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Monday, December 11, 2006

Extra train allows Orkney-London travel in a day

Rail passengers travelling from the far north of Scotland into Inverness will have more opportunities to do so from today (Monday 11 December) as a result of the introduction of a fourth daily winter train from Wick.

The new service, which launches as part of train operator First ScotRail's winter timetable, will provide a connection at Thurso for customers travelling on the morning ferry from Orkney. This is the first time that a fourth daily train on the route has operated all year round.

Natalie Loughborough, First ScotRail's customer service director will be at Inverness railway station to welcome passengers travelling on the first service, and will meet local MSP Jamie Stone, Orkney Cllr Bob Sclater and Frank Roach, Rail development manager of the Highland Rail Partnership.

First ScotRail says the journey time of three and a half hours from Thurso to Inverness on the additional train is a new record, and with the ferry connection means it will now be possible to travel on public transport from Orkney to London in a day.

Since launching in December 2005, the Invernet rail service upgrade, which covers part of the Inverness to Wick route, has led to an increase in the number of people travelling in and out of the Highland capital from the south and north. Service monitoring indicates a 29% growth in passenger numbers journeys on the Far North Line compared to the same period the year before.

Natalie Loughborough said: "The provision of an additional service from Caithness is certain to be well received, increasing the travel opportunities for customers living in the far north of Scotland. Through continued working relationships with industry partners, we hope to encourage further rail travel in this area."


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