West Highland Railway

Introduction

This railway runs from Craigendoran (near Glasgow) to Fort William. The line had a branch to Banavie Pier.

It is a single track railway running through superb scenery; by sea lochs, mountains and moorland.

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.

Architecture

Stations on the West Highland are noted for their 'Swiss Chalet' style station buildings and diminutive signal boxes. Original station buildings remain at Garelochhead, Upper Tyndrum, Bridge of Orchy, Rannoch, Tulloch, Spean Bridge and a closed station at Banavie Pier. Fort William's terminus had a building of a different style which has not survived. Most stations had island platforms, although some had two separate platforms; those at Rhu, Tulloch, Roy Bridge and Spean Bridge; and these had a different style of building, since only one side faced the platform. Stationmaster's cottages and other railway cottages also had a standardised pattern.



Dates

  /  /1889West Highland Railway
Fort William's fort wall breached for railway building.
29/01/1889[West 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
30/01/1889[West 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.
31/01/1889[West 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.
01/02/1889[West 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.
02/02/1889[West 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].
12/08/1889[West Highland Railway]
Act passed and West Highland Railway authorised.
23/10/1889West Highland Railway
First sod cut by Lord Abinger near Fort William.
20/07/1890[West Highland Railway]
Banavie Branch authorised.
  /07/1891[West Highland Railway]
Runs out of money, the contractor requests more money, and construction is abandoned.
  /08/1891[West 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.
14/10/1891[West Highland Railway]
Work re-starts, though the West Highland Railway agrees to pay an extra £10,000.
  /  /1893[West Highland Railway]
Financial crisis; Mr Renton, a director of the line, donated part of his personal fortune to get the line completed.
05/09/1893[West Highland Railway]
Last spike driven by Mr Renton on Rannoch Moor.
31/07/1894[West 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.
03/08/1894[West 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].
11/08/1894[West Highland Railway]
Ceremonial opening.
04/09/1894[West Highland Railway]
Helensburgh to Garelochhead train de-railed at Woodend Farm crossing by a stone placed on the line.
01/11/1894[West Highland Railway]
Refreshment baskets available at Arrochar and Tarbet.
01/01/1895[West Highland Railway]
Inverlair renamed Tulloch.
27/05/1895[West Highland Railway]
Glen Douglas siding opened.
01/06/1895[West Highland Railway]
Banavie Branch opened.
  /07/1895[West Highland Railway]
Refreshment baskets available at Crianlarich.
01/05/1896[West Highland Railway]
Whistlefield opened.
06/05/1896[West Highland Railway]
De-railment at Banavie Junction [1st] (now Fort William Junction).
  /08/1896[West Highland Railway]
West Highland Railway (Ballachulish Extension Act) Passed, not built.
21/01/1897[West Highland Railway]
First sod of [Mallaig Extension Railway] cut at Corpach by Lady Margaret Cameron of Lochiel.
20/12/1897[West Highland Railway]
Connection to [Callander and Oban Railway] at Crianlarich opened..
01/04/1901Mallaig Extension Railway (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.
08/08/1906[West Highland Railway]
Accident at Pulpit Rock, by Loch Lomond.
  /  /1908[West Highland Railway]
[North British Railway]
West Highland Railway absorbed by North British Railway.
31/12/1908[North British Railway]
[West Highland Railway]
North British Railway takes over the West Highland Railway line from Craigendoran to Mallaig and the branch to Banavie.
06/12/1909[West Highland Railway]
Accident at Glen Douglas.
01/06/1924[West Highland Railway]
Row renamed Rhu.
01/05/1926[West Highland Railway]
Gortan renamed Gorton.
08/07/1929[West Highland Railway]
Restaurant car introduced.
  /10/1929[West Highland Railway]
Sleepers start to operate all year round.
27/01/1931[West Highland Railway]
De-railment in Rannoch Moor.
06/07/1931[West 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.
07/08/1932[West 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.
15/09/1934[West Highland Railway]
Corrour opened to the Public having been a private halt.
01/01/1935[West Highland Railway]
Fersit closed.
02/09/1939[West Highland Railway]
Banavie branch closed to passengers.
04/09/1939West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) closed to passengers.
02/10/1939[West Highland Railway]
Sleeper withdrawn.
27/04/1941[West Highland Railway]
Faslane Junction (Croy) opened with exchange sidings for a double track railway to Military Port #1 at Faslane.
21/12/1941[West Highland Railway]
New signal box and longer loop opened at Helensburgh Upper to help with Faslane traffic.
15/11/1942[West Highland Railway]
Camus-na-ha signal box opened.
26/03/1943[West Highland Railway]
Corpach Naval sidings opened.
05/04/1944[West Highland Railway]
Restaurant cars withdrawn.
26/08/1945[West Highland Railway]
Faslane platform opened, for moving prisoners of war to the halts at Inveruglas and Glenfalloch in connection with the building of the Loch Sloy Hydro Electric scheme.
29/10/1945[West Highland Railway]
Inveruglas platform, signal box and loop opened.
10/04/1946[West Highland Railway]
Glenfalloch platform opened.
  /06/1946[West Highland Railway]
Restaurant cars re-start.
23/05/1949[West Highland Railway]
Passenger services between Glasgow Queen Street, Crianlarich and Oban start.
06/08/1951West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) closed to freight.
17/04/1954[West Highland Railway]
Collision at Bridge of Orchy.
09/01/1956[West Highland Railway]
Rhu closed.
24/09/1956[West Highland Railway]
Television train runs.
04/04/1960[West Highland Railway]
Rhu re-opened.
14/06/1964[West 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.
21/07/1968[West Highland Railway]
Glasgow bound track at Helensburgh Upper lifted and signalbox closed.
13/06/1975West Highland Railway
New Fort William station opened, old station by Pier closed.
  /  /1980[West Highland Railway]
As the Pulp Mill at Corpach closes much traffic is lost.
  /  /1983Mallaig Extension Railway (West Highland Railway)
Re-introduction of observation cars in the summer.
  /  /1983[West Highland Railway]
Sunday service introduced.
  /  /1984[West 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.

