A History of Britain’s Railways

Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway

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Duncraig Halt
Kyle of Lochalsh

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Welcome to Kyleakin, Isle of Skye

Kyle of Lochalsh Extension
(Highland Railway)

This railway is open. Passenger services are provided by ScotRail between Kyle of Lochalsh, Stromeferry and Inverness.

Survey To be entered
Engineers To be entered
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Opened 2 November 1897
Closed No

Clickable map of the Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway

Eilean Donan Castle, looking North
Eilean Donan Castle

Incomplete Skye bridge, view from  East
Skye Bridge nearing completion

Local area


This line runs along the rugged coastline between Kyle of Lochalsh and Stromeferry. It's proxmity to the sea has led to the sea defences having to be improved on a number of occasions. At Kyle, until recently, there was a ferry for Skye. This has been replaced by a toll road bridge.



Description of route 


From Stromeferry to Kyle of Lochalsh.



The Kyle of Lochalsh Extension formed and end-on junction with the fromer Dingwall and Skye Railway ay Stromeferry. See the Dingwall and Skye Railway. In recent years the section immediately west of Stromeferry has needed much repair work. In this section the embankment forms the beach.

Duncraig Halt  


This station was opened after the line for the use of the Mathiesons of Duncraig Castle. The photograph to the left shows the platform with its original waiting room from a nearby road bridge. The view looks west. The right hand photograph shows a sprinter going east at Fernaig. The halt was opened to the public on 23 May 1949. 

Duncraig Castle was now out of use for many years, but is now a house.



Plockton station seen from a road overbridge to the East. At the far end of the station there was a siding closed in 1964. There was no loop. 

To the right of the photograph is Plockton Airport. Plockton is known for its Palm trees which are able to grow thanks to the Gulf Stream which flows up the West coast of Scotland. 



The station consists of one platform and a hut. There was no loop but a box opened on 28 April 1940 and closed 28 October 1945. Duirinish closed to goods traffic in 1954. 

Kyle of Lochalsh

Kyle of Lochalsh Station, West pier, looking NorthBefore withdrawl of the Kyle - Kyleakin ferry ...Top 

Kyle of Lochalsh is the terminus of the line. The station is also known as Kyle. 

Until recently ferries (such as the car ferry shown above, right) crossed from Kyle to Kyleakin, but this has now ceased since the opening of the Skye bridge. The Skye bridge approach roads pass through Kyle but not Kyleakin, making the port a backwater. The cuttings required for the road bridge approaches dwarf the cuttings of the railway approach and it is now difficult to imagine the difficulty with which the Railway was blasted through and what a remote Railway village Kyle of Lochlash was. 

Kyle of Lochalsh Signal Box, looking SouthThe terminus at Kyle was essentially a "green field site". A village had to be constructed for the railway staff including a Hotel, shops, a library and accommodation. At Kyle of Lochalsh the line turns southwards. Before the station there area number of impressive cuttings. The locomotive shed [5] once stood on the up side of the line outside the station area. After the locomotive shed the track divided three ways beside the signal box  [6] (shown right, closed 3 June 1984) which is on the down side of the tracks. One track leads to the eastern face of the station pier, one track divided into storage sidings and the third leads to the western face of the station pier. The station [7] consists of a broad island platform on a pier with a West Highland Railway style swiss chalet station building. About three berths for vessels were available at the pier. On either side of the island platform a number of freight sidings were available, including a shed on the west pier. Turntables provided access to the south face of the pier. The sidings have been much reduced, on the west pier there remains a loop and loading bank siding, and on the east pier there are two tracks Kyle of Lochalsh loading bank, looking Northwhich are not looped. Recently the loading bank has been used to load rubble for the repairs to the seawall at the West of Stromeferry (shown in photograph, left). Since the introduction of timber traffic on the line by the English, Welsh and Scottish Railway this loading bank also sees use for loading timbers. (Photographs of this operation not scanned in yet). 

Kyle of Lochalsh West pier, looking SouthTo the west of the station (to the left of the photograph shown here, right, also shown top) is the site of the slipway for the car ferries which ran until recently. The ex-Highland Railway's Hotel also is sited to the west of the station. The withdrawl of the ferries and increase in convenience for tourist car-owners with the opening of the bridge is the most recent of many services which have been withdrawn from Kyle of Lochalsh. (The line itself nearly closed in 1973). Older examples include 1973, Ullapool-Stornoway ferry service replaces Kyle-Stornoway and  1975, Kyle to Portree mailboat service ends. Given the gradual decline, the timber traffic is a welcome boost, one hopes it fairs better than the abandoned facilities at Stromeferry.

Diameter of the turntable at Kyle shed: from Cormack and Stevenson's book 'Highland Railway Locomotives; Book 1'
1901 - 50' 0"
1920 - 50' 0"
1948 - 54' 0"

Further JT comments "a picture in Rails to the Kyle of Lochalsh p246 that shows a 60' turntable installed in 1946 to accomodate introduction of the Black 5s."

kyle_of_lochalsh_track_plan.gif (9205 bytes)

Ordinance Survey Grid References 


1. NG.685.346 STROMEFERRY Station (53 Miles from Dingwall)
2. NG.812.332 DUNCRAIG HALT (57 Miles from Dingwall)
3. NG.794.329 PLOCKTON Station (58 Miles from Dingwall)
4. NG.778.315 DUIRINISH Station (60 Miles from Dingwall)
5. NG.762.275 Kyle of Lochalsh Locomotive Shed
6. NG.763.274 Kyle of Lochalsh Signal Box (In use as platelayer's Hut)
7. NG.763.272 KYLE OF LOCHALSH (64 Miles from Dingwall)

Page created on 04/09/1997
Page last edited on: 17/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford