Track services

No hope of Scottish government getting rail service back on track

Last week I received an email from ScotRail warning me of major disruption to trains due to planned strikes.

Ha ha, you don’t need strikes to disrupt trains.

ScotRail, now run by the SNP government, does it on its own. I won’t bore readers with my many delays on the line to the Highlands, still largely single track since Victorian times, because anyone who regularly uses the trains will have their own horror story to tell.

I hadn’t realized until recently that things weren’t much better in South Glasgow. I traveled there to watch my team Tottenham Hotspur play Rangers in a pre-season friendly and after having a few halves at the Horseshoe bar we headed to Glasgow’s Clockwork Orange Underground which I was assured was the easiest way to get to Ibrox.

What I was not told was that in Glasgow, unlike any other modern European city, there is still a manual ticket only policy for trains. We had to wait over half an hour in a queue to get a ticket and almost missed kickoff.

Still, it was probably worth watching Harry Kane score a brace and receive a standing ovation from the home crowd as he walked off the pitch.

Yes, that’s the English football captain receiving a standing ovation from a Scottish football crowd!

Unfortunately I was unable to celebrate the Spurs victory with a beer on the train back to the Highlands as alcohol is still banned by our government on trains. The nanny state is alive and well in Scotland.

The River Spey by Aviemore.

• On a hot day, saw a few people swimming in the River Spey or what was left of it before the rain arrived this week.

Now, I’m all for people having fun swimming, but I have to warn you that just like in England, the government has done nothing about the dumping of sewage in our rivers.

Only a few weeks ago there was a spill in the Spey from the septic tank in the village of Craigellachie and this is not the first time this has happened.

There is actually a hose that goes into the Spey through the deck for any overflow from the tank. SEPA, the so-called Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, has done nothing to stop this and they have the same attitude to the overflow from the Old Bridge septic tank in Grantown.

I know this because when I saw raw sewage coming out of the pipe which you can see from the deck, I immediately contacted them and they showed up – only to inform me there was nothing they could do about it. How about doing your job and forbidding any overflow…?

Is it any wonder that wild salmon are seriously threatened when the very people who are there to protect the environment are failing sorely in doing so.

The next time you plan to take a dip in the Spey near the old bridge, beware. Or if you’re wondering why you spent a week fishing and caught nothing, now you know.

It was another successful agricultural show held in excellent weather, but there were problems at the entrance gates due to problems with the contactless payment system and a lack of cash at the other ATMs in Grantown.
It was another successful agricultural show held in excellent weather, but there were problems at the entrance gates due to problems with the contactless payment system and a lack of cash at the other ATMs in Grantown.

• I managed to make it to the Grantown Show this year and it was so good to have it back. Many thanks to the brilliant organization, especially for those who had the foresight to have a card machine at the entrance for those like me who had no cash.

I would have had money but went to the machine near the co-op to find it wasn’t working! The show organizers knew you couldn’t rely on cash outs in the capital city of Strathspey.

Charlie Whelan was once Gordon Brown’s spokesperson.


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