Highland Railway


This company provided services between Perth, Inverness, Elgin, Keith, Kyle of Lochalsh, Thurso and Wick. Most routes are still open and today passengers services are provided by ScotRail. The company came into being by a series of amalgamations.

In particular, the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway and Inverness and Perth Junction Railway merged to form the Highland Railway.

The Highland Railway Society studies and preserves the memory of the former company.


29/06/1865Inverness and Aberdeen Junction RailwayInverness and Perth Junction RailwayHighland Railway
Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway and Inverness and Perth Junction Railway merger: company named the Highland Railway.
03/07/1865Aberfeldy Branch (Highland Railway)
Ballinluig to Aberfeldy opened.
19/06/1871Duke of Sutherlands Railway
Golspie (Sutherland Railway) to Dunrobin opened, Dunrobin becomes private station for the Duke of Sutherland. West Helmsdale to Helmsdale opened. Highland Railway works line.
24/04/1877Dingwall and Skye Railway
Highland Railway takes over steamer operations.
17/04/1880Dingwall and Skye Railway
Highland Railway abandons steamer operations in favour of David MacBrayne.
01/09/1880Dingwall and Skye RailwayHighlandRailway
Amalgamation with Highland Railway.
  /  /1884Duke of Sutherlands RailwayHighland Railway
Duke of Sutherlands Railway absorbed by Highland Railway.
  /  /1884Sutherland RailwayHighland Railway
Sutherland Railway absorbed by Highland Railway.
28/07/1884Sutherland and Caithness RailwayHighland Railway
Sutherland and Caithness Railway absorbed by Highland Railway.
  /  /1885[Strathpeffer Branch] ([Highland Railway])
Strathpeffer [2nd] station built to design of Murdoch Paterson.
01/06/1885Dingwall and Skye Railway
Strathpeffer [1st] renamed Auchterneed for opening of Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway).
03/06/1885Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opens.
01/05/1886Buckie and Portessie Branch (Highland Railway)
Portessie station and junction opened with the opening of the Moray Coast Railway (Great North of Scotland Railway).
  /  /1889West Highland Railway
Fort William [Fort]'s wall breached for railway building.
29/01/1889West Highland Railway
Charles Forman (of engineers Forman & McCall), James Bulloch (Formans chief engineer), J.E. Harrison (assistant engineer), Robert McAlpine (contractor), John Bett (factor of the Breadalbane Estates), Major Martin (factor of the Poltalloch estates) and N.B. MacKenzie (solicitor, local agent for the railway company) meet at a hotel in Spean Bridge to conduct a survey of the proposed route of the line over Rannoch Moor
30/01/1889West Highland Railway
The party are taken by coach from Spean Bridge to Inverlair Lodge. The party set out to walk from Inverlair Lodge to the north end of Loch Treig. The party are rowed from the north end of Loch Treig to the south end and stay overnight at Lord Abingers Craig-uaine-ach lodge.
31/01/1889West Highland Railway
The party set out to walk to Rannoch Lodge, the change their minds and decide to continue to Inveroran. The party split in poor weather conditions as it darkens, McAlpine decided to go on to Inveroran and Bulloch heads to Gorton cottage. Bulloch reaches Gorton. Forman, McKenzie, Martin, Harrison and Bett are taken to a nearby hut by shepherds from Gorton.
01/02/1889West Highland Railway
McAlpine reaches a cottage by Loch Tulla. Forman, McKenzie, Martin, Harrison and Bett are taken to Gorton to join Bulloch. The party are taken to Inveroran, via Loch Tulla to pick up McAlpine.
02/02/1889West Highland Railway
A blizzard covers Rannoch Moor and the party have to work their way through deep drifting to reach Tyndrum station on the Callander and Oban Railway.
12/08/1889West Highland Railway
Act passed and West Highland Railway authorised.
23/10/1889West Highland Railway
First sod cut by Lord Abinger near Fort William.
20/07/1890West Highland Railway
Banavie [1st] branch authorised.
  /07/1891West Highland Railway
Runs out of money when the contractor requests further funds, and construction is abandoned.
  /08/1891West Highland Railway
In a court case held in Dumbarton the contractor is told that the line must be built for the amount specified in the contract.
14/10/1891West Highland Railway
Work re-starts, though the West Highland Railway agrees to pay an extra £10,000.
08/07/1892Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Aviemore to Carrbridge opened.
  /  /1893West Highland Railway
Financial crisis; Mr John Harrison Renton, a director of the line, used part of his personal fortune to get the line completed.
03/09/1893Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway (Highland Railway)
Contracts for extension let to John Best.
05/09/1893West Highland Railway
Last spike driven by Mr John Hattison Renton on Rannoch Moor.
16/10/1893Fochabers Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened.
