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Suspended far north rail services to be reinstated

By David G Scott

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FOUR services on the far north railway line are to be reinstated next week, it was announced today.

ScotRail said it will increase the number of services it operates from Monday but stressed that the "five rules for safer travel" remain in force, including the wearing of face coverings at stations and on trains.

Customers are still urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, as physical distancing can’t be guaranteed.

The 8.02am and 4pm trains from Wick to Inverness will be reinstated as will the 7am and 6.33pm trains running to Wick from Inverness.

A reduced service had been in operation since March 23 due to the "unprecedented challenge" of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said that more than 90 per cent of normal services will operate from next week.

Suspended services on the far north line will be reinstated next week.Picture: DGS
Suspended services on the far north line will be reinstated next week.Picture: DGS

All routes will have normal early morning, late night, and peak services. One hundred per cent of normal capacity will be provided during peak travel hours, although many seats will need to remain empty to maintain physical distancing.

The increase in services comes ahead of the expected reopening of schools on 11 August, which could result in an increase in the number of people travelling on ScotRail services.

The suspension of driver training during lockdown, due to physical distancing rules making it impossible for two people to sit in the driver’s cab at the same time, means it’s not yet possible for a full service to operate.

Where ScotRail must operate a reduced service, it will be at the times of the day when fewest people travel.

A video setting out the challenges faced by the company can be viewed here:

People are urged to consider alternative travel options where possible, including walking and cycling, to free up space for those who have no choice but to travel by train.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent weeks to keep staff and passengers safe, including the provision of hand sanitiser and face masks at the busiest stations in the country. Face coverings are mandatory at stations and on trains.

Platform markings and guidance at ticket vending machines are supporting station announcements and messages on customer information screens, to help customers during their journey.

Customers are reminded to buy in advance of travel via the ScotRail app, website, or station facilities to ensure waiting times are reduced and physical distancing supported.

All customers must hold a valid ticket before boarding a train.

New social distancing rule for rail travel

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