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How we got up the Glenmutchkin Railway and how we got out of it

Direct Glenmutchkin Railway

This railway was planned to run from the fishing village and port of Clachan of Inverstarve up Glenmutchkin to serve a distillery, a busy cattle station and various quarries. Much tourist traffic was expected.

But it was a spoof in Blackwood's magazine pointing out the folly of the railway bubble, speculative promotion of railways unlikely to profit.

The Glenmutchkin System has a notable legacy.

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Brechin and Edzell District RailwayMontrose and Bervie RailwayNorth British, Arbroath and Montrose RailwayNorth British, Arbroath and Montrose RailwayAr
broath and Forfar Railway Clickable map of the Direct Glenmutchkin Railway
Clickable Schematic of route [Key]

Local area


This line was planned to serve Glenmutchkin and it's large cattle station, high population, distillery and quarries. At Clachan of Inverstarve was a fishing village and port. The prospectus stated: "... GLENMUTCHKIN is known to the capitalist as the most important BREEDING STATION in the Highlands of Scotland, and indeed as the great emporium from which the southern markets are supplied. ..."





This railway never existed.

The Glenmutchkin Railway Company was a fraud. It had a prospectus and was subscribed to. At least according to a spoof article in Blackwood's magazine ...

The legacy of this is that following the boom years of railway promotion during which the line was advertised, it became very difficult to promote bona fide railways through the Highland of Scotland. At the time almost any railway promoted would be subscribed to. In current parlance this promotion and its after-effects were a 'wake-up call'. Investors became wary of railways promoted through low populated parts of Scotland, and misleading prospectuses. This hindered both the Callander and Oban Railway and Dingwall and Skye Railway promotions.

The story of the 'scam' is given in "How we got up the Glenmutchkin Railway and how we got out of it" by W. E. Aytoun. The after-effects are given in John Thomas' "A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain Vol 14: The Highlands and Islands".

Page created on 26/01/2004
Page last edited on 26/01/2004
E-mails to: Ewan Crawford