A temporary train service has been introduced by ScotRail into a remote part of the Scottish Highlands to help local residents who may have no other access to public transport.
ScotRail had removed the 17:37 Fort William – Glasgow train service after a fall in passenger numbers by 90% due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The changes meant that passengers from Corrour or Rannoch who needed to make an essential journey could not get back on the same day.
A two coach train service will now run, calling at Corrour, Tulloch, Roy Bridge and Spean Bridge before arriving in Fort William around 10.00
This means passengers have around 90 minutes before catching the 11.40 back home. The temporary service will run on Monday and Thursday until the Caledonian Sleeper from London to Fort William begins running again.
Alister MacLennan, Station Team Manager, West Highlands said: “The last thing ScotRail wants to do is leave people stranded or vulnerable during this very difficult time for everyone.”
“Although we have a duty to run the rail network as efficiently as possible to deliver the best value for taxpayers, we also have a responsibility to our customers in some of the remotest parts of Scotland.”
“We’re confident the timetable changes we’ve had to make are helping us provide a critical service for key workers, but we are also willing to look at reinstating certain services if it becomes clear they are vital to the local community.”
Jan Robinson, who runs the Loch Ossian Youth Hostel in Corrour, said: “We spoke up and ScotRail listened.”
“This two-day-a-week train service will be a fantastic help to me and others in this very rural community on the edge of Rannoch Moor.”
“We were worried we’d miss out on trips for essential shopping and some people have important medical appointments coming up that they might have had to cancel.”
“The reinstated services are also a welcome safety net for workers on the Corrour Estate in case the private road is blocked or there are vehicle breakdowns.”
Hege Hernæs, Secretary of West Highland Community Rail Partnership, said: “A single week’s response time is impressive for a large organisation like ScotRail and demonstrates their willingness to work flexibly and in liaison with lineside communities in this time of crisis.”
“The West Highland Community Rail Partnership and Lochaber Transport Forum are very grateful to the Fort William station team, ScotRail’s Business Development team, and the train crews who responded so quickly and positively when asked to work the extra train.”
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