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2/28/2011 - HITRANS February 2011 Newsletter

See below for our latest update following the HITRANS Board meeting in Nairn on 4th February.

The Small Ferries Project

Andrew Flockhart of Caledonian Maritime Assets (CMAL) gave a presentation to the Partnership on the Small Ferries Project. The aim of the Small Ferries Project has been to establish how to best design, build and procure a replacement fleet of small ferries which would be used to deliver lifeline services serving rural communities of the Scottish and Irish coasts. The project has been taken forward through a partnership between CMAL, the Department for Regional Development in Northern Ireland and the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs in Ireland and has been funded from the European Union’s INTERREG programme of ERDF funding.

Network Rail RUS

Network Rail presented the draft Scotland RUS Generation Two. This looks at a 30 year planning horizon and will inform future rail spending in Scotland. Current workstreams for us include Inverness-Aberdeen development work, Highland Main Line differential linespeeds and tail light cameras, and journey time savings on the West Highland through enhanced signalling transactions.

A82 Upgrade

HITRANS considered the progress made so far on upgrading the A82 trunk road. The need for urgent investment on this the key artery linking the West Highlands and Islands with the central belt was recognised in the Regional Transport Strategy as an important priority. The Board reaffirmed their commitment and support for the current projects being developed on the A82 . We will continue to
press for a programme of upgrades to the outstanding substandard sections of road between Inverarnan to Tarbet, Ballachulish to Fort William and strategic improvements on the rest of the route.

AFLOAT – EU Funding Opportunity

HITRANS is in dialogue with partners in England, Spain and France on the development of a European Union ERDF project that may secure funding for improvements to interchange facilities at
ferry terminals, introduce smart card integrated ticketing for travel within the Highlands and Islands and help develop green technology for travel by ferry.

HITRANS Spending Priorities for 2011/12

Looking ahead to the next financial year HITRANS have identified a number of projects that could be delivered in 2011/12 under our research and development programme. These include:

  • Active Travel Highland ERDF project

  • TransTourism ERDF project
  • START ERDF project
  • AFLOAT ERDF project
  • CHRONOS Rail Station solar powered passenger information system
  • Severe Weather Alert System for road users • Severe Weather Alert System for rail network
  • Bus route development schemes – Glasgow to Campbeltown and Elgin to Aviemore
  • ScotRail Franchise Input
  • Rail Forecasting Refresh
  • Business Model for Virtual Rail Infrastructure Development

Election Fever

2011 is election year for the Scottish Parliament and like many other bodies HITRANS is keen to make a case for our priorities to all the political parties. There are many transport initiatives large and small that could be developed across the Highlands and Islands that would return real social and economic benefits to the country. Projects we are keen to see progress on include Conon Bridge Station, five trains a day to Oban, investment in the A82, A9 and A96, Highland Mainline Upgrade and Inverness-Aberdeen Rail Upgrade.  

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