Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway

Introduction

This line is closed. The railway ran from Spean Bridge on the West Highland Railway to Fort Augustus.

It was conceived as being the first part of a new route to Inverness from the south. Construction was expensive and it was built to a high standard with fine castellated viaducts and large stations.

The line had a very chequered early history, for a time making more money closed than open, before become a branch of the West Highland Railway until closing after the Second World War.

Despite the long closure much of the route remains obvious and much of the trackbed is walkable and carries an official walking route, the Great Glen Way .

John Thomas, in Forgotten Railways: Scotland, described its remains best, alluding to Robert Burns' A Red, Red Rose:

The Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway, carved out of the mountain slopes, will be there until the rocks melt with the sun.






Dates

  /  /1896[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway authorised.
14/08/1896[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Act passed.
02/02/1897[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
First sod cut.
14/07/1903[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Final inspection by the Board of Trade.
21/07/1903[Highland Railway]
[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Act passed which allows the Highland Railway to operate the services over the Fort Augustus line.
22/07/1903[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[Highland 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.
22/07/1903[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Aberchalder opened.
01/07/1904[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Invergloy platform opened.
30/09/1906[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Fort Augustus Pier station and line to Fort Augustus station closed.
30/04/1907[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[Highland Railway]
Highland Railway withdrawn locomotives and rolling stock.
01/05/1907[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[North British Railway]
North British Railway start running service.
30/10/1911[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Invergloy platform closed.
31/10/1911[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[North British Railway]
Line closed to all traffic as North British withdraws.
01/11/1911[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Aberchalder closed.
01/08/1913[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[North British Railway]
Line re-opened by North British.
01/08/1913[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Aberchalder re-opened.
28/08/1914[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[North British Railway]
North British Railway (Invergarry and Fort Augustus) vesting and confirmation act passed as the North British buys the line.
31/12/1914[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
[North British Railway]
North British Railway buys line and railway hotel at Fort Augustus.
01/12/1933[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Line closed to all but a weekly coal train.
01/12/1933[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Fort Augustus to Spean Bridge closed to passengers. (Also given as 31/12/1933).
01/12/1933[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Aberchalder closed.
  /  /1939[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
During Second World War the freight train runs every day in connection with logging activities
  /  /1945[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Withdrawal of daily freight train.
31/12/1946[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Line closed and track lifting commences.
01/01/1947[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
Fort Augustus to Spean Bridge closed to freight.
28/03/1947[Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway]
One coach special run for prospective hiring (by a timber merchant). Line not hired.

Locations along the line

These locations are along the line.

This is a two platform station with a passing loop. The main station building, altered at the road side, remains standing. There is a disused signal box ('C' listed) dating from 1949. A goods yard siding, now in use for permanent way purposes, remains.
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Spean Bridge station seen from above, just to the south of the station. On the left is the I&FAR building and on the right the WHR building (only the ...
Ewan Crawford Collection //
Mid-morning trains cross at Spean Bridge on 3rd June 2016. ...
David Spaven 03/06/2016
Period platform furniture at Spean Bridge in 1977. The bus service is a reminder of the branch to Fort Augustus, the Invergarry and Fort Augustus ...
Bill Roberton //1977
Spean Bridge's 'new' signal box in 1977 before RETB. ...
Bill Roberton //1977

This shed was located to the west of the station on the north side of the junction. The building survived into the 1990s. ...

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This was a girder viaduct over the River Spean close to the junction at Spean Bridge station.
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On the the central piers of the I&FA's bridge over the River Spean. ...
Ewan Crawford 21/09/2008
This is the southern abutment of the I&FA's bridge over the River Spean. It is roughly half way between the present road bridge over the Spean, at ...
Ewan Crawford 21/09/2008

This was an island platform station with a building typical of the line. There was a signal box to the south of the station building and a generous goods yard laid out on the east side. Access to the platform was by a ramp.
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Gairlochy viewed from the south in 1991, east side of the former station. ...
Ewan Crawford //1991
Site of Gairlochy station looking north towards Fort Augustus in September 2005. The original line has been replaced by the roadway to the right. ...
John Furnevel 28/09/2005
Looking south over the former Gairlochy station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Looking north along the trackbed of the Fort Augustus branch as it passes the remains of the bridge at the south end of the former Gairlochy station ...
John Furnevel 28/09/2005

This was a single platform provided for Invergloy House one year after the line's opening. The platform was in timber as was the waiting shelter. ...

