Rail improvements in the Highlands

A total of £57 million is being invested in improving the Highland Mainline, which will allow more and faster journeys between Inverness and the Central Belt.

We are bringing some major changes to the Highland Mainline. The entire timetable for this vital route is being completely redrawn and will see average journey times reduced and an extra eight journeys between Inverness and the Central Belt each day.

Extensive consultation has been undertaken with community groups in order to understand the needs of communities and businesses along the 118 mile route between Perth and Inverness.

This has resulted in a balanced timetable which provides every intermediate station with a minimum of six trains per day in each direction.

While most stations on the route benefit from more calls per day, the new timetable spreads calls at all stations to enable effective journeys to be made to the nearest city and well as to and from the Central Belt. This will make rail a viable public transport mode for all communities.

Recognising that there are more passenger journeys each year between Inverness and Edinburgh and Glasgow than use all the intermediate stations combined, the timetable provides some very limited stop services which provide fast times for those travelling end to end.

Even although there are more ScotRail services operating on the route, average journey times on both north and southbound service will become faster.

We would like to thank the individuals and communities groups who have fed into the development process and who given their support to the timetable that we plan to deliver.

Draft Highland Mainline timetable

Please note that these timetables are only drafts and may be subject to change. They don’t show connecting services. We’re working to improve timetables across the country, and we’ll do all we can to make connections as simple as possible.

How will reliability increase?

  • Upgraded signalling has been installed at Aviemore and Pitlochry stations. This means that trains arriving will no longer have to stop and wait for trains going in the opposite direction.
  • Network Rail's website has more information on the upgrades that have been delivered on the Highland Mainline.

How will the new timetable be better?

  • When we introduce the timetable, there will be an hourly service in each direction between Inverness, Aviemore, Pitlochry to Perth and Edinburgh or Glasgow, with faster end to end journey times.
  • All stations on the route will benefit from this enhanced timetable, which will see 40 per cent more services between the Highlands and the Central Belt.

What about the trains?

  • We are introducing our iconic Inter7City trains on the Highland Mainline. These will eventually operate all services between Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow. These trains will provide over 2,500 extra seats each day – that’s a 50 per cent increase compared to the start of the franchise in 2015.
  • Not only that, they will be more comfortable, have luggage space, and will offer an enhanced food and drink service.

When will the timetable be introduced?

  • To introduce the new timetable, we need all our Inter7City trains in service. Unfortunately, our suppliers have let us down with the delivery of these trains. We're working with them to deliver our refurbished Inter7City fleet as soon as possible, and during 2020, we expect to be in a position where we can confirm our plan for the introduction of the new timetable.
  • In the mean time, the route will benefit from the infrastructure investment that has been made, and as our Inter7City trains are delivered, they will be used on services on the Highland Mainline.

How can you get involved?

  • We’ve been consulting with customers and community groups along the route to get feedback on their draft timetable plans. We welcome feedback on the timetable to [email protected].
  • If you have any questions about the upgrade work, you can contact @NetworkRailHML on Twitter.