Route described

The West Highland is a line apart. Despite fears over the years that it will lose its identity, it retains a certain something - probably a reflection of how different the West Highlands are from the rest of Scotland. Grander, sheerer mountains, sea and inland lochs, islands ... The line is 99 miles long from Craigendoran Junction, itself 23 miles from Glasgow.

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.


Craigendoran to Fort William

This was the main line of the original line running from Craigendoran Junction to Fort William [1st].

The pier platform lines bet the Helensburgh line east of Craigendoran station. This was remodelled in 1894 into a junction proper when the West Highland Railway opened. This was a double track junction, the West Highland becoming single track north of Craigendoran Upper station.
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Northbound freight train and fluffy clouds at Craigendoran Junction in August 2018. ...
Beth Crawford 09/08/2018
A tree stump on the Waitrose service road is excellently placed to give a better view over the lineside fence at Craigendoran Junction. 334004 leads a ...
Mark Bartlett 30/07/2017
62005 takes the loop for a water stop at Craigendoran Junction on a southbound journey to Carnforth. ...
Bill Roberton 21/10/2017
A westbound Class 320, in Strathclyde livery, approaches Craigendoran Junction on 28th May 2007. ...
John McIntyre 28/05/2007

This was an island platform station of the West Highland Railway Swiss chalet style directly alongside the station on the Helensburgh line and pier station. The West Highland joins the Helensburgh line just to the east of the station at Craigendoran Junction.
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Blocked off steps which formerly ran up to the island platform of Craigendoran. ...
Ewan Crawford 08/02/2019
A 66 with the empties from the Lochaber Smelter drops down from Helensburgh Upper to Craigendoran. This view overlooking Helensburgh and the Gare Loch ...
Ewan Crawford 02/02/2018
27034 with evening train from Mallaig passing site of Craigendoran Upper station. ...
John Robin //
Pedestrian access to Craigendoran Station under WH line. ...
Alistair MacKenzie 30/04/2007

The west box was a tall structure, which was described as looking like a pagoda - a six sided building approached by a walkway from the West Highland Railway trackbed. It controlled the northern approach to the West Highland Craigendoran station. The box was closed in 1937 when Craigendoran Junction box took over. ...

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A set of sidings above Craigendoran Junction approached from the junction were associated with the construction of the West Highland Railway. Lucas and Aird's Depot. ...

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This goods yard, a simple single siding with a loading bank approached from the west, was immediately east of Helensburgh Upper. A typical West Highland railway cottage stands to the north of the site. ...

