Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway

Introduction

This 3ft gauge line is closed. It was built and operated by Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd during the construction of the Lochaber Aluminium Works in Fort William. The railway was built between 1925 and 1927. The line ran from a sea-pier at Loch Linnhe to the factory site (the lower works) and then on along the track of the pipeline (the upper works) which was constructed to being water from Loch Treig and Loch Laggan to the power station within the works. Track was second hand, having been (probably) brought from France.

The line was later adopted and maintained by British Aluminium and used for maintenance of the upper and lower works.

The upper portion of the railway was 19 miles long and the pipeline from Loch Treig to Fort William 15 miles long.






Dates

  /  /1925Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway
Construction of line by Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd begins. The line facilitates construction of the Lochaber Aluminium Works and the considerable hydro scheme powering it with a pipeline running east to Loch Treig and Loch Laggan.
  /  /1926Fort William Smelter
The Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway opened from the Fort William Smelter to Loch Treig. The line was opened in connection with the construction of the Aluminium works. Rather than close afterwards it was retained and improved for maintenance on the somewhat remote pipeline which served the hydro-electric scheme at the works.
  /  /1955West Highland Railway
British Aluminium erects the Inverlochy Footbridge, roughly where the temporary line of the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway passed over the Mallaig line, in order to link housing at Inverlochy to the Aluminium Smelter.
  /  /1977Fort William Smelter
The Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway closed, some track remained by the works in Fort William.
  /  /1978Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway Fort William Smelter
Bridge over A82 removed.

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.


Lower Works Railway

This pier was built around 1925 as an jetty for the Lochaber Aluminium Works, initially used during its construction and later, after rebuilding, for import and export of materials.
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Piers, Slips and Staiths


This disused double track bridge crosses the West Highland Railway directly west of Fort William Junction (and east of the Fort William Oil Sidings). It carried the Lower Works Railway portion of the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway. Only one track was laid over the bridge, what would have been the southern of the two tracks.
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West Highland Railway
Fort William Junction signalbox, as seen from the formation of the Lochaber narrow guage railway which crossed the line at this point on the old ...
Mark Bartlett 18/05/2010
The surviving Lochaber narrow-gauge railway bridge spanning the West Highland Line shortly after it leaves Fort William station. View is towards Loch ...
John Furnevel 30/09/2005
The old bridge which formerly carried the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway over the West Highland line in September 2005. Fort William Junction is just ...
John Furnevel 30/09/2005
The former Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway crossing over the West Highland Railway at Fort William Junction. ...
Ewan Crawford //
4 of 4 images.




This is the only remaining aluminium smelter in the United Kingdom. This smelter was built by contractors Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd to the east of Fort William, opening in 1929.
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West Highland Railway
Bauxite at the Lochaber Smelter. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The out of use cable hauled incline at the Fort William smelter for drawing supplies up to the top of the pipeline. ...
Ewan Crawford //
2 of 2 images.







Upper Works Railway

This is the only remaining aluminium smelter in the United Kingdom. This smelter was built by contractors Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd to the east of Fort William, opening in 1929.
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West Highland Railway
Bauxite at the Lochaber Smelter. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The out of use cable hauled incline at the Fort William smelter for drawing supplies up to the top of the pipeline. ...
Ewan Crawford //
2 of 2 images.






This was the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway. The track of the line stacked neatly up the hill behind the smelter. ...
Ewan Crawford //
1 of 1 images.




























































































This location was approximately half way along the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway. It was known as Central or, sarcastically, ^Charing Cross^. There was a triangle of lines, for turning engines, a shed and Central Loop to the west.
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The site of the turning triangle and speeder shed at ^Central^ midway along the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway, with the site of the loop behind the ...
Ewan Crawford /01/2002
An amateur shunter at work on the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway high above Spean Bridge at ^Charing Cross^ in 1970.
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David Spaven //1970
2 of 2 images.




















This bridge, over the Allt Beinn Chlianaig, was the highest point of the Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway^s upper works railway.
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This is a 400ft long rock filled dam, damming the River Treig at north end of Loch Treig . It was built to convert the loch into a reservoir, providing a water supply for the hydroelectric scheme opened with the Lochaber Aluminium Works. The water level was raised by 36ft.
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Laggan Dam Railway
























Original line to factory site

This pier was built around 1925 as an jetty for the Lochaber Aluminium Works, initially used during its construction and later, after rebuilding, for import and export of materials.
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More details

See also
Piers, Slips and Staiths


This footbridge was erected by the British Aluminium Company to give access from the housing at Inverlochy (west) to the Lochaber Aluminium Works (east) over the Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway).
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West Highland Railway


This was Balfour, Beatty & Co Ltd^s construction camp for the Lochaber Aluminium Works, its pier, hydro scheme, penstocks, long distance water pipes and dams of Loch Treig and Loch Laggan. The construction railway, the considerable Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway ran to the work sites and there were sidings serving the depot which came from the West Highland Railway.
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