Inverness and Ross-shire Railway

Introduction

This line is open. It ran from Inverness to Bonar Bridge before being extended north by several companies. Passenger services are provided by ScotRail from Inverness to Thurso and Wick. This line was the first in the chain of lines now known as the Far North Line.

The line is supported and promoted by the Friends of the Far North Line .



Dates

03/07/1860[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Inverness and Ross-shire Railway Act received; line to be built from Inverness to Invergordon. Engineer : Joseph Mitchell. Contractor (Inverness to Dingwall) : Meakin.
19/09/1860[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
First sod cut.
  /03/1861[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Dingwall to Invergordon contract awarded to MacDonald & Grieve.
  /12/1861[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Keystone of the Ness Viaduct inserted by Miss Mitchell, the engineer's daughter.
  /  /1862[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Invergordon station built to Joseph Mitchells plans
11/06/1862[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Inverness to Dingwall opened. (Connection made from Harbour line to new platforms in Inverness station, new railway makes connection with the Harbour line. The Harbour line is renamed the Rose Street Curve).
30/06/1862Inverness and Ross-shire RailwayInverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway
Inverness and Ross-shire Railway absorbed by Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway.
25/03/1863[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Dingwall to Invergordon opened.
11/05/1863[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Ross-shire Extension Act passed authorising Invergordon to Bonar Bridge.
  /  /1864[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Clunes opened.
01/06/1864[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Invergordon to Meikle Ferry opened.
01/10/1864[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Meikle Ferry to Bonar Bridge opened.
13/04/1868Sutherland Railway
Bonar Bridge (Inverness and Ross-shire Railway) to Golspie opened with stations at: Invershin, Lairg, Rogart, The Mound and Golspie.
  /  /1869Inverness and Ross-shire Railway
Parkhill [IRR] renamed Kildary to save confusion with Parkhill [FBR] on the Formartine and Buchan Railway.
  /  /1869[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Clachnaharry station opened.
  /  /1869[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Meikle Ferry station closed.
  /  /1901[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Line between Clachnaharry and Lentran doubled.
  /  /1909[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Clachnaharry Swing Bridge installed.
  /  /1911[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Loop installed at Conon.
  /  /1913[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Clachnaharry station closed.
  /11/1922[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Muir of Ords station buildings burn down.
  /  /1924[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Gauntleted junction at Clachnaharry station replaced by a turnout slightly further north.
13/06/1960[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Beauly station closed.
13/06/1960[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Alness station closed.
07/05/1973[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Alness station re-opened.
  /  /1986[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Invergordon Aluminium Works sidings closed.
07/02/1989[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Ness Viaduct, Inverness, collapses, separating the Thurso, Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh lines from the rest of the network. Dingwall becomes a terminus, Muir of Ord becomes a train maintenance depot and buses operate between Inverness and Dingwall while a new bridge is built.
07/02/1989Inverness and Ross-shire Railway
Ness Viaduct, Inverness, collapses.
  /  /2002[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway]
Beauly station re-opened.

Locations along the line

These locations are along the line.

This is a seven platform terminus for services to and from locations to the south such as Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Edinburgh Waverley and London, and locations north and west such as Kyle of Lochalsh, Thurso and Wick.
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Emblem of the Highland Railway Company at Inverness station. ...
Crinan Dunbar 21/08/2018
A barrel train on the platform at Inverness station with two much larger friends on either side. ...
John Yellowlees 18/08/2017
158 719 arrives at Inverness with the 1209 ex Dyce bang on time at 1409. Every station on route showed it formed of 2 coaches but when it appeared 719 ...
Caleb Abbott 27/06/2018

This junction was formed in 1862 with the opening of the Inverness and Ross-shire Railway as far as Dingwall. The new line connected with the Inverness Harbour branch of the Inverness and Nairn Railway of 1855.
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D8033 on a freight to the north in 1960. The photograph is from the end of the northern platforms at Inverness station. ...
David Murray-Smith 06/04/1960
D8033 on the station bypass at Rose Street Junction in Inverness with a freight to the north in 1960. ...
David Murray-Smith 06/04/1960
Rose Street cabin, Inverness. This controlled the 3 northern platforms and both main lines along The Rose Street Curve. An up loop and the north entry ...
Brian Forbes /04/1988
An EWS Class 66 passes Inverness Depot with the Safeway intermodal service from Georgemas Junction in 2000. A DRS-operated train for Tesco is now ...
Bill Roberton //2000

