Plans released for Inverness Airport railway station

The new station at Inverness Airport will cost £2m.

Transport bosses have released plans to build one of the busiest rail stations in the north of Scotland at Inverness Airport.

Highlands and Islands transport body Hitrans has proposed constructing a stop at Dalcross near the airport on the Inverness to Aberdeen line at a cost of £2 million. Hitrans bosses say that the scheme would make the entire region - from the islands to Moray - a “more attractive” place to live and work.

Official forecasts estimate that within 50 years the station will overtake Elgin to become the busiest in the Highlands, after Inverness.

The proposed location of the station is adjacent to the C1017 airport access road, between the first and second roundabouts after leaving the existing A96, at the southern corner of the airfield. Under the plans, every train on the Inverness to Aberdeen route will stop at the station.

At 575ft long, the platform will be capable of accommodating high speed trains with five carriages and two engine cars, as proposed by operators Abellio for the network. There will be a waiting area, cycle park, electric car point, bus stop, taxi rank, and barrier controlled access road.

The development will include 50 car parking spaces, rising later to 150, while new link roads and cycle paths would be built to connect it to the existing airport access road. The station will be a mile from the airport terminal by road and it is hoped a bus connection will also be introduced.

A public consultation event will be held at Inverness Airport terminal on 21 April, after which the planning application will be lodged.

Hitrans hopes that it can secure planning permission for the project by the end of the summer, with completion of the work by December 2018. Around a quarter of the £2million bill will be sought from local public sector agencies, with the rest coming from the Scottish Government’s Scottish Stations Fund.

Frank Roach, partnership manager at Hitrans, said: “The fact we have a public consultation is firing the starting gun. After we have the consultation, we will submit the plans to the planners,” he said. “It will make the whole area a more attractive place to live and do business in. It will add to connectivity – flights to the islands, which are important for Hitrans. It will enable folk from Moray to access the airport more effectively than they can at the moment.”

With plans for 5,000 homes at nearby Tornagrain and the airport business park, Hitrans predicts that that by 2075 a total of 400,000 passengers will be using the airport each year.

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Nice little airport but the number of international links is too limited. I've recently been trying to plan a trip from a regional airport in Central Europe to Inverness but its basically impossible without stop-overs or bus transfers between airports. For the Highlands to grow it needs access to international markets, so there needs to be flights to key European capitals such as: Paris, Berlin and Madrid. Alternatively the rails links within the Highlands and between the Central Belt and the rest of the UK need to be improved.