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.

Callander (Dreadnought)

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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St Bride's Crossing

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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Craig-na-Cailleach Platform

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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Loch Lubnaig Fishing Halt

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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Strathyre

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...

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Kingshouse Platform

This was a halt serving the nearby Kingshouse Inn (to the east) and road to Balqhidder Glen (to the west).
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Balquhidder [2nd]

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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Balquhidder [1st]

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...

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Glen Ogle Viaduct

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...

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Glenoglehead Crossing

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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Killin to Tyndrum

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

Glenoglehead Crossing

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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Killin Junction

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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Ardchyle Viaduct

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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Ledcharrie Viaduct

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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Edravinoch Bridge

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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Luib

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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Crianlarich Lower

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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Lower Crianlarich Junction

This junction remains open - just. A short somewhat grassy siding runs east.
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Crianlarich West Box

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...

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Tyndrum Goods Ground Frame

This location name is somewhat artificial.
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Tyndrum [1st]

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.

Tyndrum Goods Ground Frame

This location name is somewhat artificial.
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Tyndrum Lower

This is a single platform station.
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Dalmally

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 signalbox still stands. Station cottages stand nearby.
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Dalmally to Oban

Single track passenger and goods line from Dalmally to Oban.

Dalmally

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 signalbox still stands. Station cottages stand nearby.
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Orchy Viaduct

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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Loch Awe

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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Falls of Cruachan

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 Viaduct

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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Pass of Brander Stone Signals

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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Taynuilt

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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Ach-na-Cloich

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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Connel Ferry

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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Oban Oil Depot Ground Frame

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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Lochavullin Goods

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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Oban

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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