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This passing loop was high above the east bank of Loch Lochy, above Letterfinlay Lodge.
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The solum of the Fort Augustus branch high above Loch Lochy in Summer 1966. The weekly coal train, which continued after passenger closure in 1933, ...
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) //1966

This was an island platform station with a building similar to those on the West Highland Railway. The building's canopy on the west side extended over the down loop, probably due to the proximity of Invergarry House. The portion over the loop was cut back in later years. The signal box was north of the station building.
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Heritage Railway Association visit to Invergarry: lamppost. ...
John Yellowlees 02/04/2017
A closer view of the locomotive at Invergarry taken during a Heritage Railway Association visit. ...
John Yellowlees 02/04/2017
The information board seen on a Heritage Railway Association visit today to Invergarry. ...
John Yellowlees 02/04/2017
Heritage Railway Association visit to Invergarry: view of the station from the Fort Augustus end. ...
John Yellowlees 02/04/2017

This is a single track tunnel on the east side of Loch Oich. It is located to the south of Aberchalder. ...

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North east portal of Loch Oich Tunnel, 28/07/05. ...
John Gray //
Interior of Loch Oich Tunnel, 28/07/05. ...
John Gray //

This was a one platform station on the east side of a loop. The loop was un-signalled and was for goods use. There was a siding on the west side, approached from the south. The station building was typical of the line, similar to those on the Mallaig Extension.
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Cattle creep near Aberchalder, 28/07/05. ...
John Gray //
An aqueduct for diverting water away from the line. There are two of these. The state of the trackbed can also be seen. ...
John Gray //
Ornate Bridge almost half way between Invergarry Station site and Aberchalder, 28/07/05. ...
John Gray //
Top view of aqueduct, 28/07/05. ...
John Gray //

Dates are assumed.
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View of the former RNAD depot, and its platform, at Fort Augustus. This was just south of the station on the east side of the line. This view looks ...
Ewan Crawford //2000

This was a three platform station. There was a through platform for the line to Fort Augustus Pier and two bay platforms. On the east side of the station was the goods yard, with goods shed and a two road locomotive shed. The station building was reminiscent of the West Highland style, but at ninety degrees to the line. The platforms were in concrete, as were many structures of this line. ...

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Concrete structure carrying the old railway line over a watercourse in Fort Augustus. July 2017.
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Alan Cormack 17/07/2017
Remains of the Fort Augustus pier branch crossing a stream just short of the missing road bridge. 30th June 2018.
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John Yellowlees 30/06/2018
This is where the old line crosses the main road out of Fort Augustus down to the pier on Loch Ness. If only the line had been built linking Fort ...
Alan Cormack 17/07/2017
A surviving bridge in Fort Augustus, where the railway crossed the canal and this adjacent structure.
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Alan Cormack 09/07/2017

This was a single track girder bridge with castellated piers.
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Remains of the Oich Viaduct, on the long closed Fort Augustus railway, seen on 30th June 2018. ...
John Yellowlees 30/06/2018
Looking south towards the former viaduct at Fort Augustus on the Fort Augustus Pier branch. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The support columns of the viaduct that carried the railway over the River Oich to the pier on Loch Ness. ...
John Gray 29/04/2007
The remains of the old viaduct at Fort Augustus rising Excalibur - like (sorry about that) from the River Oich in November 2002. ...
John Furnevel 02/11/2002

This station was north of Fort Augustus station on the west side of Loch Ness.
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Looking north over Fort Augustus Pier station and pier by Loch Ness. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Cutting between Fort Augustus station and Fort Augustus Pier station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The Fort Augustus Pier station and pier viewed across Loch Ness from the slopes of the Borlum Hill. This station closed in 1906. It rejoiced in a sign ...
Ewan Crawford 21/09/2008