Rail Network and Services
The HITRANS area has 69 railway stations, representing 20% of all of those in Scotland. Inverness acts a rail hub for the north mainland of the HITRANS area. It has routes south to Edinburgh and Glasgow; east to Aberdeen; north to Thurso & Wick and west to Kyle of Lochalsh. Services to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig are provided from Glasgow.
Recent years have seen the growth of services. Services now operate from Inverness to/from a range of stations to the north, including Dingwall, Tain and Lairg. These services have catered for growing numbers of commuters into Inverness, as well as providing off peak travel opportunities. In addition, Thurso/Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh services have seen their frequency improved to 4 trains per day, Monday-Saturday, all year round.
In addition to this, there has also been the development of new freight flows, such as retail goods which are distributed onwards to stores within and beyond Inverness. These are in addition to well established flows.
The main role of our area's rail services are to:
- Provide an alternative to the car.
- Bring tourists to the area, including on the world renowned West Highland and Kyle lines.
- Over longer distances, offer an alternative to flying.
- Increasingly, offer commuting opportunities.
- Connect with other modes.
- Offer some freight traffic a more sustainable form of transport.
The key issues facing rail services include:
- Increasing populations and demand for rail services, including by tourists.
- Low service frequency.
- Poor passenger facilities.