Warwick, U.K., February 28th 2022 – Passengers at remote rail stations on the Far North Line in Scotland will soon wave goodbye to years of hand-signalling train drivers if they wish to board the train.
A new ‘request to stop’ system is being deployed by critical infrastructure firm Telent at Altnabreac, Culrain, Dunrobin Castle, Invershin, Kinbrace, Kildonan, Rogart, and Scotscalder stations. Trains on the line currently operate on a request to stop basis – meaning passengers must hand signal approaching trains to stop.
Telent is currently installing the new technology – part of a contract for a £5m Network Rail improvement package – using the existing RETB radio signalling system. With the new system, the driver will be notified on approaching the station if there are passengers waiting to board. Trains will be able to maintain line speed if no passengers are alighting or boarding the train, whereas currently they need to slow down every time they pass a station.
Ken Kyle, Business Development Manager at Telent, said “We are delighted to be working with Network Rail Scotland to deliver an improved passenger experience on the Far North Line. Many people depend on transport links like the Far North Line on a daily basis, so we’re really proud to be part of making needed upgrades to make people’s lives easier and help encourage positive impacts on the local economies.”
The new equipment is scheduled to go live across all eight stations on the line from late Summer 2022. Installations are underway across the stations and Scotscalder has been selected for initial trials and functional testing of the enhanced system prior to it being rolled-out.
Partnership Manager at HITRAN the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership Frank Roach, who lives on the line, said: “Allowing trains to pass through at linespeed if there is no requirement to call at the station means an environmental gain as brakes and fuel are saved and provides a performance buffer. The request to stop kiosks will be of great benefit to local residents and visitors alike, additionally providing real-time running information for the first time.”
As well as the request to stop deployment, Telent has been contracted by Network Rail to enhance the radio coverage across the route through deployment of additional network infrastructure at Muir of Ord, Kildonan, Wick and Invergordon.
This will improve the reliability and resilience of the communications network across the route which will improve the overall passenger experience for those travelling on the line.