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Gunn's Lybster Loading Bank Contract
7 December 2001
SUTHERLAND PROJECT BOOSTS TIMBER
Construction has started on a major railside loading bank at Kinbrace in Central Sutherland on the Far North Railway Line to allow land-locked timber to get to market. The Highland Council has awarded the £100,000 contract for the project to John Gunn & Sons Limited, Lybster.
The Highland Council has entered into an agreement with Forest Enterprise to permit the timber from the 7,500 acres of maturing forests at Naver and Rimsdale to be taken by road along the B871 from Syre to Kinbrace and to be transhipped to rail at the new loading bank. Extending to 300 metres long, the bank will be used to stack 3,000 tonnes of timber each month.
Special freight trains will run on the line for five consecutive nights each month taking the timber to market in Inverness and beyond. The project is jointly funded by The Highland Council, Railtrack, Freight Company EWS and the EC. In addition it is hoped that the loading bank will be used for the extraction of timber from nearby adjacent estates. As part of the partnership approach Achentoul Estate has gifted the necessary land to the Council.
The Transport Spokesperson for Sutherland and Chair of the Councils Sustainabl e Development Select Committee, Councillor Iain Ross, said that he was delighted to see the project starting. He said: "By working with a number of agencies, the Council has succeeded in both releasing timber from Central Sutherland and moving a large volume of freight from the road network on to the railway. This is excellent news for the future of The Far North Line and provides an example of best practice which is being followed with interest throughout the forest industry in Scotland. In addition, we have been working closely with Forest Enterprise to try to maximise job opportunities locally."
The Councils Area Roads & Transport Manager for Sutherland, Mr Colin Mackenzie, confirmed that this was a long term project based on timber extraction, which is expected to last for the next 20 years. He said: "It will keep 150 laden timber trucks a month off the single track A897 Strath of Kildonan road and I am sure all would see the benefit of that."