Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

Summer Newsletter

This is a packed edition this month, lots of wonderful things to report on, we have been very busy.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

Highland Fling - Community Rail in the City

We had the most incredible day at Kings Cross Station on the 15th May. With two Saltires fluttering above the Station and a team of 53, we entertained with Flash Mob singing and dancing, piping and Highland dancing to the 150,000 travellers who pass through this busy London Station every day. We managed to personally engage with over 6.5K of them, gave away 2,500 goody bags, pose for many photos and had almost 700 entries for our Luxury Break in Scotland. This golden opportunity enabled us to promote the Highland Main Line and all the wonderful scenery, visitor attractions and events happening in our communities. With wonderful financial funding from ScotRail and incredible sponsorship and support from LNER, BAM Nuttall, Walkers Shortbread of Aberlour, Caledonian Sleeper, Blair Castle and the Atholl Highlanders and Pitlochry Festival Theatre we had a cracking "Highland Fling" at King's Cross.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

We would like to thank everyone who helped us on the day, King's Cross Station staff and in particular Ian Ball, Station Manager, Jules Akel, our amazing Designer who looked after the Backdrop design and Production and all our marketing needs, Paul Hackett our wonderful photographer on the day, the Parcels Yard Bar staff who looked after all 53 of us from early morning till after supper, Alasdair and John from ScotRail, the LNER team, who were launching the new Azuma to Leeds on Platform 8 the same morning, the staff at the Premier Inn who were most helpful with all our crazy requests, Jenny and Bryony Walker of Walkers Shortbread, the fabulous Atholl Highlanders, the Pitlochry Festival Theatre team and 30 performers and Lester Hillman, our man in Camden, who gave us lots of handy tips and suggestions.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

We can now congratulate not one, but three winners of a break to Scotland. This is due to the fabulous generosity of the many businesses who have stepped up to promote our wonderful line and offer prizes.

The Smiths are staying at the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry and enjoying some golf at Blair Atholl and Pitlochry courses, a private tour with the Archivist at Blair Castle and a look at some very rare documents not on public display concerning the Jacobites and Queen Victoria and a night out at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

Lauren Pascolutti won the break at Fonab Castle Hotel and will be enjoying a days Cookery Course at Ballintaggart Farm Cookery School, a visit to Edradour whisky distillery, and also a night at Pitlochry Festival Theatre.

The Kidmans will be journeying to Aviemore to stay at Ardlogie House, enjoy a day out on the Strathspey Heritage Railway with lunch, a visit to the Highland Folk Museum and dinner at the Highland Line Restaurant.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

The reception we received at this busy Station from busy commuters, tired tourists and amused travellers was heart warming and we are glad we made so many folk smile on their rail journey. They were very happy to see a little bit of "Scotland" at King's Cross. Mr Ball said we were welcome back anytime, and we would be back!

We were asked to leave one of our Saltires at King's Cross by the Station Team, which we gladly did, they plan to fly it on St Andrews Day and Burns Birthday. And we cannot finish without mentioning that LNER have commissioned a tartan to use on the Scottish services, we look forward to seeing it on our own "Highland Chieftain" services later this year when we get the new Azuma up to the Highlands. So a little bit of Scotland remains at King's Cross!

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership


We are delighted to announce that two of our Projects have been shortlisted for a Community Rail Award. The new category this year of Tourism and Heritage has chosen The Heritage Line Guide and our amazing "Highland Fling" event to go forward for a possible ACoRP award in October in Telford. We would like to congratulate all the other entrants who have made the shortlist including Rail 74 CRP, West Highland CRP and Helmsdale CIC. Well done!

AGM at Blair Castle

We were extremely privileged to be granted use of the private Library at Blair Castle for our AGM in early August and even more delighted when Alex Hynes MD ScotRail Alliance agreed to come along and meet us all. Alex gave us a really interesting talk on progress and the future and answered our questions. Thank you Alex, we really appreciated your visit and look forward to taking up your invitations to Glasgow to see how things work. Of course, when we fixed the date we had no idea the weather was going to cause so many problems, and Roy, our Vice Chair and Social Media man, was stranded in Carrbridge watching the flooding at the bottom of Station Road. A Muckle Spate indeed!

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership
Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

ScotRail in the Community Awards

Roy Brown was awarded the first ever Volunteer of the Year Award in the inaugural event in Glasgow. We have used Social Media extensively since our website was launched and in the run up to "Highland Fling" were lucky enough to have the "Flying Scotsman" on HML, our short video of that went global, within 24 hours, reaching over 65K worldwide, including a Pipe Band in New Mexico. Roy looks after our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram postings.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

Aviemore Station

At long last the Jellicoe Express interpretation panel is in place in the Ticket Office. The new Highland Line Restaurant hosted our Summer meeting in June and we thank them very much for their generosity. We are delighted to welcome Lorraine Elliott onto the CRP as the representative for Aviemore. We also welcomed Liz Henderson, Community Support Officer as the new appointee from the CNPA and Dodie Piddock of Step Ahead as a visitor.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

Pitlochry Station

The Pitlochry Station Bookshop are getting ready to expand into the disused ladies toilets on the Up platform and gain a much needed storage and sorting facility, which they have long needed. The remaining funding was all raised locally, so thank you to all the generous supporters. Work will commence in the Autumn on this exciting project. Summer planting is all completed, we managed to source the new "Flying Scotsman" fuschias for a bit of fun and we await the return of the Macfarlane Fountain on 14th August, sponsored by BAM Nuttall and the restoration of the Armoury Park later this year.

Travelling Classroom

We are delighted to announce that all our funding is in place to run an exciting new Project with our Primary Schools. With the generous support of the Basil Death Trust, LNER Customer and Community Support and ScotRail we have been able to begin planning for next term. With Scottish schools in summer recess now until August, we will have more news in the next newsletter.

Scotland - The World's Most Beautiful Railway

Scotland - The World's Most Beautiful Railway commences transmission on August 26th on More 4 at 9pm. We are very excited about this too, although quite what will have made the edit remains to be seen!!

Archive Collection

And from our ever expanding Archive Collection, a few photos from Kingussie and Newtonmore, some of which will eventually be used to finish off our Heritage Project.

Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership
Highland Mainline Community Rail Partnership

Have a great Summer from us all on Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership team!


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