Latest Rail News


NR delivers rails for Far North Line renewals for first time in Scotland by sea

Over 1,000 new rails have been delivered to Scotland for the first time by sea to Scrabster Harbour to be used to renew 6.5 miles of track on the Far North Line’s Thurso branch that stretches from Thurso Station to Georgemas Junction.

The 1,100 60-ft rails were unloaded throughout this week from the RMS Laar and is a fresh approach for Network Rail as materials are usually delivered by land using road or rail transport.

The shipment was due to be made on Sunday, however this date was pushed back due to RMS Laar leaving the Dutch port a day late on Friday. The delay is not thought to have any effect on works beginning on the Far North Line.

Delivering the materials by sea is estimated to have saved NR 110 road freight journeys and reduced carbon emission waste down by approximately 200 tonnes.

The work renewing the track using the new rails will begin this month and NR hopes it will improve reliability of services for customers on the line.

Speaking about the delivery, Alex Sharkey, NR area director for Scotland East, said: “We are committed to investing in the Far North Line and between 2014 and 2019 we will spend over £30m in the area.

“We have already delivered a renewal of the signalling systems on the route and have plans in place to renew track, raise line speeds over level crossings and improve earthworks and structures.

He added: “As an industry we are also determined to reduce the environmental impact of our activities. This is a wonderful example of how we can do that – taking traffic off the roads and substantially reducing the carbon foot-print of the project.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here


Jerry Alderson   03/03/2017 at 16:03

Quote from Railfuture Scotland's Annual Review, courtesy of Allison Cosgrove, chair: On the Far North Line, the decline in passenger numbers continues as the line’s unreliability forces people on to bus or car. Although some works have been carried out, the journey time is still too long and the cancellations too frequent to encourage new passengers. It is the only rural route in Scotland where numbers are decreasing – 9.5% at Thurso and 8% at Wick in the past year.

Neil Palmer   03/03/2017 at 18:04

The Dornoch Firth bridge is needed to reduce travel time, cutting Ardgay to Lairg off to a branch line only (sorry Rogart), or abandoning the section altogether. What a wasted opportunity when it could have been incorporated on the new road bridge years ago. As for moving the rails by road, er - maybe they could have used rail ?

Chris@Chesterfield   03/03/2017 at 21:03

Have we gone back to the 1950's? In BR days, wouldn't rail have been delivered direct to site from the rolling mill at Workington, in 1200ft lengths cutting out the need for all those on-site welds afterwards?

Big John   04/03/2017 at 12:10

Nice for the enviroment but bad for workers in this country.The bridge should have been done when the new bridge was built way back .Who makes these poor decisions. Perhaps its a money thing.

Diamod Crossing   06/03/2017 at 18:50

Why are you all moaning about a bridge when the story is about investment in the Thurso Rail Line. By the way Steel Rail products are now only available from Scunthorpe but not all kinds. Much rail now comes from France. Workington is no more. I say well done by bringing the goods into Scrabster by sea.

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >