Callander and Oban Railway

Introduction

This line is partly open. The railway provides a service between Crianlarich and Oban. ScotRail provides a service on this line. The line ran between Callander and Glenoglehead Crossing (then called Killin station) until sufficient funds were found to extend it to Tyndrum. At Tyndrum there was a short continuation to lead mines. The next extension was to Dalmally. Finally enough money was raised to take the line on to Oban.

A branch took the company on to Ballachulish and other lines opened to Loch Tay and Comrie.

The line is signalled by RETB and controlled from Banavie, near Fort William. The line is notable for the Pass of Brander Stone Signals, an unusual set of semaphore signals which protect the line from rockfalls.

The line was a protege of the Caledonian Railway.

The remaining part of the line is supported by the Friends of the West Highland Lines who were formed in 1983 and have promoted the line ever since. The society publishes the excellent West Highland News Plus.



Dates

22/06/1864[Callander and Oban Railway]
First meeting of the Callander and Oban Railway Committee.
05/07/1865[Callander and Oban Railway]
Act receives Royal assent.
01/09/1865[Callander and Oban Railway]
Appointment of John Anderson as the company secretary.
27/06/1866[Callander and Oban Railway]
Contract for Callander to Glenoglehead section given to J McKay.
01/06/1870[Callander and Oban Railway]
Callander to Killin (Glenoglehead) opened.
  /08/1873[Callander and Oban Railway]
Killin to Tyndrum opened.
01/04/1877[Callander and Oban Railway]
Tyndrum to Dalmally opened.
  /05/1877[Callander and Oban Railway]
Single road stone shed opened to the south of Dalmally station with a 48ft turntable.
  /  /1880[Callander and Oban Railway]
Dalmally shed ceases to be a key shed when the line to Oban opens completely.
30/06/1880[Callander and Oban Railway]
Opening ceremony for whole Callander to Oban line.
20/06/1881[Callander and Oban Railway]
Steamers start running from Ach-na-Cloich up Loch Etive.
27/06/1882[Callander and Oban Railway]
Large fence built stop boulders rolling onto the trackbed by Pass of Brander authorised.
01/04/1886[Callander and Oban Railway]
Killin station closed to public and becomes Glenoglehead crossing.
20/12/1894[Callander and Oban Railway]
Spur from Crianlarich station ([West Highland Line]) to Crianlarich Junction opened. New passing loop at Crianlarich Junction allows removal of up platform and loop at Crianlarich (Callander and Oban) station.
07/08/1896[Ballachulish Branch] ([Callander and Oban Railway])
Callander and Oban Railway (Ballachulish Extension) Act passed. (Alternative date 1/4/1896).
04/03/1903[Callander and Oban Railway]
Oban station enlargement authorised.
07/07/1905[Callander and Oban Railway]
Introduction of C. & O. Hotel Express.
  /  /1906[Callander and Oban Railway]
Water columns installed on the platforms at Balquhidder.
31/07/1907[Callander and Oban Railway]
Retirement of John Anderson.
01/07/1909[Callander and Oban Railway]
Charabanc operates over Connel Ferry Bridge; North Connel to Connel Ferry.
22/06/1914[Callander and Oban Railway]
Connel Ferry bridge altered for road vehicles and pedestrians.
03/08/1914[Callander and Oban Railway]
Maid of Morven observation car introduced.
  /02/1915[Callander and Oban Railway]
Maid of Morven observation car withdrawn.
  /03/1919[Callander and Oban Railway]
Maid of Morven observation car re-introduced.
01/01/1923Dundee and Newtyle Railway
Arbroath and Forfar Railway
Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway
Caledonian Railway
Glasgow and South Western Railway
Callander and Oban Railway
Glasgow and Kilmarnock Joint Railway
Highland Railway
Cathcart District Railway
Killin Railway
Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway
Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Committee
Brechin and Edzell District Railway
Dornoch Light Railway
Wick and Lybster Light Railway
Grouped into London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
  /  /1930[Callander and Oban Railway]
Dalmally shed closed.
  /  /1938[Callander and Oban Railway]
Dalmally shed still standing, but demolished at some date afterwards.
07/06/1965[Callander and Oban Railway]
Closed to freight.
14/06/1965[Ballachulish Branch] ([Callander and Oban Railway])
Ballachulish (Glencoe) to Connel Ferry closed to freight.
27/09/1965[Callander and Oban Railway]
Landslide in Glen Ogle; line closed between Callander and Crianlarich.
28/09/1965[Callander and Oban Railway]
Crianlarich East Junction to Callander closed to all traffic.
01/11/1965[Callander and Oban Railway]
Crianlarich East Junction to Callander closed to passengers (landslide closed line on 28.9.65, bus service until end).
26/03/1966[Ballachulish Branch] ([Callander and Oban Railway])
Line closed completely between Connel Ferry and Ballachulish. (Alternative date 1/3/1966).
23/01/1989[Callander and Oban Railway]
Sprinters introduced on line.

Route described

~1902 capacity increased.

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.


Callander to Killin

Single track passenger and goods line from Callander and Oban Junction to Glenoglehead.

Junction


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The original 1870 station here had two platforms, a loop and a timber building. It replaced the original Callander [1st] terminus in the east of the town.
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The only train in Callander today; the barrel train beside the toilets at the rear of the Dreadnought Hotel. The car park on the site of the station ...
John Yellowlees 28/08/2017
A signal at Callander marking the start of the converted trackbed to Strathyre. It's not an original! ...
John Yellowlees 28/08/2017
Not far from the former ticket platform in Callander is an interesting set of railway relics; Signal, E&G milepost and sign. Wow. ...
John Yellowlees 28/08/2017
Looking west from the Ancaster Road over the site of Callander (Dreadnought) Station on 20 July 2015, with tour buses standing where trains once ...
Bill Roberton 20/07/2015



This was a passing loop, added due to the increase in traffic. Little remains to be seen of the loop, the line itself is now a dirt road, except a bridge over a stream which clearly carried two tracks. John Anderson's proposal to open a public station here was rejected by the landowner.
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This platform was for the use of railway staff and their families. It was a single platform built in timber alongside Rock Cottage. The platform was on the west side of the line.
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Cast Iron fence post still in situ, which also has manufacturer's name still readable. Picture was taken on a wee New Year's Day walk on the Rob Roy ...
Gordon Steel 01/01/2017
The stump of one of the rockfall signals, like their more famous counterparts in the Pass of Brander, seen at the side of Loch Lubnaig, Northbound on ...
Gordon Steel 05/02/2018
CR 123 about to run into a snowstorm near Craig-na-Cailleach platform on the shores of Loch Lubnaig between Callander and Strathyre. The date is 12 ...
John Robin 12/04/1963

Early in the history of the Callander and Oban Railway trains could halt at the north end of Loch Lubnaig for fishermen. There were probably no facilities and the location is uncertain. ...

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This was a two platform station with a loop. It was originally a single platform station, possibly doubled not long after opening. The station was noted for the ornate stork fountain of Cruachan granite, the choice of the stationmaster as a reward for many years of service. After station closure this was moved to the garden of a house in the village.
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The Strathyre station's heron fountain - relocated to a private garden - was the choice of retirement present to a long serving stationmaster. It ...
Ewan Crawford 10/06/2013
Much of the former Strathyre station is covered by a housing development known as Old Station Court. This view is towards Callander from the ...
Mark Bartlett 26/03/2009
This is a BR Publicity photographs designed to be handed out and used for promotional purposes. The wording on the back says roughly PR&PO British ...
PR&PO British Railways (Douglas Blades Collection) 18/03/1962
Nothing remains of Strathyre station but the Old Station Court road sign indicates where it was. This view is towards Balquhidder across the ...
Mark Bartlett 26/03/2009

This was a halt serving the nearby Kingshouse Inn (to the east) and road to Balqhidder Glen (to the west).
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This was a three platform station where the Callander and Oban Railway met the branch east to St Fillans and Comrie. It replaced Balquhidder [1st].
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The imposing frontage and entrance to Balquhidder station alongside the A84 looking north on 14 May 2008, showing the gated entrance to the former ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
A Black 5 stands at the head of a freight in the former Crieff branch platform at Balquhidder in 1961. [See image 16392] ...
David Stewart 09/09/1961
Stairway on the west side of Balquhidder station alongside the A84 looking south towards Callander in May 2008. The former passenger subway can be ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
The impressive stone frontage of Balquhidder station alongside the A84 in November 1999 - access to other platforms was via the underpass bottom ...
John Furnevel 01/11/1999

The original station here had a single platform with a timber building on a curve and a goods yard. The yard was to the north of the station, on the east side of the line. This yard opened to goods and mineral traffic before the railway was completed. A loop and second platform was added later. The main station building, at this time, was on the southbound platform, with a smaller one on the ...

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The site of the rockfall in Glen Ogle which blocked the line, leading to a premature closure. The location has been somewhat sanitised since my older ...
Ewan Crawford 19/08/2017
The site of the rock fall in Glen Ogle looking down to Balquhidder. Not much sign of further rock falls. [See image 28647]. ...
Ewan Crawford 19/08/2017
This is the rockfall which closed the Callander and Oban as it was in 1993. What? You can't see it? That's it, that small pile in the distant right. ...
Ewan Crawford //1993
Scene of the landslip that prematurely closed the Callander-Crianlarich section of the Callander & Oban line on 27th September 1965, photographed a ...
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) /12/1966

This is a 12 arch single track viaduct in Glen Ogle running along the steep eastern hillside of Meall Reamhar and Scorrach Nuadh. It may just about have been possible for the line to have followed the hillside but would have involved very tight curves. The viaduct flies out from the hillside and then rejoins it. To the immediate south is a three arch viaduct.
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The splendid twelve arch Glen Ogle Viaduct, as seen from the A85 on the opposite side of the glen, on a sunny 26th July 2018. Photo by Gayle Bartlett. ...
Mark Bartlett Collection 26/07/2018
Looking north from Glenoglehead Viaduct. ...
John Gray 30/03/2005
Glen Ogle viaduct seen in March 2009 ...
James Young 28/03/2009
Callander and Oban line. Glenoglehead Viaduct, October 2004. ...
John Gray //

This was the original terminus of the Callander and Oban Railway and located somewhat far away from its namesake the town of Killin which required a connecting stagecoach. Stagecoaches also continued the journey to other points west such as Tyndrum and Oban.
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The well maintained former station house and a section of the up platform at Glenoglehead Crossing in September 2005. View north along the C&O ...
John Furnevel 12/09/2005
The lichen covered former railway bridge at Glenoglehead seen from the south east in May 2008. For the view in the opposite direction [see image ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
Looking east along the trackbed of the Callander & Oban Railway in the spring of 2008 at the site of the north/west Glenoglehead distant signal. The ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
Derelict platelayers hut between Glenoglehead and Killin Junction. ...
John Gray 30/03/2005




Killin to Tyndrum

Single track passenger and goods line from Glenoglehead to Tyndrum [1st].

This was the original terminus of the Callander and Oban Railway and located somewhat far away from its namesake the town of Killin which required a connecting stagecoach. Stagecoaches also continued the journey to other points west such as Tyndrum and Oban.
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The well maintained former station house and a section of the up platform at Glenoglehead Crossing in September 2005. View north along the C&O ...
John Furnevel 12/09/2005
The lichen covered former railway bridge at Glenoglehead seen from the south east in May 2008. For the view in the opposite direction [see image ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
Looking east along the trackbed of the Callander & Oban Railway in the spring of 2008 at the site of the north/west Glenoglehead distant signal. The ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
Derelict platelayers hut between Glenoglehead and Killin Junction. ...
John Gray 30/03/2005

This was a three platform station with two platforms and a loop on the mainline, the up platform being an island the outer face of which chiefly served the Killin Railway and had a loop. Trains from the main line could access the branch platform line and loop from either end.
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Looking west about a mile short of Killin Junction on 14 May 2008, with logging activity taking place in the surrounding area and this site being used ...
John Furnevel 14/05/2008
Ambling down to the former Killin Junction station on the 'mainline'. The Killin Railway is below. ...
Ewan Crawford 19/08/2017
The overgrown island platform is all that remains of Killin Junction Station. ...
John Gray 23/07/2008
Hidden in the undergrowth, a chimney stack is all that remains of Killin Junction West signal box. ...
John Gray 23/07/2008

This is a disused single track three arch viaduct just west of the former Killin Junction station crossing the Ardchyle Burn. The burn is very much lower than the surrounding ground making this a viaduct which is about the same height as it is in length.
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Ardchyle Viaduct, just west of Killin Junction, seen from the south. This is a very high bridge, the Ardchyle Burn is some way below. ...
Ewan Crawford 20/04/2018
Ardchyle Viaduct, south side, crossing the Ardchyle Burn and showing the great height of the central span of the viaduct over the water course. ...
Ewan Crawford 20/04/2018
The remains of Killin Junction west distant signal. ...
John Gray 23/07/2008
A view along the top of the viaduct half a mile west of Killin Junction ...
John Gray 23/07/2008

This is an out of use single track three arch viaduct above Ledcharrie Farm which is to the north. The arches are reinforced with rails.
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Ledcharrie Viaduct seen from the north east. ...
Ewan Crawford 20/04/2018
Ledcharrie Viaduct seen from the south. If it appears to be on a slight slope that's because it actually is. The ground rises to the right, the ...
Ewan Crawford 20/04/2018
View of the trackbed on the viaduct about halfway between Luib and Killin Junction. ...
John Gray 23/07/2008
A shot of the metal reinforcing rods attached to the viaduct which is marked as bridge No 130 half way between Luib and Killin Junction. ...
John Gray 23/07/2008

This was a single girder bridge above Edravinoch Farm, which is to the north. The former bridge is east of the former Luib station and west of Ledcharrie Viaduct.
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Approaching the Half way point and a platelayers hut still stands 43 years after the line closed. It is built from railway sleepers and one wall is ...
John Gray 23/07/2008
A detour is required at this spot as the original bridge has been removed for scrap. Crossing the river via stepping stones was easy today but, in ...
John Gray 23/07/2008

This was a two platform station. The main station building was on the eastbound platform, the building being of the typical style of the extension of the Callander and Oban Railway from Glenoglehead to Tyndrum [1st].
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Luib station became a caravan site after closure in 1965 and hardly any railway features remain apart from this cattle creep, which was situated just ...
Mark Bartlett 30/05/2008
Satelite dishes attached to a culvert at the remains of Luib station now known as the Glen Dochart Caravan Park. From here the Line climbed to Killin ...
John Gray 23/07/2008

This was a two platform station. The station building on the down platform was a typical later Callander and Oban Railway timber building but with a canopy along the length of the building.
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37 405 arrives from Oban to take the timber train west to Oban. Note the base of a signalpost in the foreground. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
Having passed under the West Highland 37 403 heads west to Crianlarich Lower Junction to run back to Glasgow light engine. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
37 403 at Crianlarich Lower. This locomotive rejoiced in the name Glendarroch, an imaginary place in a television series. Line here now closed and ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
Looking west over Crianlarich Lower yard in 1985. ...
Bill Roberton //1985

This junction remains open - just. A short somewhat grassy siding runs east.
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At Lower Crianlarich Junction the former C&O remains as a grassy siding, at least not much worse than 10 years ago [see image 9831]. The name of the ...
Ewan Crawford 29/07/2016

Crianlarich Junction had an elaborate layout. The Callander and Oban Railway was doubled from west of the junction through the junction and further east, and the West Highland Railway was also double on approach to the junction. The junction was thus a double track junction. In addition, there were exchange sidings. This box controlled the west end of the layout. The junction and line up to ...

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This location name is somewhat artificial.
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This was the terminus at Tyndrum of the extension of the Callander and Oban Railway west from Killin [1st].
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Tyndrum to Dalmally

Single track passenger and goods line from Tyndrum Goods Ground Frame to Dalmally. This extension left the original Tyndrum station on a short branch, the original became a goods yard.

