The Far North Line has seen further delivery of the ongoing request-stop kiosk programme, which went live today at five different locations. This comes as part of a broader £5m package of investment for the line’s radio signalling systems.
These new kiosks are situated at Kinbrace, Kildonan, Rogart, Invershin and Culrain, following the successful trial installation at Scotscalder earlier in the year. The Scotscader pilot scheme was monitored intensively to ensure safety and reliability as it successfully provided platform information, highlighting changes for the passengers. Prior to the systems roll-out in other locations, a period of dual running was used to test the enhanced system.
Given the geographical locations of these stations, the overall patronage comes in as some of the lowest in the UK, resulting in them operating through a ‘request a stop’ system, leading to the signalling approach being done by hand.
Through the use of these new kiosks, passengers will now be able to request an approaching train to stop at the station with just the push of a button using a radio system to send a message to the driver’s cab, dragging these areas into the 21st century.
David Simpson, ScotRail Service Delivery Director, said:
“I’m delighted to see more request-stop kiosks being introduced on Scotland’s Railway.
“By enabling the driver to be alerted in advance of the need to stop in the station, rather than being reliant on hand-signalling, it delivers a safer and more reliable system, and means that trains don’t need to slow down at stations where there are no passengers waiting.
“The new request-stop kiosks will help improve our customers’ experience as well as our train performance. It’s a really positive step for the operation of the Far North Line.”
Along with kiosk installations, Network Rail has successfully upgraded existing radio communication masts and antennas, whilst installing new equipment at Muir of Ord, Invergordon, Kildonan and Wick stations to enhance radio coverage.
This scheme has delivered improved reliability and resilience of communications across the route, improving the passenger experience tenfold. Completion of this programme will see further kiosks installed at Altnabreac and Dunrobin Castle in early 2023, bringing the overall total to eight.
Cara Healy, Network Rail’s development manager for the work on the Far North Line, said:
“Enhancing the radio network will make the experience of using request-stop stations more straight forward for local people and for the increasing number of tourists visiting the area.
“Following the successful trial-period at Scotscalder, the system is now ready to be rolled out at a further five locations to improve performance and the overall passenger experience for those travelling on the railway.
“This new system makes it easier to use some of the most remote stations on our network and hopefully help encourage more people to travel into the Highlands to walk, climb, cycle and sightsee.”
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