New 'red eye' trains to Edinburgh and Inverness announced by ScotRail

New early-morning ScotRail trains will run from December. Picture Michael Gillen
New early-morning ScotRail trains will run from December. Picture Michael Gillen
Share this article
Have your say

New "red eye" trains to get commuters on the Inverness-Edinburgh/Glasgow line into work earlier will be launched in December, ScotRail said today.

The early-morning services will arrive up to two hours before the current earliest trains.

A new 5:08am train from Perth will arrive in Inverness just before 8am.

The first ScotRail service currently leaves at 8:10am and arrives at 10:27am.

Southbound, passengers will be able to board a new service at 5:36am from Inverness, which reaches Edinburgh at 9:25am, and Glasgow (changing at Perth) at 9:15am.

The current earliest direct train leaves Inverness at 6:50am, arriving in Edinburgh at 10:03am and Glasgow at 10:18am.

The new services will be followed hourly trains between Inverness and either Edinburgh or Glasgow from 2018, which will stop less frequently south of Perth.

An hourly service between Inverness and Elgin will also be launched then.

Business groups welcomed the new trains but said the earlier southbound train would be slower because it would make extra stops.

Fraser Grieve, regional director of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry,I said: "We have been pushing for the introduction of an earlier morning service from Inverness to the Central Belt for a number of years and it’s great to see this service finally announced.

“The ability to arrive in Edinburgh or Glasgow before 9:30am is a welcome step in improving rail services from the Highlands, but we need to look at whether an all-stops service is right for this time of the morning, given the additional journey time it adds compared to other services operating on the line.”

Inverness Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stewart Nicol said: “These are extremely welcome additions to the rail services serving the Inverness and Highland business community.

"Businesses across the Highlands now have a daily rail service which gets them into the centre of both Glasgow and Edinburgh before 9:30am.

"Just as important for the Inverness business community is the fact the first train into the city from the Central Belt now arrives well before the start of the working day for many Highland businesses."

James Stockan, who chairs the public-private Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans) co-ordinating body said: “As our studies have shown, the Highland area has been out of step with comparable regions in the UK and Europe which can access the national capital before 10am.

"This will enable us to do business more effectively without the need for overnights or that unappealing early A9 drive.

"The new morning peak service into Inverness gives people from Badenoch and Strathspey the same ability to commute for work, education and training as folk from Kyle, Lairg and Elgin.”

Rural economy and connectivity secretary Fergus Ewing, who is in overall charge of transport, said: “These new services are good news, offering more frequent and timely services that will benefit rail passengers and businesses in Inverness and the surrounding area.”

ScotRail Alliance Phil Verster managing director said: “Inverness attracts a growing number of commuters and we are pleased to be able to add these two additional early morning service to help meet demand."