Inverness railway station

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Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Nis[1]
National Rail
Inverness Station 2.jpg
Inverness railway station
LocationInverness, Highland
Coordinates57°28′48″N 4°13′23″W / 57.4800°N 4.2230°W / 57.4800; -4.2230Coordinates: 57°28′48″N 4°13′23″W / 57.4800°N 4.2230°W / 57.4800; -4.2230
Grid referenceNH667454
Owned byNetwork Rail
Managed byAbellio ScotRail
Other information
Station codeINV
Original companyInverness and Nairn Railway
Pre-groupingHighland Railway
Key dates
5 November 1855Opened
2015/16Increase 1.307 million
 Interchange Decrease 64,364
2016/17Decrease 1.259 million
 Interchange Decrease 61,978
2017/18Decrease 1.239 million
 Interchange Decrease 59,821
2018/19Increase 1.243 million
 Interchange Increase 61,433
2019/20Decrease 1.214 million
 Interchange Decrease 59,217
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Inverness railway station is the railway station serving the Scottish city of Inverness.


Inverness railway panorama in 1948

Inverness station was opened on 5 November 1855[2] as the western terminus of the Inverness and Nairn Railway[3] to designs by the architect, Joseph Mitchell.[4] The station originally comprised a single covered passenger platform 200 feet (61 m) with three lines of rails, one for arrivals, one for departures and a spare line for carriages.

In 1857 the railway company erected a clock in front of the station facing Academy Street. This clock by Bryson & Sons, Princes Street, Edinburgh, was illuminated at night.[5]

In 1865 the station was enlarged. The platform was lengthened to 300 feet (91 m) and a shed added which was 300 feet (91 m) long, 51 feet (16 m) wide and 20 feet (6.1 m) high. There were double lines for north and south traffic.[6]

The platforms were extended again to 500 feet (150 m) and the platform roofs were extended in 1876 by Murdoch Paterson. The station platforms were lit by electricity for the first time in 1908.[7]

The station layout in 1902

In 1933, as part of an internal reorganization, the London and North Eastern Railway closed their offices at the station and the staff relocated to Aberdeen.[8]

Between 1966 and 1968 under British Rail the station buildings were replaced, the new design by Thomas Munro and Company.

It is now the terminus of the Highland Main Line, the Aberdeen–Inverness line (of which the Inverness and Nairn Railway is now a part), the Kyle of Lochalsh line and the Far North Line.

A revamp by Mott Macdonald of the station's frontage, forecourt and concourse was planned to be completed by 2018.[9] However this was delayed. The nearby Royal Highland Hotel refused to give up their lease of parking spaces in front of the station.[10]


  • G.H. Critchley 1863 - 1888
  • William Forbes 1888 - 1898[11] formerly stationmaster at Grantown railway station
  • Colin Mackay 1898[12] - 1919, formerly stationmaster at Grantown railway station
  • Frank MacPhail 1919[13] - 1931, formerly station master at Elgin railway station
  • William Macleod 1931 - 1938
  • James Donaldson 1938 - 1940
  • John A. MacRae 1942[14] - 1956

The station today[edit]

The main circulation area
Inverness approaches
Inverness station
Ness Viaduct over River Ness
Platforms 6 & 7
Rose Street Junction
Platform 5
Inverness TMD
on both sides of line
Platforms 1 to 4
Welsh's Bridge Junction
Millburn Junction

Inverness is owned by Network Rail. However, it is operated by Abellio ScotRail who run most of the services using the station. Caledonian Sleeper and London North Eastern Railway run the only non-ScotRail services.

The station itself sits at one apex of a triangular junction in the centre of Inverness, with each half of the station connected to one line. The Highland Main and Aberdeen Lines both approach the station from the east and use Platforms 1–4, while the Far North Line (which also carries traffic heading for the Kyle Line) approach from the north-west and use Platforms 5–7. Platform 5 also has a connection from the east side, but it is only usable by a two car train, and even then, it must not be in passenger service and movements from Platform 5 to the east line are not allowed. Platform 1 is long enough for a 13-coach train; platform 2 can hold 15 coaches; platforms 3 and 4, eight each; and platforms 5–7 will accommodate five coaches each.[15]

The third chord runs between Rose Street Junction on the Far North Line and Welsh's Bridge Junction on the Aberdeen/Perth line. The Aberdeen and Perth lines diverge at Millburn Junction a short distance beyond Welsh's Bridge. Platforms 1–4 are 118 mileschains (190.0 km) from Perth (measured via Carrbridge); Millburn Junction, 117 miles 37 chains (189.0 km) from Perth, is also 143 miles 39 chains (230.9 km) from Perth (measured via Dava). The station is the zero point for the Far North Line, and platforms 5–7 are 2 chains (40 m) along this line; Rose Street Junction, 18 chains (360 m) along the Far North Line, is 118 miles 1 chain (189.9 km) from Perth.[15] Signalling for the entire area is controlled from a panel box near the station built in 1988. This supervises the station area & approaches and also houses the Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) control desk that monitors the full length of the Kyle & Far North lines. RETB was installed by British Rail.

Platform destination LED screens are installed, along with a main departures and arrivals information board. Each of Platforms 1-7 has its own screen showing departures from that platform. Screens are also present behind the wall for all platforms from 3–6. In addition, several other screens are also visible for general information.

