It might not seem like progress, but a series of closures later this month will herald the biggest investment in Moray’s railways for decades.
Network Rail is spending £80million upgrading tracks, stations and signals in the region as part of a massive project to improve the line from Aberdeen to Inverness.
In Elgin, both platforms will be lengthened by more than 100 feet to accommodate longer trains. However, a proposed third halt for carriages has been scrapped.
Nearly an extra mile of double-track will also be added in the town to allow services to cross each other in a bid to reduce waiting times.
The antiquated handing over of the signal token for train drivers will become a thing of the past with upgraded signals leading to fewer “stop-start” journeys.
New stations have been proposed at Dalcross for Inverness Airport and Kintore in Aberdeenshire with a replacement also being built in Forres.
Stacey Macdonald, communications manager at Network Rail, explained the improvements were part of a project to cut the journey time from Aberdeen to Inverness by 25 minutes to two hours.
She said: “This is the first lot of money that has been spent in the north-east in decades. We think passengers to Nairn, Forres and Inverness will see really big benefits.
“Scotrail have plans to change the timetabling and this work will increase the options open for them to do that.”
The first two-day closure from Inverness to Elgin will begin on Saturday, February 25 with four more weekend suspensions scheduled before the end of May.
A 10-day closure from Inverness to Keith to complete the works will start on Saturday, October 7.
More than 40 people squeezed into a public exhibition display within the first hour of it opening in Elgin last night.
Members of the public were eager to get a glimpse at the improvements, which have been designed to create extra services from the town to Inverness.
Elgin resident, Bob Stewart, who lives next to the railway, said: “I’m delighted to see this investment in the railways – it is long overdue.
“If we want to attract people to live in the area, we have to increase the connectivity and this is going to make things an awful lot easier.”