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This station is open. It was an island platform station with a typical West Highland Railway chalet style station building and, originally, a typical West Highland signal box.
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156492 was heading to Oban with the first service northbound on the WHL on 28 April 2019 as it calls at Helensburgh Upper. A few passengers with ...
Chloe Goode 28/04/2019
Platform sign at Helensburgh Upper on 2 June 2009. [The Gaelic version omits the 'Upper'.] ...
David Panton 02/06/2009
The 14.43 Helensburgh Upper to Queen Street Low Level pulls in exactly to time, having come in two halves from Oban and Mallaig. Only stops now - ...
Colin Miller 20/04/2016
A pair of 37s, led by 37410, head south on the 'ghost' at Helensburgh in 1994. ...
Ewan Crawford //1994



This was a two platform station, more typical of the stations on the northern section of the line. The main station building was on the west/northbound platform. To its west was the footbridge conecting to the eastbound platform and signal box.
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A northbound 66 with only a few wagons heads north from Rhu for the Lochaber Smelter. ...
Ewan Crawford 25/07/2019
A northbound alumina train for Fort William passes high above the Rhu Narrows. HMS Grimsby heads for Faslane. Helensburgh is in the distant right and ...
Ewan Crawford 08/11/2018
K1 passing the site of Rhu Station. ...
John Robin //
45231 running to time between Rhu and Shandon with stock for this year's Jacobite service. The K1 is undergoing repairs and will come up in two days ...
John Robin 13/05/2010

This junction was installed in the Second World War. It was a double track junction as a long loop was put in on the West Highland Railway and the connection to the Faslane Branch yard was double track. Faslane Junction Yard was just to the north on the branch.
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Looking out of the front of a Metro-Cammell DMU on a late afternoon Oban to Glasgow service as it approaches Faslane Jct in June 1969. The junction is ...
John McIntyre /06/1969
Remains of signalpost at former marshalling yard by Faslane Junction. ...
Ewan Crawford //
This is a BR PR&PO photograph originally taken by the LNER in 1945 showing Faslane Junction signal box.

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PR&PO British Railways (Douglas Blades Collection) //1945
37175 with the Royal Scotsman at Faslane Junction in 1985. ...
John McIntyre //1985

This was a single platform halt. It was built in connection with the nearby Faslane Military Port. The halt was also used to facilitate the transport prisoners of war to Inveruglas which was a halt for the Loch Sloy Hydroscheme (construction of Inveruglas Power Station and Loch Sloy Dam). ...

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Steam train for Fort William passing the site of Faslane Platform near Shandon. ...
Ewan Crawford 25/05/2006

This was an island platform station in the typical West Highland Swiss Chalet style, passenger access was by subway. There was a loading bank siding on the east side of the line, served from the Helenburgh direction. The signal box was on the platform, at its south end.
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A southbound Sprinter runs above the Gare Loch close to Shandon. ...
Ewan Crawford 08/11/2018
West Highland Line, from bridge by Shandon Station site, looking SE. ...
Alistair MacKenzie 17/04/2007
Pair of 37s with afternoon freight from Fort William between Shandon and Rhu. ...
John Robin //
West Highland Line, Shandon Station site. Seconds later a deer bounded out of the trees and headed north along the line. I think it was the 5pm. ...
Alistair MacKenzie 17/04/2007


This is an island platform station with an original West Highland Railway chalet-style building and signal box ('B' listed, closed 1986). A parcels building and short platform (both demolished 2017) also remain on the west side of the station. Access to the station is by means of a subway.
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A 1994 night view of a northbound 37 in the rain at the north end of Garelochhead with the Ghost to Fort William. [Ref query 4 January 2019] ...
Ewan Crawford //1994
The modern world comes to Garelochhead station. New departure/arrival screens await their unveiling. ...
Ewan Crawford 03/11/2017
GBRf 73971 slows to call at Garelochhead with the Fort William bound sleeper service on 1st August 2017. ...
Mark Bartlett 08/10/2017
Leaves being blasted from the rails by the northbound 'Leaf Train' at Garelochhead. ...
Ewan Crawford 03/11/2017

This was a single platform station with a station building different to others on the line. It did not open with the line and was built to serve Portincaple and the surrounding district.
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West Highland Line south of Whistlefield from Coulport Road bridge. ...
Alistair MacKenzie 17/04/2007
West Highland Line south of Whistlefield from Coulport Road bridge. ...
Alistair MacKenzie 17/04/2007
West Highland Line, Whistlefield Station site looking N. ...
Alistair MacKenzie 30/04/2007
Whistlefield station (built to serve Portincaple on the shore of Loch Long) the Whistlefield Store (now the 'Green Kettle Inn') and stationmaster's ...
Ewan Crawford Collection //

This is a three girder viaduct carrying a single track over the Allt Darach. The viaduct is above Finnart Oil Terminal on Loch Long. ...