This location name is somewhat artificial.
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This is a single platform station.
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The mid-morning Glasgow to Oban service pulls out of Tyndrum Lower. The conductor is assured that, despite form, I wasn't going to get back on again. ...
David Panton 31/10/2018
An Oban service calls at Tyndrum Lower on 1st November 2017. It's running late because of a delayed Up service and will in turn delay the next Up ...
David Panton 01/11/2017
44871 and 45407 top and tail The West Highlander coming out of the sun on 23 September on the gradient between Crianlarich and Tyndrum on the ...
John Gray 23/09/2014
Westbound at Tyndrum Lower. ...
Ewan Crawford //


This was a passing loop opened in 1882 to increase capacity of the line. It broke the single track section between Tyndrum Lower and Dalmally.
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This is the stump of the up starter at Glenlochy Crossing seen in 1994. The view looks east. ...
Ewan Crawford //1994
This footbridge was the approach to the signal box and loop at Glenlochy Crossing (a former loop between Dalmally and Tyndrum). This was one of the ...
Ewan Crawford //1994


This is a two platform station. The main station building is on the up platform and is stone-built with a glass canopy over the platform. The signal box ('C' listed) still stands. Station cottages stand nearby.
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Dalmally in 1985. Still with semaphores and something soon to arrive. The box was of a style used latterly on the line, another example being at ...
Bill Roberton 28/09/1985
Dalmally, still with semaphores, in 1985. Something westbound is due. This wonderful building still had a ticket office at this date. Fortunately it ...
Bill Roberton 28/09/1985
The signal box at Dalmally station in April 2005, seen from the westbound platform. ...
John Furnevel 15/04/2005
Icelandic knitters take train to Dalmally! ...
John Yellowlees 14/03/2016





Dalmally to Oban

Single track passenger and goods line from Dalmally to Oban.

This is a two platform station. The main station building is on the up platform and is stone-built with a glass canopy over the platform. The signal box ('C' listed) still stands. Station cottages stand nearby.
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Dalmally in 1985. Still with semaphores and something soon to arrive. The box was of a style used latterly on the line, another example being at ...
Bill Roberton 28/09/1985
Dalmally, still with semaphores, in 1985. Something westbound is due. This wonderful building still had a ticket office at this date. Fortunately it ...
Bill Roberton 28/09/1985
The signal box at Dalmally station in April 2005, seen from the westbound platform. ...
John Furnevel 15/04/2005
Icelandic knitters take train to Dalmally! ...
John Yellowlees 14/03/2016

This is a seven single track span girder viaduct crossing the River Orchy. It is the longest viaduct on the Callander and Oban Railway route.
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Orchy Viaduct between Dalmally and Lochawe on the West Highland Line.
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Norman Bews //
An eastbound Sprinter crosses the Orchy Viaduct under a perfect blue sky in December 2012. ...
Ewan Crawford 11/12/2012


This is a single platform station alongside Loch Awe with a footbridge giving access to a pier over the line. Above is Loch Awe Hotel which may be reached by a staircase up a cliff.
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ScotRail 156500 at Loch Awe station on 1 October 2014. ...
John Yellowlees 01/10/2014
The notorious narrow road bridge west of Loch Awe station, seen from the west with an Oban bound 156 approaching the camera. The view is from 1991, ...
Ewan Crawford //1991
Loch Awe Hotel, perched above Loch Awe station, viewed across - you guessed it - Loch Awe. The former 'tea train', now accommodation, can be seen at ...
Ewan Crawford 10/06/2013
View over Loch Awe Station on a bright and sunny 10 July, looking towards Dalmally. ...
John Gray 10/07/2013

This is a small single platform near the Falls of Cruachan and Cruachan Hydro Electric Scheme visitor's centre.
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Falls of Cruachan station showing part of the legacy of Brian Bentham [see news item]. ...
ScotRail //2011
The platform at Falls of Cruachan on 13 February 2013. View west towards Oban. ...
John Yellowlees 13/02/2013
Soggy passengers look east at Falls of Cruachan. Note semaphore signal part of Andersons Piano - a rockfall protection system. ...
Ewan Crawford //1988
Scene at Falls of Cruachan in August 1987, a year before reopening. ...
Ian Dinmore /08/1987