  /  /1894Sharp, Stewart and Co Ltd Highlan Railway
Build a 4-6-0 for the Highland Railway, who number it 103.
01/02/1894Fortrose Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened.
01/07/1894Fochabers Branch (Highland Railway)
Fochabers renamed Fochabers Town.
31/07/1894West Highland Railway
West Highland Railway (Mallaig Extension Railway) Act Passed.
03/08/1894West Highland Railway
Opened from Craigendoran Junction to Fort William and Banavie Pier.
03/08/1894West Highland Railway
Inspection by Board of Trade.
07/08/1894West Highland Railway
Public opening from Fort William to Craigendoran. Stations opened at Craigendoran Upper, Helensburgh Upper, Row, Garelochhead, Arrochar and Tarbet, Ardlui, Crianlarich, Tyndrum [WHR], Bridge of Orchy, Gortan (private), Rannoch, Corrour (private), Inverlair, Roy Bridge, Spean Bridge and Fort William [1st].
11/08/1894West Highland Railway
Ceremonial opening.
04/09/1894West Highland Railway
Helensburgh to Garelochhead train de-railed at Woodend Farm Crossing by a stone placed on the line.
01/11/1894West Highland Railway
Refreshment baskets available at Arrochar and Tarbet.
20/12/1894Callander and Oban Railway
Spur from Crianlarich station (West Highland Railway) to Crianlarich Junction [CandO] opened. New passing loop at Crianlarich Junction [CandO] allows removal of up platform and loop at Crianlarich [CandO] station.
01/01/1895West Highland Railway
Inverlair renamed Tulloch.
27/05/1895West Highland Railway
Glen Douglas siding opened.
01/06/1895West Highland Railway
Banavie [1st] branch opened.
  /07/1895West Highland Railway
Refreshment baskets available at Crianlarich [NBR] .
01/05/1896West Highland Railway
Whistlefield opened.
06/05/1896West Highland Railway
De-railment at Banavie Junction [1st] (now Fort William Junction).
  /08/1896West Highland Railway
West Highland Railway (Ballachulish Extension Act) passed, but not built.
21/01/1897West Highland Railway
First sod of Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway) cut at Corpach by Lady Margaret Cameron of Lochiel.
19/07/1897Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Carrbridge to Daviot opened. This section includes the Aultnaslanach Viaduct, the only timber railway viaduct left in Scotland.
02/11/1897Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway (Highland Railway)
Line opened from Stromeferry to new terminus and pier at Kyle of Lochalsh. Stations at; Plockton, Duirinish and Kyle of Lochalsh.
20/12/1897West Highland Railway
Connection to Callander and Oban Railway at Crianlarich opened, from Crianlarich Junction to Crianlarich Junction [CandO].
01/11/1898Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Daviot to Inverness, Millburn Junction, opened.
01/07/1899Fort George Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened. The original Fort George [1st] station on the Inverness and Nairn Railway was sited slightly further west and renamed Gollanfield Junction.
01/04/1901Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Line opened from Banavie to Mallaig, extending the West Highland Railway to Mallaig. Engineer; Robert McAlpine.
22/07/1901West Highland Railway
Sleeper cars from Kings Cross to Fort William commence.
21/07/1903Highland RailwayInvergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Act passed which allows the Highland Railway to operate the services over the Fort Augustus line.
22/07/1903Invergarry and Fort Augustus RailwayHighland Railway
Line opened by Mrs Ellic of Glengarry, service operated by the [Highland Railway] who were keen to keep the North British Railway away from Inverness. Steamers connected the Pier station to Inverness via Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal.
  /  /1906Great North of Scotland RailwayHighland Railway
Amalgamation of the Great North of Scotland Railway with the Highland Railway falls through.
08/08/1906West Highland Railway
Accident at Pulpit Rock, by Loch Lomond.
30/04/1907Invergarry and Fort Augustus RailwayHighland Railway
Highland Railway withdrawn locomotives and rolling stock from the Invergarry line and ceases its operation.
31/12/1908North British RailwayWest Highland Railway
North British Railway formally takes over the West Highland Railway line from Craigendoran to Mallaig and the branch to Banavie [1st].
06/12/1909West Highland Railway
Accident at Glen Douglas.
18/06/1914Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Bridge collapse at Baddengorm Burn Bridge (by Carrbridge). Train crashes due to missing bridge.
  /  /1917Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway (Highland Railway)
Rail served American Mine base operating in Kyle of Lochalsh.
  /  /1918[Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway (Highland Railway)]]
American Mine base closed. This received mines to be transported to US Naval Base 18.
  /  /1920Dingwall and Skye Railway
Highland Railway purchases Loan Crossing from Admiralty.
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.
01/06/1924West Highland Railway
Row renamed Rhu.
