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Passenger services commenced today (15th April) at the newly constructed railway station at Beauly.

The Strategic Rail Authority, The Highland Council, Railtrack, Inverness and Nairn Enterprise, Highland Rail Partnership, and ScotRail supported the £250,000 project.

The Highland station consists of a single platform, waiting shelter, and a car park including disabled parking facilities. There is also a public telephone with a helpline facility that will allow free access to train running information. The new station also provides access for cyclists and disabled passengers, including the visually impaired.

"We are always pleased to work in partnership with our rail industry partners and local agencies to enhance the rail network," explained Janette Anderson, Director Railtrack Scotland. "The old station has been closed at Beauly for over 40 years and we hope this joint investment will benefit the local community by offering a valuable link to Scotlandís rail network."

Chairman of the Highland Rail Partnership Highland Councillor Charlie King said: "This is excellent news and is, I hope, the first example of restoring rail services to expanding population centres in the Highlands. It clearly demonstrates the value of partnership working because it would have been impossible to put the financial package together otherwise. I would like to thank Railtrack and Scotrail who have supported an encouraged us at all times. This offers a good service to the Beauly area, 7 stops each way in the working week, and offers a very good alternative to the road, meeting the national strategy to lessen road journeys."

Nick Brown acting Managing Director Scotrail said: "Besides being the smallest station in Britain, Beauly is also significant because it represents a low cost means of linking rural communities into the rail network. The new station now offers locals working in Inverness an attractive alternative to commuting by road. ScotRail is playing its part in encouraging drivers out of their cars with a special seven day season ticket that will cost just £6."

Councillor Sandy MacKenzie, Transport Spokesperson for The Highland Council, said: "I am delighted that the station has finally opened, and would like to thank all that have made this possible. No doubt some may choose to concentrate on the length of time taken to have the station operational but we hope that the benefits will far outweigh any perceived inconvenience. I urge the people of Beauly and surrounds to take advantage of this new facility, which can benefit locals and tourists alike. It is our aim in Highland Council and in partnership with the rail industry that Beauly is the first of many Highland commuting stations to make access to our Capital City of Inverness less car dependent."

Bill Sylvester, Chief Executive of Inverness and Nairn Enterprise, added: "The rapid recent growth of the Inverness local economy reinforces the need to ensure mobility of labour otherwise future opportunities will be lost. The re-opening of Beauly station is important not only by making it easier for people to travel between work and home but also because it gives a useful boost to the role of public transport in the area."

Strategic Rail Authority External Relations Director Chris Austin said: "Its always good to be able to welcome the opening of a new station. Beauly Station will provide a useful service to both locals and tourists, as well as making its own contribution to the continued expansion of the Highland rail network that the SRA is delivering".

 Highland Councillor for Beauly Garry Coutts has been campaigning for the station to reopened for over 4 years. Welcoming the first passenger train to stop at Beauly for 40 years he said: "Lets forget the delays and frustrations of the last few years. It is great news the station is opened and I hope everyone, local people and visitors alike, make full use of the facility."

ScotRailís 158 trains will serve the station and it is their intention that all Inverness-Wick and Inverness-Kyle trains will make fixed stops at Beauly (except the 0614 Inverness-Tain which will only call by request). This means that there will be seven stops in each direction on Mondays Ė Fridays, six on Saturdays and two on Sundays.

Ticket prices from Beauly to Inverness cost: single £2.00, day return £3.00, 7-day pass £6.00, and £6.70 for a 10 journey flexipass (valid one month).

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