This is a single track viaduct with castellated parapets. It crosses at the Falls of Cruachan, just west of Falls of Cruachan station.
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37 405 heading west from Loch Awe to the Pass of Brander. The signals are part of Anderson's Piano which detects rockfalls. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990

A series of 17 stone signals protects the line from rock falls in the Pass of Brander. The line protected included Falls of Cruachan and Awe Crossing. The length of line is 3.2 miles.
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Crunachy Siding looking east, in 1991, with the west end of Loch Awe off to the right. This loading bank was located between Taynuilt and Awe ...
Ewan Crawford //1991



This is a two platform station which retains its 1921 signal box. The signal box was re-located from the west end of the station for use as a waiting room. The main station building was demolished following a fire. There are sidings, now used as a Permanent Way base. ...

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Taynuilt Signal Box in the snow. ...
John Yellowlees 12/01/2017
Platform scene at Taynuilt in 1990. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
37s crossing at Taynuilt in 1989. The view looks east to Ben Cruachan with the now removed station building behind the locomotives 37403 (Oban bound) ...
Ewan Crawford //1989
Taynuilt signal box, April 2005. ...
John Furnevel /04/2005

This was a single platform station with a station building. The building is now demolished but platform remains in place. Nearby was an associated ferry pier for Loch Etive. ...

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Eastbound 37 hauled train at Ach-na-cloich. Station building now demolished. ...
Ewan Crawford //1988
Ach-na-cloich. Sadly the old station building has gone. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This is a single platform station with a shelter. At the east end of the station is a goods loop and oil siding (both out of use).
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55260 with the Ballachulish branch train at Connel Ferry in September 1961. ...
David Stewart 09/09/1961
Overview of Connel Ferry station from the east showing the out of use oil siding at the east end of the station. The oil depot remains in use. ...
Ewan Crawford 10/06/2013
Remains of the old loading ramp at Connel Ferry [see image 32319] still there in June 2010 at the time the bridge on the aborted link direct to the ...
Colin Miller 29/06/2010
The first train of the day for Oban, formed by Corkerhill Sprinter 156467, pulls in to a deserted Connel Ferry station, where the track has recently ...
Mark Bartlett 27/03/2009


This crossing was opened to break the single track section between Oban and Connel Ferry at Glencruitten Summit.
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This oil siding is no longer in use and the connection has been taken out. The oil siding was all that remained of the very much cut back goods facilities and locomotive shed in Oban.
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A closed goods yard south of the passenger terminus in Oban. The location is also known as Oban Goods or Oban High Level Goods. There were a number of sidings here and the Oban Shed, of which the turntable pit remains. An oil siding remained in use here until the early 1990s. ...

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Oil tanks in the high level goods siding above Oban Bay looking south in 1990. Originally the Lochavullin goods yard was off to the left, this siding ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
The site of Lochavullin Goods and the old Oban cattle market viewed from the south. [See image 53163]. ...
Ewan Crawford 10/06/2013
37401 reversing an oil train into the siding from Oban Goods ground frame in the 1990s. The siding was 'taken out of use' in 2011 after a period of ...
Ewan Crawford Collection //
View over the oil depot at Oban Goods on 5 July 1991. This siding was near the location of the turntable at Oban shed. ...
Bill Roberton 05/07/1991

This is a terminus at a ferry pier on Oban Bay. Oban is a major port for the islands with Caledonian MacBrayne operating services to Mull, Lismore and beyond.
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Calmac Ferry MV Clansman arriving at Oban Pier in May 2016. ...
Gordon Steel 24/05/2016
First ScotRail 156450 stands in the sunshine at Oban shortly after noon on 28 April 2015. The DMU had arrived earlier as the 0820 from Glasgow Queen ...
John Furnevel 28/04/2015
A shot of the 12 11 service to Glasgow Queen Street climbing out of Oban on Sunday 10th September 2017 on the way to Glencruiten. The Sprinter is ...
Brian Smith 09/09/2017
A quiet afternoon at Oban on 20 October 2007 as a Scot Rail Class 156 waits for the return journey back to Glasgow. ...
John McIntyre 20/10/2007