01/05/1926West Highland Railway
Gortan renamed Gorton.
08/07/1929West Highland Railway
Restaurant car introduced.
  /10/1929West Highland Railway
Sleepers start to operate all year round.
27/01/1931West Highland Railway
De-railment in Rannoch Moor.
06/07/1931West Highland Railway
A loop added at Rhu.
01/08/1931West Highland Railway
Fersit Halt and branch opened, Loch Treig was to be converted into a reservoir to serve the smelter at Fort William.
14/09/1931[Fochabers Branch] ([Highland Railway])
Fochabers Town to Orbliston Junction closed to passengers.
07/08/1932West Highland Railway
Loch Treig diversion and tunnel opened. The line was re-aligned at a higher level as the Loch became a reservoir, part of the Lochaber Smelter scheme.
  /  /1934Highland Railway
London, Midland and Scottish Railway withdraw locomotive 103.
09/07/1934Welsh Highland Railway
Nantmor Halt renamed Aberglaslyn.
15/09/1934West Highland Railway
Corrour opened to the public having been a private halt.
01/01/1935West Highland Railway
Fersit closed.
28/09/1936Welsh Highland Railway
Aberglaslyn closed.
  /09/1937Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway (Highland Railway)
Stromeferry pier demolished.
02/09/1939West Highland Railway
Banavie [1st] branch closed to passengers.
04/09/1939West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) closed to passengers.
02/10/1939West Highland Railway
Sleeper withdrawn.
28/04/1940Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Box opened at Duirinish.
27/04/1941West Highland Railway
Faslane Junction (Croy) opened with exchange sidings for a double track railway to Military Port #1, Faslane Military Port.
21/12/1941West Highland Railway
New signal box and longer loop opened at Helensburgh Upper to help with Faslane traffic.
15/11/1942West Highland Railway
Camus-na-ha Signal Box opened.
26/03/1943West Highland Railway
Corpach Naval Sidings opened.
05/04/1943Fort George Branch (Highland Railway)
Fort George to Gollanfield Junction closed to passengers.
05/04/1944West Highland Railway
Restaurant cars withdrawn.
26/08/1945West Highland Railway
Faslane Platform opened, for moving prisoners of war to the halts at Inveruglas Platform and Glenfalloch Platform in connection with the building of the Loch Sloy Hydro Electric scheme.
28/10/1945Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Railway (Highland Railway)
Temporary box at Duirinish closed.
29/10/1945West Highland Railway
Inveruglas Platform, signal box and loop opened.
23/02/1946Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] branch closes to passengers (Alternative date: 2 March 1946).
02/03/1946Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] branch closes to passengers (Alternative date: 23 February 1946).
10/04/1946West Highland Railway
Glenfalloch Platform opened.
  /06/1946West Highland Railway
Restaurant cars re-start.
23/05/1949West Highland Railway
Passenger services between Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Crianlarich and Oban start.
23/05/1949Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Duncraig Halt opened to public.
26/03/1951Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] to Dingwall (Fodderty Junction) closed to freight (complete closure).
06/08/1951West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) closed to freight.
01/10/1951Fortrose Branch (Highland Railway)
Fortrose to Muir of Ord closed to passengers.
01/02/1954Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Duirinish closed to goods.
17/04/1954West Highland Railway
Collision at Bridge of Orchy.
09/01/1956West Highland Railway
Rhu closed.
24/09/1956West Highland Railway
Television train runs.
11/08/1958Fort George Branch (Highland Railway)
Fort George to Gollanfield Junction closed to freight.
04/04/1960West Highland Railway
Rhu re-opened.
13/06/1960Fortrose Branch (Highland Railway)
Fortrose to Muir of Ord closed to freight.
14/06/1964West Highland Railway
Craigendoran (West Highland, high level), Rhu, Shandon, Whistlefield and Glen Douglas closed as the local service from Craigendoran to Arrochar and Tarbet is withdrawn.
21/07/1968West Highland Railway
Glasgow bound track at Helensburgh Upper lifted and signal box closed.
13/06/1975West Highland Railway
New Fort William station opened, old station Fort William [1st], by the pier, closed.
  /  /1980West Highland Railway
As the Pulp Mill at Scottish Pulp and Paper Mills, Corpach, closes much traffic is lost.
  /  /1983Mallaig Extension Railway (West Highland Railway)
Re-introduction of observation cars in the summer.
  /  /1983West Highland Railway
Sunday service introduced.
  /  /1984West Highland Railway
Steam trains return to the line.
  /  /1984Mallaig Extension Railway (West Highland Railway)
Steam trains return to the line. This is now a regular occurrence each summer.
26/09/2001West Highland Railway
Fort William Oil Depot re-opened.
08/09/2002Inverness and Nairn RailwayInverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Blocked by flood-water.