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ScotRail and Network Rail Scotland confirm major snow drift disruption in the Highlands on the Far North Line and the Inverness-Aberdeen route


By Philip Murray

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Signalling equipment at Insch was left buried under deep snow and had to be digged out. Picture: Network Rail Scotland.
Signalling equipment at Insch was left buried under deep snow and had to be digged out. Picture: Network Rail Scotland.

SNOW drifts up to 50 metres long and six feet deep were continuing to cause major disruption on Highland railway lines on Monday – after a weekend of widespread road and rail problems cause by high winds.

ScotRail confirmed that both the Far North Line and the Inverness-Aberdeen route were expected to be hit by cancellations and delays for the entire day.

Trains travelling between the Highland capital and Granite City will be terminating at Keith owing to severe weather between Keith and Inverurie.

And journeys between Inverness and Wick will start or terminate at Ardgay, as stations north of there were impassable at the time of writing.

A ScotRail spokesman said: “We continue to experience significant challenges across our rail network because of sub-zero temperatures and snowy conditions.

“We are working hard to resolve these problems but disruption on some routes will continue until faults are fixed and the weather improves.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience this has caused and are committed to restoring services as quickly as we can for our passenger and freight customers.”

Snow ploughs have been working to clear deep drifts on Highland railway lines. Picture: Network Rail Scotland.
Snow ploughs have been working to clear deep drifts on Highland railway lines. Picture: Network Rail Scotland.

Confirming the challenges facing engineers trying to clear the routes, Network Rail Scotland added: “We've been working to clear snowdrifts between Keith and Inverurie on the Aberdeen-Inverness line.

“Our patrol locomotive has encountered drifts 6ft high and 50m long and couldn't make it through.

“Now, we're arranging to use our independent ploughs today on the route.

“We're also working to reopen the Far North Line between Ardgay and Wick, we'll patrol this line again as quickly as we can, having cleared the Inverness-Ardgay section already.”

They added that track teams had also been working to dig out signalling equipment buried in snow at Insch on the Inverness-Aberdeen line.

Roads across the Highlands were also badly hit by drifting snow over the weekend. A host of Highland roads were closed at various points over the weekend – including some in Caithness; the Bealach na Ba, the Fain on the A832, the A825 Drumrunie-Ledmore, the A836 Lairg-Tongue, the A837 Ledmore junction-Lochinver, the A894 Skiag Bridge-Kylesku, A897 Helmsdale-Melvich, and the B9167 Struie Road, among others.

Related news: Overnight snow triggers closure of section of A835


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