Train GraphicClick on the map to explore geographics
I need help
About .
Travel & transport from BBC stories as at 22:35 26 Jan 2023
- Asteroid 2023 BU: Space rock to pass closer than some satellites
- Transpennine Express boss apologises for poor services
- 737 Max crashes: Boeing says not guilty to fraud charge
Read about the forum [here].
Register [here] - it's free.
What do I gain from registering? [here]
 31/01/23 - Roger Newman - Memorial, TRO
01/03/23 - WWRUG AGM
30/03/23 - Railfuture Annual, Leeds
31/05/23 - WWRUG meeting

On this day
26th Jan (2007) domain registered (link)

Train RunningNo cancellations or delays
Abbreviation pageAcronymns and abbreviations
Stn ComparatorStation Comparator
Rail newsNews Now - live rail news feed
Site Style 1 2 3 4
Next departures • Bristol Temple MeadsBath SpaChippenhamSwindonDidcot ParkwayReadingLondon PaddingtonMelksham
Exeter St DavidsTauntonWestburyTrowbridgeBristol ParkwayCardiff CentralOxfordCheltenham SpaBirmingham New Street
January 26, 2023, 10:39:42 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Forgotten your username or password? - get a reminder
Most recently liked subjects
[172] Taking your dog on the train and bus
[89] Transport Select Committee - session with Mark Hopwood in Parl...
[67] Have you ever taken an international trip from your local stat...
[41] South Eastern Railway timetable changes involving the Lewisham...
[40] Bus / Rail integration meeting in Somerset
[39] 2023 Delays and Cancellations
News: the Great Western Coffee Shop ... keeping you up to date with travel around the South West
   Home   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: [1]
Author Topic: Scotrail route by route key metric assessment  (Read 557 times)
Mark A
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 566

View Profile
« on: February 07, 2022, 06:40:34 pm »

Not the sort of thing you see every day. Or perhaps you do...

(Plucked from a twitter thread: )
Richard Fairhurst
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 1100

View Profile Email
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2022, 07:54:41 pm »

Genuinely fascinating. I wasn't expecting such a difference in subsidy per journey between the West Highland Line and the Far North Line.

One would hope that the quasi-nationalisation under GBR (Great British Railways) would result in these figures being available for the rest of the network. I'm not holding my breath though!
Transport Scholar
Hero Member
Posts: 1347

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2022, 10:28:47 pm »

Genuinely fascinating. I wasn't expecting such a difference in subsidy per journey between the West Highland Line and the Far North Line

There's only one thing to do to reduce that subsidy- write a wildly successful children's fiction series set in the Flow Country (or set a film based on it there).
Mark A
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 566

View Profile
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2022, 11:27:38 am »

Genuinely fascinating. I wasn't expecting such a difference in subsidy per journey between the West Highland Line and the Far North Line.

It might be that the far north line is a lot more remote from centres of population and also, end-to-end journeys are wildly uncompetitive in terms of time.

Long distance journeys are likely to need an overnight break  Connections to Orkney aren't really set up to be useable as there's a void between Thurso station and the ferry terminal at Scrabster. The morning ferry arrival hits Scrabster at a time when a lot of the town's transport is tied up in the start of the school day. For people who've not made advance preparations, the ferry company has a list of various Thurso taxi phone numbers which looks encouraging - but the first one you ring, after confirming they've nothing available, is likely to warn you against ringing the other numbers as the calls all come in to the same office.

Anyone heading to Inverness will step on to the X99 coach that meets the boat at the ferry terminal and takes people both to Inverness city centre and the city's hospital.

Then, there's the rail fares - if you're heading to/from Scotland, without knowing split ticketing, long distance travel now often involves anytime fares. The southern end of the far north line has a train that connects into LNERs» (London North Eastern Railway - about) Highland Chieftan with advance fares often available from stations south of a place called Ardgay that's at the outer edge of the Inverness rail commuting distance, anything else long distance off the far north line, to the uninitiated or those buying tickets from machines, involves anytime fares only.

In contrast, the West Highland line's daytime long distance fares are off-peak for some reason possibly to do with ferries to the islands.

Dragging this towards the west country for a moment, Crosscountry's 08:20 departure from Aberdeen to Bristol is timetabled to key in to the overnight ferry from Orkney/Shetland. Advance fares are subject to availability otherwise it's an anytime £260 per person for a day in a 4 car Voyager.

In that Scotrail document, the notes are illuminating.

To boost tourist use of the system, perhaps there's mileage in promoting tie-ins between accommodation and rover tickets. All starting to sound a bit 'Railway hotel' though, but over to you, Premier Inn Thurso. :-)

Off topic: the distance from Glasgow Queen Street to Glasgow Central Station is much the same as the distance between Glasgow Central's platform ends and the front of the station.
Hero Member
Posts: 37789

View Profile WWW Email
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2022, 04:56:59 pm »

The Far North line was not far off a four hour run in 1965 ... and remains not much off a four hor run today.  Driving from Inverness to Thurso would have taken almost 4 hours in 1965 .. today, Google tells me it's 2 hours and 24 minutes.

Old road route (before Kessock Bridge, Dornoch Causeway, etc)
at current road timings.  Call it 4 hours on old roads themselves.
Inverness to Beauly   12.6   27
Beauly to Tain      31.6   42
Tain to Lairg      25.4   36
Lairg to Helmsdale   35.3   49
Helmsdale to Wick   35.0   47
Wick to Thurso      20.4   27
         -----   ---
Total         160.3   228

Current road route:
Inverness to Thurso   110.4   144
(4 cutoffs from the 1965 route)

1965 fastest train time:
Inverness to Thurso   -   250

Current fastest train time:
Inverness to Thurso   -   230

So - the roads have been improved, the rails haven't, and they are now uncompetitive.

Comparison - Glasgow to Mallaig. One huge road improvement - Loch Leven ferry replaces by bridge - but nothing like the scale of the Far North.  It's still faster, though, to drive.

From Inverness the bigger places aren't all that far ... Dingwall, and Invergordon.  You then get to some intermediate sized places as far as Helmsdale, then you wander through Flow country and reach that dreaded decision at Georgemas - Wick or Thurso?  Hardly great for route-long loading

Comparison - Mostly long journeys on the West Highland - all the way from Glasgow to Fort William and a non-insignificant Mallaig at the end beyond the end.  Even local journeys between Fort William and Mallaig.

Coffee Shop Admin, Acting Chair of Melksham Rail User Group, Option 24/7 Melksham Rep
Do you have something you would like to add to this thread, or would you like to raise a new question at the Coffee Shop? Please [register] (it is free) if you have not done so before, or login (at the top of this page) if you already have an account - we would love to read what you have to say!

You can find out more about how this forum works [here] - that will link you to a copy of the forum agreement that you can read before you join, and tell you very much more about how we operate. We are an independent forum, provided and run by customers of Great Western Railway, for customers of Great Western Railway and we welcome railway professionals as members too, in either a personal or official capacity. Views expressed in posts are not necessarily the views of the operators of the forum.

As well as posting messages onto existing threads, and starting new subjects, members can communicate with each other through personal messages if they wish. And once members have made a certain number of posts, they will automatically be admitted to the "frequent posters club", where subjects not-for-public-domain are discussed; anything from the occasional rant to meetups we may be having ...

Pages: [1]
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
This forum is provided by a customer of Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western), and the views expressed are those of the individual posters concerned. Visit for the official Great Western Railway website. Please contact the administrators of this site if you feel that the content provided by one of our posters contravenes our posting rules (email link). Forum hosted by Well House Consultants

Jump to top of pageJump to Forum Home Page