This junction was east of the Clachnaharry Swing Bridge and west of the Ness Viaduct. It was the start of the short branch south to Muirtown Basin. Both the main line and branch were single track. A signal box was present from opening in 1877. This was replaced with a ground frame before closure. Closure was either in 1969 or 1970.
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Canal Junction, Inverness, start of the short branch to Muirtown Basin. The embankment of the Far North line is to the left and the curve of the ...
Ewan Crawford 23/07/2010

This 126 ft girder railway swing bridge crosses the Caledonian Canal near Inverness where the canal passes between Muirtown Basin (to the south) and Clachnaharry Sea Lock. The railway crossing over has the former Clachnaharry station to the west and former Canal Junction [Inverness] to the east.
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Clachnaharry signalbox, 1990. At this time the line was closed due to the collapse of the Ness Viaduct, allowing some care and maintenance of the ...
Bill Roberton //1990
Fishing boat heading south along the Caledonian Canal past Clachnaharry swing bridge. ...
Bill Roberton 28/03/1988
158718 crosses the Caledonian Canal swing bridge at Clachnaharry on Friday 22nd May 2009 with the 11:03 Inverness - Kyle of Lochalsh.
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Malcolm Chattwood 22/05/2009
About to pass the open Clachnaharry swing bridge, with the signal box in the background, in a boat on the Caledonian Canal on 23 September 2005. ...
Bruce McCartney 25/09/2005

This station was west of Clachnaharry Swing Bridge. It was a single platform with the platform on the south side of the single track line. Clachnaharry was not just the station for the small village and nearby sea lock of the Caledonian Canal but was also the ticket platform for Inverness for trains arriving from the north.
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Hide and seek. Clachnaharry signal box, October 2009. ...
John Furnevel 03/10/2009
The view towards Inverness from Clachnaharry signalbox in July of 1991. ...
Ian Dinmore /07/1991
View from Clachnaharry signal box in July 1991. ...
Ian Dinmore /07/1991
A train for the far north approaching Clachnaharry shortly after leaving Inverness in July 1991. ...
Ian Dinmore /07/1991

This intermediate loop was installed between Bunchrew (to the west) and Clachnaharry (to the east) in 1902 to increase line capacity. There were two signal boxes, both on the south side of the line at either end of the loop. The box to the west was the 'north' box and to the east was the 'south' box.
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This was, latterly, a two platform station. For much of its existence it was a single platform with a siding at the east end.
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The 1862 station at Buchrew. to the west of Inverness, lost its passenger service in 1960 and is now privately owned domestic accommodation. ...
John Furnevel 24/11/2003
A pair of Type 2 diesels with the 'Hebridean Express' charter train returning from Kyle of Lochalsh on 7th September 1971. The special is seen ...
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) 07/09/1971
Looking west at the former Bunchrew station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Turning south off the A862 just to the west of Inverness, an unclassified road runs up the hill past the former Bunchrew station and over the open ...
John Furnevel 03/10/2009

This was a two platform station. The main station building was on the westbound platform and there was a goods yard at the west end, served from the west.
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A test train heading for Wick and Thurso on 24th February 2019, seen turning inland from the Beauly Firth near Lentran. The train was headed by 37409 ...
John Gray 24/02/2019
The derelict station building on the former northbound platform of Lentran station, closed 1982. ...
Ewan Crawford 20/07/2004
37417 photographed with a train at Lentran (closed June 1960) on a cold day in March 1986. ...
Ian Dinmore /03/1986
Looking north at the closed Lentran station. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This was a two platform station with the main building on the westbound platform. For much of its existence it was a single platform station until the line was doubled to the east.
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In brilliant sunshine, B1 No. 61306 'Mayflower' heads the Steam Dreams railtour northwards from Inverness to Dunrobin and Brora. Pictured near the ...
John Gray 11/05/2019
Black 5 No.44871,on the way to Kyle of Lochalsh,runs alongside the Beauly Firth near the site of the closed station at Clunes.The Kessock Bridge in ...
John Gray 02/05/2016
The weather in 2019 has been very challenging as regards taking pictures so I consider myself lucky to have managed some shots in late September. This ...
John Gray 25/09/2019
Looking north at the line near the former Clunes station. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This is a single track girder viaduct over the River Beauly. The girders were by Findlay of Motherwell.
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An Inverness bound train heading east from Beauly just after crossing the viaduct. ...
Ewan Crawford 17/07/2004
An Inverness-bound train heading south in the summer of 1972 photographed shortly after passing through Beauly. ...
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) //1972