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44871 returns north to Fort William after a quick stint in Fife and the Borders over two weekends. The locomotive is seen here just north of Finnart ...
Ewan Crawford 20/08/2018
A northbound Sprinter crossing the viaduct high above Finnart in 1991 with Loch Long in the background. ...
Ewan Crawford //1991

This was a halt on the West Highland Railway, opening one year after the line opened. For many years it was private. The loop remains here but the platform and building have been removed. There was a combined signal box and building such as those found at Corrour and, formerly, Gorton. This is a summit of the line at 560 ft.
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The 'Royal Scotsman', above Morelaggan on Loch Long, on 10th May 2019. ...
Ewan Crawford 10/05/2019
A Carnforth Steamtown to Fort William stock movement above Loch Long in May 2019. Morelaggan is below, Coillessan on the west bank and Cnoc Coinnich ...
Ewan Crawford 10/05/2019
Light and shade. In a brief spell of light between showers an Oban-Glasgow service heads south by Loch Long in May 2019. ...
Ewan Crawford 10/05/2019
The Royal Scotsman above Loch Long on its way from Edinburgh to Spean Bridge on 10th May 2019. ...
Ewan Crawford 10/05/2019

This government munitions depot is located in Glen Douglas. It is rail served and a private road connects it to Glen Mallan Jetty.
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This is an island platform station, typical of the West Highland Railway. The station building was removed in the late 1990s/early 2000s after several years of being vacant. This was of the Swiss chalet style typical of the line. Access is via a subway and this also gives access to the hillside to the west. The signal box(closed 1986 and 'B' listed) remains and a new waiting shelter in the ...

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An Oban service calls at Arrochar on 31 October 2018. Most of the WHL's sets are still in First Scotrail livery, despite the 'non-aligned' saltire ...
David Panton 31/10/2018
On 28th September 2018 Ben Lomond provides an impressive backdrop as 66736 digs into the climb to Glen Douglas after leaving Arrochar and Tarbert with ...
Malcolm Chattwood 28/09/2018
A southbound service departs from Arrochar and Tarbet on 28 May 2007 heading for Glen Douglas and the next station stop at Garelochhead. ...
John McIntyre 28/05/2007
In June 1998 the morning Oban service waits to to pass the southbound train at Arrochar. Although into the privatisation era the Regional Railways ...
David Panton /06/1968

This shed was by Arrochar and Tarbet station. It was used for overnight storage of the push-pull service to Craigendoran Pier. ...

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This was a one platform workman's halt. There was a passing loop, sidings and a loading bank. This halt was built for halt for the Loch Sloy Hydroscheme (construction of Inveruglas Power Station and Loch Sloy Dam).
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Inveruglas station sign on the side of a farmer at Inveruglas. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Southbound Sprinter at Inveruglas in October 2006. ...
Ewan Crawford 04/10/2006
Railway over railway. Northbound Sprinter passing Inveruglas. The steeply inclined track in the foreground runs to the head of the pipes. Loch Lomond ...
Ewan Crawford 04/10/2006

Northbound Sprinter crosses the Craigenarden Viaduct by Loch Lomond. There is a very, very short tunnel here which was the only tunnel on the line ...
Ewan Crawford //1990


This is an island platform station, typical of the West Highland line. The station building was demolished due to subsidence but was of the Swiss chalet style typical of the line. Access is via a subway. The signal box (closed 1986) remains in use as a waiting shelter.
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Ardlui station nameplate. A quick jump off and back on the train picture. ...
Gordon Steel 24/05/2016
Ardlui Hotel viewed from the west. ...
Ewan Crawford //
37 heading south with PW train early in 1991 at the head of Loch Lomond. ...
Ewan Crawford //1991
A southbound Sprinter at Ardlui. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990

This was a single platform halt. Traces of the foundation of the platform remain. ...

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Not a flat surface anywhere! Northbound sleeper climbing from Glen Falloch Viaduct in 1995. (The platform was further south.) ...
Ewan Crawford //1995

A southbound Sprinter crosses Glen Falloch Viaduct in 1991, viewed from the south. Creag an Duin dominates the background. ...
Ewan Crawford 26/09/1991
Black Fives 44871 and 45407 make steady progress up Glen Falloch on the way to Fort William from Inverness on 14 May, seen here crossing the viaduct ...
John Gray 14/05/2014
Train in landscape; a northbound freight crosses the Glen Falloch Viaduct in 1991. The view looks south with the head of Loch Lomond in the far ...
Ewan Crawford 28/09/1991


