Projects - Year 1
We are indebted to ACORP for providing Grant funding for our first year projects and what a busy year we had in our first 15 months.
We certainly hit the year running. End of March saw us off on a Familiarisation Trip (pictured above) of all 8 stations accompanied by Transport Scotland, Tactran, Mike Dennison of Sustrans - Cairngorm National Park, John Yellowlees External Relations Manager ScotRail, Jim Wilkin - ACORP Project Officer and our PHD students from Strathclyde University. On the most glorious day and fortified by bacon rolls, coffee and tea and sunshine we all met at Dunkeld & Birnam to begin. Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit, Andrew Heiton Jnr and Dougie Maclean all got a mention and then it was off to Pitlochry.
A whistle stop tour of all the buildings, one of which we hope to acquire as an office for our CRP in future and a look at the very successful Station Bookshop and next was Blair Atholl. Our visit there succeeded in gaining a door on the Waiting Room, so early success. We met Deborah at Dalwhinnie and admired the 2013 Heritage Panels, leading us to a future project for all the Stations. Newtonmore next, a wonderful conversion of a Signal Box into a holiday let and then Kingussie, where sadly the Council are moving out of the Station and the buildings are up for sale. A quick lunch break at the Grant Arms and a presentation to Jim Wilkin who had supported us thru the tortuous process of Constitutions and paperwork, but sadly wasn't continuing his journey with ScotRail. Next stop was Aviemore and the Cairngorm views and finally Carrbridge Station where the Station Group supplied much appreciated cakes and tea before we all headed home. The day saw us cover 200 miles, and some many more! But it allowed each of us to appreciate the problems faced at every Station. We are now working up a Station audit and hope to have a comprehensive document by next year.
Strathclyde University Marketing Plan
Having previously worked with Dr Matthew Alexander of Strathclyde University, we were delighted to welcome, not just one, but five International students, completing their PHDs. We tried not to overly influence their work, as coming from vastly different areas of the globe to Scotland, we felt it important to see what they had to say about us. We are currently working our way through their recommendations.
Commission of Architect
To draw up plans for Conservation of Pitlochry Station Northbound Buildings.
We were able to secure the services of a local Architect, who has drawn up plans for the renovation and conservation of the Northbound Offices on Pitlochry Station. ACORP kindly funded this for us and the plans are now with the National Railway Heritage Trust and Network Rail as we slowly progress work on the roof and chimneys and external salt storage. Both offices will be for Community Use, one for Pitlochry in Bloom and one for the HML CRP.
Our own website www.highlandmainlinecrp.co.uk has taken us a while to put together. Whilst recognising we will not ever be a busy commuter line except perhaps to the cities of Inverness and Perth from our extremities, we have been looking for our own distinctive identity and have decided to promote the Heritage of our line and use some of the material collected for the 150th Celebrations. We feel that any sustainable increase in passenger numbers can only viably come from persuading more visitors and tourists onto the line. We know that under 10% of visitors to the Cairngorm National Park travel by public transport, so there is huge potential there. We are about to embrace social media and hope the local communities will engage with us and share aspirations for the HML.
Launch in November 2015
Our official launch took place in Pitlochry in November 2015 and was jointly sponsored by ACORP and the Pitlochry Partnership. We are very grateful for their support in making possible a most enjoyable day of celebration.