This station is in the south of the town of Beauly. It has a very short platform. It was formerly a two platform station. The new platform uses a short section of the former northbound platform. There is a car park.
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The Steam Dreams railtour to Kyle of Lochalsh races past Beauly hauled by 61306 'Mayflower' on 12th May 2019.
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John Gray 12/05/2019
Beauly station, Far North of Scotland Line, on 18th June 2019. The original station, on the opposite side of the line and much bigger and grander and ...
David Bosher 18/06/2019
A stone thistle atop a gable of Beauly old station. 16/10/06 ...
John Gray 16/10/2006
A Kyle of Lochalsh - Inverness train approaching Beauly from the north in November 2003. ...
John Furnevel 22/11/2003

This is a two platform station. The main station building was similar to that at Dalwhinnie but with a canopy with end screens. It was on the down (northbound) platform. It has been demolished.
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First ScotRail 158722 pulls away from Muir of Ord platform 2 and is about to pass below the bridge carrying Great North Road on a wet and windy 3 ...
John Furnevel 3/10/2009
37221 passing south through Muir of Ord with an empty PW train in 1995. Earlier that day ballast had been tipped to strengthen the embankment near ...
Ewan Crawford //1995
Persistent rain continues to batter the platforms at Muir of Ord on a wet and miserable morning in October 2009, as passengers reluctantly leave the ...
John Furnevel 03/10/2009
Approaching Muir of Ord from the south. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This is a single platform station in the south of the village of Conon Bridge. It has a short platform and a small car park.
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158722 arrives at Conon Bridge with the 16:19 to Inverness (12.36 ex-Wick) on 18 February 2013. View north showing the station entrance, bicycle ...
John Gray 18/02/2013
The now completed station at Conon Bridge, photographed from the station entrance on 18 February 2013. ...
John Gray 18/02/2013
Closed 13 June 1960, reopened 8 February 2013. [See news item] ...
John Yellowlees 08/02/2013
158715 runs into Conon Bridge on 23 June with the return Sunday afternoon 16.20 Invergordon to Inverness service. ...
David Pesterfield 23/06/2013

This is a single track skewed five arch masonry viaduct over the River Conon. Each span is 73 ft. The overall length is 429 ft. The engineer was Joseph Mitchell.
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Southbound over the skew-arch viaduct at Conon Bridge. ...
Ewan Crawford //
K4 61994 The Great Marquess crossing the viaduct over the River Conon with The Great Britain II early in the morning of Saturday 11 ...
John Gray 11/04/2009
67007 crossing the viaduct over the River Conon with the tanker train for Lairg on 5 February 2011.
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John Gray 05/02/2011
The early morning train for Inverness off the Far North Line crossing the river at Conon Bridge on 23 November 2003 on the way to its next stop at ...
John Furnevel 23/11/2003

This was a timber two road locomotive shed south of the station on the west side of the line. It was approached by a headshunt to the north which made its connection to the railway at the south end of the station loop.
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This is a two platform station on the Far North Lines which opened in 1862. It has a fine station building on the northbound platform with a large glazed canopy. There is a car park and a lattice footbridge over to the southbound platform.
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Plaque at Dingwall station, seen here on the afternoon of Tuesday, 18th June 2019. ...
David Bosher 18/06/2019
Dingwall was built in...... ...
John Gray 16/10/2006
158708 at Dingwall forming the 14 10 Scotrail service to Inverness on 15th March 2017. ...
Brian Smith 15/03/2017
Dingwall Station frontage in November 2003. ...
John Furnevel 23/11/2003

This junction is north of Dingwall station. This is where the line from Inverness divides into portions running west to Kyle of Lochalsh on the west coast and Thurso and Wick on the north coast. Both lines are single track. Just to the south is the north end of the loop through Dingwall station. There is a pedestrian level crossing and the former Dingwall Canal passes ...