This is an island platform station on the West Highland Railway famous for its tearoom. Crianlarich Station Tearoom . The station is in Perthshire. Entry is by a subway at the north end of the station. The former signal box (closed 1985) is also at the north end of the station.
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Ben More in evening sunshine. What a lovely day! ...
John Yellowlees 25/03/2017
The longest day allows a photograph of the southbound sleeper on the approach to Crianlarich. The sun has just set and the midges were out in force. ...
Ewan Crawford 21/06/2019
The mid-morning Glasgow to Oban service calls at Crianlarich on 31 October 2018. ...
David Panton 31/10/2018
Information board at Crianlarich. See the erroneous claim that before 1965 there were no through trains between Glasgow and Oban! (These started a few ...
John Yellowlees 25/03/2017

This junction is immediately north of Crianlarich station. Here the the lines to Oban and Fort William separate. The junction faces south. Just to the north, on the Fort William route, is the Glenbruar Viaduct.
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GBRf 66736 draws away from Crianlarich with the North Blyth - Fort William Alcan service on 19 October 2017. The Oban line diverges to the left. ...
Bill Roberton 19/10/2017
Ex Oban train approaching Crianlarich station on the short spur which links the West Highland to the Callander and Oban. Ahead the narrow bridge where ...
Beth Crawford 05/05/2017
37 403 approaching Crianlarich Junction. It is on the Crianlarich Lower Junction - Crianlarich Junction section heading south, immediately behind is ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
The permanent way train takes the Fort William route at Crianlarich Junction. ...
Ewan Crawford //1987

This viaduct is just north of Crianlarich station and Crianlarich Junction where the lines to Oban and Fort William divide. Just to the north is the Fillan Viaduct.
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This bridge to the north of Crianlarich carries the Fort William line. Just after passing under this bridge the A85 road joins the A82 and then also ...
Mark Bartlett 29/03/2009
Looking east at the viaduct in Crianlarich. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This girder bridge is just north of the Glenbruar Viaduct, Crianlarich Junction and Crianlarich station on the West Highland Railway. The viaduct crosses the River Fillan and has five spans of 35 ft each. ...

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Turns out this is not the ideal spot to photograph a train with a steam engine at each end. Plenty of steam though. ...
Ewan Crawford 16/04/2019
Northbound 45212 passes the Fillan stop board north of Crianlarich. This location will be familiar to regulars on the West Highland as the place where ...
Ewan Crawford 16/04/2019
37518 leads 45407 not long after crossing the Fillan Viaduct just north of Crianlarich and turns into the curve to the west. A different line up to ...
Ewan Crawford 16/04/2019
Train on its way to Lochaber Smelter. This view overlooks the Fillian Viaduct with Crianlarich in the background. The C&O once ran from left to right ...
Ewan Crawford 16/04/2019

An evening service for Fort William heads north between Crianlarich and Upper Tyndrum. Beinn Odhar provides the backdrop. ...
Ewan Crawford 28/03/2018

Black Fives Nos.44871 and 45407 bring The Cathedrals Explorer off the viaduct at Auchtertyre, between Crianlarich and Tyndrum, on 14 May on the ...
John Gray 14/05/2014

This is an island platform station in the West Highland Swiss Chalet style. The station building, signal box (closed 1984, 'B' listed and restored), stationmaster's cottage and railwaymen's cottage survive. Entry to the station is by a subway.
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Sprinter rests at Upper Tyndrum. View looks north. ...
Ewan Crawford //1994
A service from Mallaig makes its final stop before joining the soft southerners from the Oban branch at Crianlarich. Strangely, there's only a ...
David Panton 31/10/2018
It's a stiff hike to Upper Tyndrum (sometime Tyndrum Upper) so you want to
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David Panton 01/11/2017
Upper Tyndrum looking south. ...
Ewan Crawford //1994

A Sprinter on the climb northwards from Upper Tyndrum to County March Summit approaches the former overbridge. When the line opened the road north of ...
Ewan Crawford 12/12/2018
Northbound freight Climbing to County March Summit from Tyndrum Upper. ...
Ewan Crawford //1989
The West Highland sleeper heads north at County March Summit in 2015. ...
Ian Millar //2015
County March Summit sees 61994 The Great Marquess take the West Highlander railtour towards Fort William in fine weather. Later in the ...
Malcolm Chattwood 04/09/2010

