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Evanton railway station re-opening potential signalled ahead of massive Longman roundabout revamp project


By Hector MacKenzie


George Glaister, who lives in Evanton, has campaigned for the re-opening of a rail stop there. He says it's possible given the political will and everyone pulling in the same direction.
George Glaister, who lives in Evanton, has campaigned for the re-opening of a rail stop there. He says it's possible given the political will and everyone pulling in the same direction.

THE prospect of a railway station in a growing Easter Ross community being re-opened is being signalled ahead of a multimillion-pound junction improvement in the Highland capital.

An update report on a planned flyover project at the A9/A82 Longman junction going to Inverness councillors on Thursday this week includes suggestions on mitigating the likely impact on road traffic.

With the scheme likely to take years to complete, efforts to limit the impact are being flagged in advance – including the possible re-opening of a long-campaigned for stop at Evanton Railway Station.

The move has been supported by Highland Council and the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (HITRANS) but it has emerged this week that Transport Scotland has again knocked back a bid from HITRANS made for Evanton made under the Local Rail Development Fund.

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said it understood the disappointment felt by those who were unsuccessful and that while it offers them feedback, it won't comment on individual applications.

The spokesman said: "Scottish Ministers are committed to ensuring the railway meets future growth needs and are willing to consider proposals for new stations, or reopening existing ones, that arise from a positive transport appraisal which takes account of the impact on the wider rail network.

"Responsibility to demonstrate the need for new stations lies with the relevant promoter, for example local authorities, regional transport partnerships or developers. In the first instance, promoters should contact their relevant regional transport partnership, in this case HITRANS, and the local authority to progress the proposal."

Evanton-based George Glaister, who lives on Station Road and has an interest in transport issues, said: "To me, it's a no-brainer opening the station. Evanton has probably doubled in size since it was closed. All they would need there is a wee extension – I don't see why it should cost so much."

He admitted: "There needs to be a collective will for it to happen. They are spending enough doing up the station in Inverness and elsewhere."

He said there would need to be a sensible fare structure but speculated the the propsect of chaos on the roads would help entice people on to the train if the option was there, and that timing issues could be resolved.

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