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Next stop Dingwall. Heading south after passing through Dingwall Junction on 1 October 2009 is ScotRail 158720 forming the 1203 service from Kyle of ...
John Furnevel 01/10/2009
Dingwall Junction viewed from the south. Sprinter train at Junction. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The 1203 service from Kyle of Lochalsh about to join the route from Wick and Thurso at Dingwall Junction on 1 October 2009 on its way to Inverness. ...
John Furnevel 01/10/2009
A Kyle of Lochalsh - Inverness train approaching Dingwall Junction in 2005. In the foreground is Dingwall Canal North level crossing. ...
Ewan Crawford //2005

This was a single platform station with the platform to the south of a level crossing and a siding to the north on the west side of the line, approached from the south.
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Looking south west at the closed Foulis station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Approximately 5 miles northeast of Dingwall on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth stand the remains of the long closed station at Foulis, seen from ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007

This was a two platform station with a passing loop. The main station building was on the northbound platform.
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A 'grab shot' showing the underpass built for a possible rail link to Highland Deephaven. ...
Ewan Crawford Collection 30/09/2017
The Network Rail test train passing Evanton on the far north line on 26 April 2013, with 37218 in front and 37605 on the rear. ...
John Gray 26/04/2013
Passing Evanton on 26 April, The Royal Scotsman heading for Brora hauled by WCRC Class 47 no 47804. ...
John Gray 26/04/2013
Looking south at the former Evanton station. ...
Ewan Crawford //


This single track five arch stone viaduct crossing the Alness River is west of Alness station. The viaduct is 82 yds long overall.
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This is a single platform station. There is a car park and platform shelter. It is in the south of Alness itself.
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The single platform Alness station, on the Far North of Scotland line, looking north on the evening of 17th June 2019. This was one of several ...
David Bosher 17/06/2019
The 1236 service from Wick (and Thurso) departs from Alness and heads for Dingwall. This photograph of unit 158709 was taken from the academy ...
Mark Bartlett 29/06/2011
Gleaming refurbished 158701 at Alness. September 2007.
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Brian Forbes /09/2007
The 1236 from Wick calls at Alness on time at 1603 heading for Inverness. A couple of passengers join 158709 which will arrive in Inverness in 45 ...
Mark Bartlett 29/06/2011


This is a two platform station with a passing loop and car park. The main station building remains standing on the southbound platform. It retains a platform canopy. The platform side features a mural 'The Long Goodbye', by Tracey Shough, commemorating the 4th battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders. The waiting shelter on the northbound platform still stands. Unfortunately the footbridge has been ...

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Part of Tracey Shough's The Long Goodbye mural for the 4th battalion of the Seaforth Highlanders at Invergordon station. ...
Ewan Crawford 29/09/2009
It seems that there are no Sprinters trapped south of Ayr to operate a Stranraer-Maybole service while the Ayr station blockade is in place. The ...
Ewan Crawford //1989
Part of the Tracey Shough commemorative mural at Invergordon station, 30 August 2007. ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007
Ready for the road. The driver of an Inverness-bound freight gets set to depart from Invergordon goods yard in the summer of 1973.
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David Spaven //1973

This was a single platform station. The platform was on the south east side of the line. At the north end was a level crossing and to the south a siding approached from the south. There was a signal box on the platform by the level crossing.
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This was a two platform station with the main station building on the northbound platform. There was a loop, the line being single track. There was a goods yard to the south, on the west side of the line, accessed from the south.
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This was a single platform station. It was located at a level crossing with the B9175, the road to the Nigg Ferry for Cromarty.
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The former station at Nigg on 30 August 2007 looking south towards Invergordon. View from the road with the level crossing off picture to the right. ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007
The former Nigg station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The former station at Nigg on 30 August 2007 looking south from the level crossing. ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007