This is a single track five span girder viaduct of 318 ft on a curve. The viaduct is on the Horseshoe Curve, south of Bridge of Orchy and north of County March Summit [West Highland].
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Looking back towards the smaller of the two Horseshoe Curve viaducts which crosses Glen Coralan. The slopes of Beinn Odhar rise prominently on the ...
Paul D Kerr 04/09/2006
Fort William - Glasgow Sprinter on the Horseshoe Curve nearing County March Summit. ...
Ewan Crawford 01/07/2006
To get here involved a bit of a hike and the weather was dreadful,but,here we have 61994 The Great Marquess southbound, crossing one of the ...
John Gray 27/09/2009

This is a single track nine span girder viaduct of 576 ft on a curve. The viaduct is on the Horseshoe Curve, south of Bridge of Orchy and north of County March Summit [West Highland].
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Crossing the larger of the Horseshoe Curve viaducts. View looks North ...
Paul D Kerr 04/09/2006
Reversing spur on one of the temporary way railways used in the construction of the West Highland Railway on the Horseshoe Curve. ...
Ewan Crawford 01/07/2006
The Royal Scotsman heads north on the Horseshoe curve. The 47 accelerates out of the speed restriction over the viaducts. ...
Ewan Crawford 01/07/2006

This is an island platform station in the West Highland Swiss Chalet style. The disused signal box, closed 1985, is 'B' listed. The station master's house and railwaymen's cottage also survive. Entry to the station is by a subway.
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A Sprinter heading south above Loch Tulla. A minute before it was snowing, a minute later it was sunny then the snow flurries started again ... ...
Ewan Crawford 25/04/2017
High above Loch Tulla a four coach Sprinter turns its nose south and heads for Bridge of Orchy. ...
Ewan Crawford 25/04/2017
66737 with a load of alumina powder wagons waits in the loop for the 0821 ex Glasgow Queen Street passenger service for Fort William and Mallaig to ...
Colin McDonald 12/04/2017
Waiting for the train at Bridge of Orchy in August 1987. ...
John McIntyre /08/1987


This former island platform station is now Gorton Crossing, a passing place on the line with ground frames to operate the points.
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A southbound sleeper heads away from Gorton in 1995. ...
Ewan Crawford //1995
The shepherd's cottage at Gorton where, in 1889, Charles Forman, James Bulloch, J.E. Harrison, John Bett, Major Martin and N.B. McKenzie were to take ...
Ewan Crawford //1994
EWS 66102 southbound with aluminium slabs and empties from the Lochaber Smelter in 2007. ...
Ewan Crawford 11/04/2007
The Royal Scotsman heads south from Gorton. It is being led by a 47 with a 37 in the rear. The train is skirting Beinn a Chreachain with Beinn ...
Ewan Crawford 08/08/2009


This is a five girder single track viaduct south of Rannoch station. ...

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2005 heads onto the moor after leaving Rannoch Station. ...
John Robin 14/11/1987
Viaduct Over Garbh Ghaoir South of Rannoch Station. ...
Paul D Kerr 04/09/2006

This island platform station retains its original building and signal box (closed 1985 and 'B' listed). Access is by means of a footbridge, not the original footbridge but a replacement (from Corrour) installed in the 1980s after entry was by means of a pedestrian level crossing to the south end of the platform for several years.
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156492 slows to cross the level crossing and call at Rannoch station on 17th April 2019. The train was a Queen Street to Mallaig service with 156500 ...
Mark Bartlett 17/04/2019
The little signal cabin on the platform at Rannoch has not been operational for over twenty years now but is open to view with the lever frame is ...
Mark Bartlett 17/04/2019
'Brief Encounters on the West Highland Lines', a travelling CRP production. 'Original stageplay and evening meal accessible by train' - Saturday 14th ...
John Yellowlees 19/03/2018
B1 No. 61306 'Mayflower,' and 37685 'Loch Arkaig,' cross the Gaur Viaduct at
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John Gray 13/05/2019

This is a single track viaduct just north of Rannoch station.
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37404 Ben Cruachan takes 44871 north over Rannoch Viaduct in early 1991. ...
Ewan Crawford //1991
The rails are wet and the sanders are working as K4 No.61994 The Great Marquess gets to grips with the gradient north of Rannoch Station ...
John Gray 22/09/2013
A northbound freight crosses Rannoch Viaduct. In the background to the left is Schiehallion. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
View north of the viaduct north of Rannoch station. ...
John Gray //

This is deep cutting with a roof to prevent drifting snow from blocking the line.
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A sprinter enters the Cruach Rock Shed. This is not a true tunnel but a cutting with a cover to prevent blockage due to snow drifting. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990

