit, I asked the conductor if it was Ok for me to sit there and he allowed it, but a longer train with at least one unreserved coach would have been good. Wick to Inverness would have been a long way to Stand.

When the trains were steam and diesel loco hauled, how many coaches did each of the sections to Wick/Thurso consist of after splitting/connecting at Georgemas.

I think sometimes in the not too distant past some services north from Inverness split at Dingwall, 1 portion going to Kyle and the other to Thurso/Wick. (I think some thing similar may happen on the Oban/Fort William-mallaig services too?)

There was also a further line running south for a few miles from Wick, I think to a seaside town called Lybster? there are also rail tracks further north, on the Road to John of Groats which I think is to do with the Oil/gas industry and may not be connected to the national rail network.
 
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sprinterguy

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When the trains were steam and diesel loco hauled, how many coaches did each of the sections to Wick/Thurso consist of after splitting/connecting at Georgemas.
During the days of 37s working the route, each of the two portions north of Georgemas Junction would have two or three carriages. Bear in mind as well though that each portion would include a brake vehicle, or even a full brake, so in a two carriage formation you might only have 1.5 or even just one carriage of passenger accomodation.

This interesting image also shows a one carriage Georgemas Junction to Thurso branch train in 1963:
http://www.railbrit.co.uk/imageenlarge/imagecomplete.php?id=21869
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
There was also a further line running south for a few miles from Wick, I think to a seaside town called Lybster?
Yep, it was quite a short lived route: It was opened in 1903 by the Wick & Lybster Light Railway, and closed in 1944.
 

radamfi

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It's a good line. Although I haven't been to Wick on that service as I used it when Wick was served by a connecting train.

However I would also recommend the coach service along the coast from Thurso to Inverness. Faster than the train and also quite scenic.
 

flymo

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I think sometimes in the not too distant past some services north from Inverness split at Dingwall, 1 portion going to Kyle and the other to Thurso/Wick.
I think from around the Dec 2008 timetable the 17:5x service north from Inverness has split at Dingwall into the two portions. Still does apparently.
 

Johnuk123

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I think from around the Dec 2008 timetable the 17:5x service north from Inverness has split at Dingwall into the two portions. Still does apparently.

Yes that's right, 17.54 from Inverness it's the only service like that per day.
 

tsr

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I think though that the trains should be 3 or 4 coaches long rather than 2, as sometimes several tour groups make block reservations and one train every seat was prebooked, apart from a few in the very front first class bit, I asked the conductor if it was Ok for me to sit there and he allowed it, but a longer train with at least one unreserved coach would have been good. Wick to Inverness would have been a long way to Stand.

I thought First Class was declassified anyway on most of these services, thus meaning any Standard Class ticket holders may use it? I may be wrong.
 

Blindtraveler

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Nowhere near enough to a Pacer :(
a few interesting points to note. The coach service now no longer goes direct to both towns with pax for wick and the Pentland ferries terminal at gills bay changing at Dunbeath, mu2h to the agrovation of the locals! :) it is also now opperated by stagecoach and runs as the X99 from Inverness to Scrabster peer (Northlink terminal) and the connection at dunbeath is also stagecoach and is an X97.


The main X99 has new Plaxton Panthers with toilets which were introduced last year. The x97 can chuck out anything from a coach to a dart. The journey time even with the change is nearly an hour faster in realitty as it does tend to run early at times. Also was on an Inverness based refurbed 158 recently and windows were open, the A/C Is useless.
Sauce for all this? My wife to be is an Orkadian!
 

Scotrail84

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Scotrail ones have been sealed because of the improved air-con (so it's not all bad on a hot day).

Not true. They can still be opened by the guard. It would be stupid to seal up windows then have you air con system fail and your left with hopper windows your unable to open on a roasting hot train. The air con system isnt that reliable either. Ive had to open those windows many times.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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Operations in steam & disesel loco hauled days at Georgemas Jct must have been quite interesting with various shunting/coupling/uncoupling movements of the locos and carriages of trains towards Thurso, Wick & Inverness.
 

glenbogle

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You will be on the train for not far short of 9 hours, You could be halfway round the world in that time.

I don't know if you've been to Wick but it isn't what would be called touristy.

It is functional and not very exciting, you won't be booking your next holiday in Wick I can assure you.

A good Wetherspoons, better than the Penzance one! Good trip, train stopped at Dunrobin and Altnabreac though Carbisdale Castle was covered in scaffolding. Lots of speed restrictions between Helmsdale and Georgemas resulted in us being 15 late at Thurso but only 5 late in Wick.

