Something was different at King’s Cross during this year’s Community Rail in the City. Two huge Saltires were flying from the station roof in the breeze as Atholl Highlander pipers and dancers welcomed travellers. Colourful flash mob dancers promoted the Pitlochry Festival Theatre ‘Summer Holiday’ production, whilst 17 volunteers provided information on how direct train travel to the Scottish Highlands (day or overnight) was just a few steps away. Meanwhile, LNER was launching their brand new Azuma trains that will soon be providing an upgraded service to the highlands.
The Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership (HML CRP) joined forces with more than 30 other groups to showcase some of Britain’s most scenic train journeys and promote sustainable tourism by rail. The Kings Cross event was funded by ScotRail with generous sponsorship from: BAM Nuttall, Blair Castle and the Atholl Highlanders, Caledonian Sleeper, LNER, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Walkers of Aberlour.
Sally Spaven, chair of the Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership said: “The atmosphere was just wonderful with a very positive reception from the travelling public with many saying they were now inspired to visit Scotland and the Highlands by train… We also had an excellent and dedicated team who were key to engaging with over six thousand members of public, giving out thousands of goody bags with info packs and making the event such a success. We had great interest in our draw for a three day Luxury Break in the Highlands. Our social media was also buzzing with activity and many visitors sharing selfies with the Atholl Highlanders.”
“It was a privilege to be given the opportunity to bring the Highlands to King’s Cross for the day and we thank them very much. We hope we entertained the commuters and encouraged folk to visit our stunningly beautiful home.”
Roy Brown, vice chair said: “Community Rail in the City is a great opportunity for us to promote our wonderful railway line to thousands of commuters and potential visitors at King’s Cross, a gateway to Scotland and the Highlands. We highlight the fantastic things there are to see and explore, and encourage people to visit by rail rather than car. As well as being a healthier, more relaxing and pleasurable way to travel, visiting the area by rail benefits the local economy, and means less traffic, noise and pollution in our communities and the Cairngorms National Park.”