This small station on the West Highland Railway is only accessible by train, or via a very long private road. In summer the station is a B+B and restaurant Corrour Station House Restaurant . This replaced the former stationmaster's cottage in 1998.
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A new plaque has been unveiled at Corrour on the 19th of March. It commemorates the presentation of an award by the Railway Heritage Trust to Network ...
John Yellowlees 19/03/2018
'Onward Travel Information' and Corrour station facilities poster. In summary: foot or train. ...
John Yellowlees 19/03/2018
A view of Station Lodge at Corrour from the former signal box, now in use as holiday accommodation. ...
John Yellowlees 19/03/2018
K4 No.61994 The Great Marquess is in full cry as it crosses the bridge over the Allt Luib Ruairidh on 23 September during the long climb up ...
John Gray 23/09/2013

Corrour Summit, 1350ft, is immediately north west of Corrour station.
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On a dreich, foggy, afternoon, Black 5 No.44871 races over Corrour Summit
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John Gray 29/10/2016
73971 begins the descent from Corrour Summit, towards Loch Treig, with the
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John Gray 15/05/2019
Sign at Corrour Summit in 1987. ...
David Panton //1987
67009 heads north over Corrour Summit with the Caledonian Sleeper on 23 September, destination Fort William. ...
John Gray 23/09/2013



This single platform halt was at the north end of Loch Treig. It was a workman's halt built during the construction of Loch Laggan Dam, just to the east, and associated tunnels. The dam is part of the scheme which provides the head of water for electricity generation at the Lochaber Aluminium Works in Fort William. There was a worker's camp at Fersit, cement shed, stores and machine ...

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Southbound sleeper approaching Fersit. ...
Ewan Crawford 28/05/2006
With 67s set to replace 37s on the Fort William - London sleeper the drivers are probably taken aback by their elevation to super-star status as ...
Ewan Crawford 28/05/2006


This is a two platform station typical of the northern portion of the West Highland Railway. The main building, on the up (southbound) platform is Swiss Chalet in style. The north side of the building has been modified with the addition of three small wings - two being extensions of gables and the third being wholly new.
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Tulloch set in stone(s). ...
John Gray 20/07/2007
New cycle hoops installed at Tulloch. ...
First ScotRail //2006
Barely light. 37407 at Tulloch on southbound train, awaiting northbound sleeper. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Class 37 hauled passenger train heading north through Tulloch station at night. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This was a two platform station, now reduced to one platform with the loss of the up loop in 1964. The southbound (up) platform, disused, remains and the site of the station building and goods yard has been built over. These houses are built close to the platform.
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View from the redundant platform at Roy Bridge on 26 September 2005 following a period of exceptionally heavy rain, looking west towards Fort William. ...
John Furnevel 26/09/2005
Looking west over Roy Bridge station at night ...
Ewan Crawford //
Roy Bridge taken from the disused southbound platform looking west. ...
Ewan Crawford //
61994 The Great Marquess and 37676 Loch Rannoch start the descent into Monessie Gorge east of Roy Bridge with The Cathedrals ...
John Gray 08/05/2011


This is a two platform station with a passing loop. The main station building on the eastbound platform (for the south), altered at the road side, remains standing. There is a disused signal box ('C' listed) dating from 1949.
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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
A celebration of the 100 years of the West Highland Railway seen at Spean Bridge in 2001. It wouldn't be visible to passengers, but hopefully the ...
Ewan Crawford //2001
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

This distillery is in Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis. The distillery was formerly railway served.
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37 427 nears Fort William with the sleeper from London Euston in April 2003. Seen from the Aonach Mor access road. ...
Bill Roberton /04/2003
The first train of the day for Glasgow leaves Fort William. 156456, which started its journey at Mallaig, is passing the junction with the line into ...
Mark Bartlett 19/05/2010
Before running on to Fort William Junction a freight from Glasgow reverses into the Lochaber Aluminium Smelter with bauxite. The oil tanks are just ...
Ewan Crawford 28/09/2009

This is the junction between the Glasgow to Fort William line and the Mallaig Extension Railway (originally the Banavie Branch of the West Highland Railway).
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Caledonian Sleeper 73970 stabled in the oil depot sidings at Fort William. In the background are the home signals for the junction and the bridge ...
Bill Roberton 20/10/2017
Signals preserved outside a railway social club at Fort William. ...
John Yellowlees 08/05/2016
I happened to take a picture of the morning Jacobite almost exactly 46 years on in the very same location as the query image [see image 54302], ...
Mark Wringe 06/07/2016
On a rather dull December day, a recently introduced SuperSprinter Class 156 crosses Fort William Junction, renamed from Mallaig Junction 2 years ...
Charlie Niven /12/1990


A train photographed shortly after leaving Fort William in the summer of 1970. It has just crossed the River Nevis and is about to pass below the ...
John Furnevel 14/07/1970


This is a terminus with an island platform. The station replaced Fort William [1st] when the line was cut back in 1975. The platform is canopied at the buffer end.
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NELPG chairman, railway photographer and author, looks chuffed to bits as he sets off with the Jacobite on his 72nd birthday (09/08/17).

