Rail sleeper plan between Caithness and Edinburgh
Could a rail sleeper service be introduced between Caithness and Edinburgh?
Highland and Islands Strategic Transport Partnership (HITRANS) has discussed with Caledonian Sleeper the possibility of establishing the seven hour service which it claims could boost the economy of the far north and Orkney.
HITRANS chairman James Stockan, who is running as an independent list candidate for the Highlands and Islands in next month's Scottish election, believes the idea is feasible.
He has held talks with representatives from Caledonian Sleeper and says HITRANS are actively pursuing ways of how the service could become a reality.
He said: "I have spoken to Caledonian Sleeper and want to investigate the business case for a sleeper combination with freight.
"A proposed seven hour sleeper service between Caithness and Edinburgh would not require any investment into the current rail infrastructure."
"We want to justify this as a business case."
Caledonian Sleeper managing director Peter Strachan said they would be prepared to discuss the proposed route.
But he also stressed it would need the backing of the Scottish Government to become a reality.
He said: "We are always looking for new opportunities for the service and we would be happy to work with HITRANS to look at the feasibility of a possible new sleeper route between Wick/Thurso and Edinburgh.
"However the current franchise is only for the routes we operate today and we cannot see this changing without Transport Scotland's support."