In early 2020, a massive reconstruction project was announced, which included the neighbouring Sports Direct and TK Maxx stores being purchased as well as the former Royal Mail sorting office and car park. It is part of a plan to majorly reduce CO2 emissions in the City Centre, with this, the ability to have electric trains running to the station suggested electrification of lines north of the central belt. It was also announced that it would have fuelling for hydrogen vehicles as well as e-bike stations.[16]



As of 2020, Inverness has the following Monday–Saturday services:

  • 8 trains per day to Edinburgh Waverley (7 via Aviemore and 1 via Aberdeen)
  • 4 trains per day to Glasgow Queen Street via Perth
  • 12 trains per day (13 on Fridays and Saturdays) to Aberdeen (one of which extends to Stonehaven and a few extra trains only operate as far as Elgin)
  • 4 trains per day to Wick via Thurso
  • 4 trains per day to Kyle of Lochalsh
  • 1 train per hour to Dingwall (though a few extend to Alness, Invergordon, Tain and Adgay at certain times of the day)
  • 1 train per day to London Kings Cross via Falkirk Grahamston, Edinburgh Waverley, Newcastle and York ("Highland Chieftain")[17]
  • 1 sleeper train per day to London Euston via Preston and Crewe (Highland Caledonian Sleeper - doesn't operate on Saturday nights)[18]

On Sundays a reduced service operates on all routes, this being:

  • 4 trains per day to Edinburgh Waverley via Perth
  • 2 trains per day to Glasgow Queen Street
  • 1 train per day to Wick
  • 1 train per day to Kyle of Lochalsh (2 trains per day operate in the summer months)
  • 4 trains per day to Invergordon (3 of which extend to Tain)
  • 1 train per day to London Kings Cross ("Highland Chieftain")[19]
  • 1 sleeper train per day to London Euston via Preston and Crewe (Highland Caledonian Sleeper)[20]
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Aviemore or
Carrbridge (Sunday southbound only)
  London North Eastern Railway
(Highland Chieftain)
Carrbridge or
  Abellio ScotRail
Highland Main Line
Nairn   Abellio ScotRail
Aberdeen–Inverness line
Beauly or
Muir of Ord
  Abellio ScotRail
Far North Line
Kyle of Lochalsh line
Aviemore   Caledonian Sleeper
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
  Historical railways  
Culloden Moor
Line open; station closed
  Highland Railway
Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway
Line open; station closed
  Highland Railway
Inverness and Nairn Railway
Line open; station closed
  Highland Railway
Inverness and Ross-shire Railway

Future planned improvements[edit]

From 2018, this station will be one of those to benefit from a package of timetable enhancements to be introduced by Transport Scotland and Scotrail. The current Perth to Inverness timetable will be increased to hourly each way, with trains south of there running on alternate hours to Edinburgh & Glasgow. Journey times will be reduced by 10 minutes to both cities. The service to Nairn, Forres & Elgin will also be enhanced to hourly and some Aberdeen trains extended through to Dundee and beyond.[21]


The main coach and bus station is located in Margaret Street, 150 m northwest of and just around the corner from the railway station. Many services can also be joined at the stop on Millburn Road outside Marks and Spencer, closer to the station.

Aside from local buses, there are also long-distance coach services which allow rail passengers to continue their journey to areas of the Highlands not on the rail network:

Stagecoach North Scotland route 11 runs every 30 minutes between Inverness city centre and Inverness Airport. The bus leaves from Strothers Lane, just around the corner from the station. Journey time to the airport is 25 minutes.


  1. ^ Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
  2. ^ Butt (1995)
  3. ^ "Opening of the Inverness and Nairn Railway". Inverness Courier. Scotland. 8 November 1855. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ The Buildings of Scotland, Highland and Islands. John Gifford. Yale University Press. 1992. ISBN 0-300-09625-9
  5. ^ "Inverness Railway Station". Nairnshire Telegraph and General Advertiser for the Northern Counties. Scotland. 22 April 1857. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Inverness Railway Station Extensions and Improvements". Inverness Courier. Scotland. 8 June 1865. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "Improvements on Highland Line". DundeeCourier. Scotland. 24 March 1908. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Inverness Railway Station Changes". The Scotsman. Scotland. 6 June 1933. Retrieved 31 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Design team for Inverness Station revamp". BBC News. 10 March 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Railway station revamp delayed". Inverness Courier. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Retirement of Inverness stationmaster". Dundee Advertiser. Scotland. 10 June 1898. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  12. ^ "Appointment of Inverness stationmaster". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 7 July 1898. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "New Stationmaster for Inverness". Dundee Evening Telegraph. Scotland. 11 September 1919. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  14. ^ "Larbert Stationmaster for Inverness". Falkirk Herald. Scotland. 4 July 1942. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  15. ^ a b Brailsford 2017, map 18B.
  16. ^ "Inverness set for road and rail revolution". Inverness Courier. 6 June 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  17. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 26
  18. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 403
  19. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 26
  20. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 403
  21. ^ "‘Rail revolution’ means 200 more services and 20,000 more seats for Scots passengers" Archived 2016-08-20 at the Wayback MachineTransport Scotland press release 15 March 2016; Retrieved 18 August 2016


  • Brailsford, Martyn, ed. (December 2017) [1987]. Railway Track Diagrams 1: Scotland & Isle of Man (6th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. ISBN 978-0-9549866-9-8.
  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.
  • Jowett, Alan (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 978-0-906899-99-1. OCLC 228266687.

External links[edit]