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Community explores re-opening rail stop closed in 1960

Gordon Allison
Edderton Community Council chairman Gordon Allison

A small community in Easter Ross is looking into the potential of having its first rail stop since 1960.

Edderton's station was opened in 1865 but shut more than 63 years ago to help cut 40 minutes off journey times on the line between Inverness and Wick.

The local community council has completed a survey of residents' views on the idea of re-establishing a stop, and a next step would be to produce a business case.

Council chairman Gordon Allison said: "The train line is very much a pulse connecting us all - I just want Edderton to be part of that."

Edderton has a population of a few hundred people.

It is the site of ancient standing stones, which are part of a Highland Pictish Trail, and the village's Balblair Distillery was used as a location in the 2012 Ken Loach film Angel's Share.

Trains still pass through Edderton on the Far North Line between Inverness, Wick and Thurso.

The nearest available station is about seven miles (11km) away in Tain.

The community council has suggested the building of a new short platform to facilitate a "request stop" service.

Edderton sign
Edderton is home to a few hundred people

The council's survey of about 300-400 households in Edderton and surrounding area received 100 responses, with 90% of people saying they would use the stop if available.

Popular destinations included Tain and Inverness, while some said they would use the train to travel north to Lairg, Wick and Thurso.

Mr Allison, who is also treasurer of the Far North Line Community Rail Partnership, said the proposals were in the very early stages but hoped they could be progressed.

He said: "Every day I drive over the railway and it just struck me it was a little incongruous to pass this railway which has got commuter services."

Map
Map

Mr Allison said a rail stop would help reduce car journeys, and could be important for commuters working in businesses linked to the proposed Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport.

Transport Scotland said there were processes for community transport proposals to follow, including reviews done in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance.

A spokesman said: “Although re-opening Edderton rail station does not feature in the Scottish government’s current investment programme, we are committed to on-going improvements to rail services and connectivity.

"Projects will be considered subject to the Scottish government’s investment priorities for the strategic transport network, a robust business case, affordability and other competing proposals."