The first Request to Stop kiosk on the Far North line will go on trial at Scotscalder station from 15 August. It is the first of eight that will rolled out on the line. Rather than giving a hand signal to indicate they wish the train to call at a request stop, instead intending passengers must press a button on the kiosk in good time before the train arrives. This will send a signal to the train’s driver indicating that passengers wish to board. While this does not allow time to be taken out of the timetable (as an allowance must still be made for a train to call at all request stops), if there are no intending passengers the ability for trains to continue at linespeed rather than slowing down on the approach to request stops will provide a performance benefit in the event of late running. A further benefit of the kiosks is that they provide live train running information at stations which do not previously have this.
Following the trial at Scotscalder, the kiosks are to be rolled out at Altnabreac, Kinbrace, Kildonan, Dunrobin Castle, Rogart, Invershin and Culrain. The installation is part of a broader £5 million investment in the radio signalling system on the line, including the upgrade of radio communication masts and antennas and the installation of new equipment at Muir of Ord, Invergordon, Kildonan and Wick stations to enhance radio coverage.