Long-awaited plans for a new railway station at Inverness Airport have been lodged with the local authority in a “milestone” moment for the multi-million-pound venture.
Network Rail has submitted fresh plans for a double-platform station at Inverness Airport to provide better connectivity to the city.
Transport chiefs say the new facility will result in a reduction in road travel to the airport, promoting greener travel choices whilst increasing capacity on the Inverness to Aberdeen line.
Thousands of passengers pass through Inverness Airport each year travelling to and from places like Amsterdam, Ireland, London and Majorca.
It is hoped that a train service bringing people directly to and from the airport will encourage more locals to jet off in the future – and promote Inverness as a place to holiday.
Alex Hynes, managing director of ScotRail, said: “We are working hard to improve rail links for communities across Scotland and these proposals will help open up opportunities for new passengers on our network.
“The local community has been campaigning for a new train station at Inverness Airport for many years and we are pleased that we have been able to work with local and central government to develop plans for this new facility.”
What are the plans for the new railway station?
The new Dalcross Station would consist of two platforms catering for six carriage trains.
The proposals include a 64-space car park with associated infrastructure including a footbridge and 16-person lifts on each platform.
Improvements will also be made to the existing road layout through adjustments to the main access road and the inclusion of a bus drop off zone.
Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said the move was a “key milestone”.
He said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving the economic well-being of communities, encouraging the choice of sustainable transport and providing good quality employment opportunities across Scotland as we plan for our post-Covid recovery.
“I welcome the submission of this planning application which acts as a key milestone in the delivery process and enable us to progress our aspirations for the new station to the next stage.”
Operators of Norbord’s Morayhill manufacturing plant will also benefit from the plans through the addition of a suitable railway link with the site.
Highland councillor Trish Robertson said it was a step in the right direction but hopes that a park and ride facility will be added.
She said: “It’s a good move forward in that we will have better access to public transport and better access to the airport.
“It’s been something that has been talked about for such a long time. It will be useful but it’s not there yet.
“It should make connectivity better. There is always going to be the issue that it is still quite a distance away from the terminal building but presumably that will be addressed in time.”