Train was fairly quiet going but busy coming back with a coach party alighting at Golspie.

Just be warned if you are planning getting the first one from Ness during the week there is no trolley service on board.
 

Johnuk123

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A good Wetherspoons, better than the Penzance one! Good trip, train stopped at Dunrobin and Altnabreac though Carbisdale Castle was covered in scaffolding. Lots of speed restrictions between Helmsdale and Georgemas resulted in us being 15 late at Thurso but only 5 late in Wick.

Train was fairly quiet going but busy coming back with a coach party alighting at Golspie.

Just be warned if you are planning getting the first one from Ness during the week there is no trolley service on board.

Sounds like a decent day out, certainly it's not what you would call a racetrack, too many bends.

I have done the trip about 3 times, I doubt I will ever do it again for some time.
 

HowMuch?

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Just back from Thurso and Wick. Here are a few points I thought were interesting.

- Thurzo, not Thursso.
- Train from Inverness has no advertised first class, but does have declassified first class seats (better because you get a curtain and a power point). Coffee is dire (take along a sachet or two to pep it up). Staff are lovely.
- The train goes to Wick, but reverses from Georgemas Jct to Thurso first (calls at Georgemas again after Thurso).
- Station at Thurso doesn't open until after second train of day has left. No access to loo.
- Thurso is nice and bustly with a few nice shops. Undeveloped waterfront with lovely views of Orkney. Real ale at "Comm Bar" at end of Princes St.
- Wick is rather quiet in comparison. Not exactly run down, but the sort of place that visitors mooch round rather embarrassedly wondering what to do. Thurso definitely better place to overnight.
- Bus day ticket covers "Caithness", lets you do Thurso-Wick-John O'Groats-Thurso. Costs 6 quid ish, don't know if PlusBus covers it.
- JO'G pleasantly tacky with great views. Small ferry from there, can do inclusive day "Mega Trip" to Orkney including coach trip to Scara Brae etc.
 

6Gman

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Is there still a cattle market alongside the station platform at Wick?
 

HowMuch?

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Is there still a cattle market alongside the station platform at Wick?


I know you'll think I'm a traitor, but I went to Wick by BUS from Thurso, so I didn't see the station.

By the way, I've just downloaded the PDF national timetable and it shows first class available between Inverness and Thurso!?! This surprised me .....

The local timetable says "no first class", the station lady couldn't sell me a first class Club55, and the guard didn't give me grief for travelling in the (I assumed, declassified) first class seats.

Any Scotrail experts who can clear this up ? Is there an official 1st class between Thurso and Inverness?
 

wintonian

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I know you'll think I'm a traitor, but I went to Wick by BUS from Thurso, so I didn't see the station.

By the way, I've just downloaded the PDF national timetable and it shows first class available between Inverness and Thurso!?! This surprised me .....

The local timetable says "no first class", the station lady couldn't sell me a first class Club55, and the guard didn't give me grief for travelling in the (I assumed, declassified) first class seats.

Any Scotrail experts who can clear this up ? Is there an official 1st class between Thurso and Inverness?

I expect there used to be first class but someone forgot to tell NRE that there no longer is.
 

mralexn

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There is no first class between inverness and wick because scot rail decided it was not worth it.

Also you are not guaranteed to get First Class North of Inverness because some of the units can be the "unrefurbished" haymarket units
 

HowMuch?

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My first impression was correct, then. Not gone completely doolally, yet!

With the national timetable showing first class, I can see a few "five pound" arguments on busy days when posh bloke on a first class ticket from London asks the guard to evict an oik to cattle class so he can rest his posh posterior on a suitable seat.

... Only to be told that the seat with the first class antimacassar isn't a first class seat and the oik has as much right to it as posh bloke does. :p
 
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There is no first class between inverness and wick because scot rail decided it was not worth it.

Also you are not guaranteed to get First Class North of Inverness because some of the units can be the "unrefurbished" haymarket units

Your thinking of the 170's all 158's had first class before their refurbishment, they even had doors seperating first class back then. First Class is a joke in Scotland anyway. Haymarket sets are only in use on Very Rare occasions north of Inverness, causes havoc in summer if they are, as it cuts the cycle provision in half.

Bringing back the guards vans for bikes would be even beter, or half a coach of a 158 set aside for small goods, newspapers and bikes. Would be useful on the first northbound INV-WCK. Newspapers were carried on the 156's to Lairg for onward delivery by post bus up until 1998
 
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