This is a one platform station, the former southbound platform. The loop line is lifted and northbound platform out of use.
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Road approach to Fearn station from the east in August 2007. The B9165 crosses the line off to the right see image 37219.
See
John Furnevel 30/08/2007
Northbound at Fearn. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Looking through the remains of the redundant station footbridge at Fearn as a Class 26 hauled northbound freight approaches in the summer of 1974. ...
David Spaven //1974
Looking north along the platform at Fearn towards Tain on 19 April 2011. The substantial main station building here is now a private house - with its ...
John Gray 19/04/2011

This was a two road shed to the south of Tain station. It was approached from the north and was on the east side of the line.
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This is a two platform station with a passing loop on the Far North Line. The main station building, with an 'H' plan and located on the northbound platform, has been renovated and is now host to the restaurant 'Platform 1864 '. The lattice footbridge between the platforms remains.
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158717 with the ex-16.00 service from Wick via Thurso to Inverness calling at Tain station on 17th June 2019. My friend Paul and I were bound to our ...
David Bosher 17/06/2019
This Bob Barnes-Watts memorial plaque was at Tain unveiled today. It reads Remembering our friend Bob Barnes-Watts 1955-2018 who tirelessly ...
John Yellowlees 17/11/2018
158704, working from Wick to Inverness, calls at Tain on 22nd July 2016. Through the gap in the trees the Dornoch Firth can be seen. ...
Mark Bartlett 22/07/2016
The old station at Tain is now a restaurant. This interior view shows the old station plate from Golspie. ...
John Robin 24/05/2018

This siding was north west of Tain and served the Glenmorangie Distillery. The siding was on the south west side of the line and approached from the Inverness direction. There was a loading bank and the siding had a long headshunt.
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This was briefly the end of the line, until it was extended to Bonar Bridge (now Ardgay). It closed not long after the line was extended and the ferry route probably lost much traffic when the Sutherland Railway opened in 1868 extending the line to Golspie, after which the ferry was probably not on the preferred route north. The station building has remained, complete with its name marked ...

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158715, on a Wick to Inverness service, has just passed through the closed station at Meikle Ferry and is seen under the approach road for the Dornoch ...
Mark Bartlett 20/07/2016
Looking west over the closed Meikle Ferry station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Approach to the former station forecourt at Meikle Ferry in August 2007. The building is now part of a local holiday complex. ...
John Furnevel 25/8/2007
A train from the far north passing the long closed station at Meikle Ferry on 25 August 2007. The station was open for less than 5 years, closing on 1 ...
John Furnevel 25/08/2007

This was a two platform station with a passing loop on a single track line. The main station building was on the northbound platform.
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158721 passes the closed station at Edderton, and the Balblair Distillery, heading for Thurso and Wick with a service from Inverness on a misty 20th ...
Mark Bartlett 20/07/2016
Looking northbound over the closed Edderton station. Distillery behind. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The former station at Edderton, Ross-shire (1864), attractively converted for private use, seen here looking towards Bonar Bridge on 30 August 2007. ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007
And you couldn't wish for better neighbours... Looking west beyond the old Edderton station in August 2007 towards the Balblair distillery ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007

This was a short lived station on he line, now long closed. The site was probably on the Fearn Lodge estate. ...

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A ScotRail service for Inverness runs south from Mid Fearn. ...
Ewan Crawford //2005
Looking east at the closed Mid Fearn Halt. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This is a two platform station with a passing loop on the Far North line. The northbound platform retains its two storey station building with a platform awning supported by pillars, now a house, and a goods yard exists to the south, west side of the line, currently in permanent way maintenance use. The station had refreshment rooms to the north of the station building. Platforms are linked by a ...

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The main station building at Ardgay in August 2007. ...
John Furnevel 30/08/2007
Looking north through Ardgay station on 14 September 2001. ...
John Furnevel 14/09/2001
158725 calls at Ardgay in April 2007. ...
John Gray 12/04/2007
Stanier 8F 48151 coasts through Ardgay with The Great Britain railtour on 12 April. ...
John Gray 12/04/2007