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Alan Hardie 09/08/2017
Diamonds are forever!!!! The NBL works plate of 62005, seen in Fort William at the head of the morning Jacobite in May 2016. ...
Gordon Steel 24/05/2016
K1 62005 with the morning 'Jacobite' getting ready to leave Fort William for Mallaig in July 2012. ...
Gordon Steel 06/07/2012
The last passenger having left the train, 73970 sits at the head of the Caledonian Sleeper waiting to begin the shunting manoeuvres which will start ...
Colin McDonald 22/08/2018

This shed was built within the fortifications at Fort William. The loading bank was to the south and south of that the line ran, via a number of loops, to the station.
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10 ton Shettleston crane on service girders installing the main girders
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Douglas Blades Collection //1948
J36 0-6-0 no 65313 on Fort William shed in September 1961. Note the rear of the beaver-tail observation car on the far left of the picture. ...
David Stewart 07/09/1961
K1 2-6-0 no 62052 receiving water on its home shed at Fort William in September 1961. ...
David Stewart 06/09/1961
Standard class 5 4-6-0 no 73077 shortly after arrival on Fort William shed in September 1961. The Eastfield locomotive had hauled the 10.5am train ...
David Stewart 06/09/1961


This was a three platform terminus alongside the seafront and steamer pier in Fort William. It was replaced by Fort William when the line was cut back in 1975. Nothing remains of the station and the site is now a dual carriageway. It is ironic that the townsfolk were disappointed the railway separated the town from the beach and now a substantial road does.
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5MT 44956 departing Fort William on 0931 to Glasgow, 1961. ...
David Murray-Smith 21/03/1961
The entrance to the original Fort William station at Station Square seen in a postcard view, probably from a vessel at the MacBrayne's Pier. That's ...
Ewan Crawford Collection //
Looking south along the platform at the old Fort William station in the summer of 1965. ...
John Robin 17/08/1965
A class 08 shunts stock off the sleeper at Fort William in August 1966. ...
Colin Miller /08/1966

The West Highland Railway terminated alongside the southern of the two town piers in Fort William, the line running south west from the station alongside Loch Linnhe to reach the pier where there was a loop.
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Grand Scottish Tour No.19 stands at Fort William after arrival from Edinburgh on 4 May 1974. All would be swept away the following year. ...
Bill Roberton 04/05/1974
A summer 1971 view of the cramped headshunt from Fort William station - until its relocation in 1975 to make way for the road builders. An imaginative ...
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) //1971




Fort William to Banavie

This branch ran from Banavie Junction [1st] in Fort William (and since renamed twice) to Banavie Pier on the Caledonian Canal.

This is the junction between the Glasgow to Fort William line and the Mallaig Extension Railway (originally the Banavie Branch of the West Highland Railway).
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Caledonian Sleeper 73970 stabled in the oil depot sidings at Fort William. In the background are the home signals for the junction and the bridge ...
Bill Roberton 20/10/2017
Signals preserved outside a railway social club at Fort William. ...
John Yellowlees 08/05/2016
I happened to take a picture of the morning Jacobite almost exactly 46 years on in the very same location as the query image [see image 54302], ...
Mark Wringe 06/07/2016
On a rather dull December day, a recently introduced SuperSprinter Class 156 crosses Fort William Junction, renamed from Mallaig Junction 2 years ...
Charlie Niven /12/1990

A pair of sidings in Fort William are served from the loop on the Mallaig line at Fort William Junction. These oil sidings have seen irregular use with the flow from Grangemouth New Oil Terminal starting and ceasing several times. At present, 2018, the sidings are not used, oil travels by road. ...

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66103 goes to pick up its load of alumnium slabs and empty bauxite wagons to take to Mossend. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Preparing for the journey south in the Fort William yard. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Sprinter passing bauxite wagons in Fort William Junction yard. ...
Ewan Crawford //
A trolley heads from Tom-na-faire depot with pipes to be laid below Fort William Junction Yard. ...
Ewan Crawford //1995

This yard and locomotive shed replaced the original Fort William Shed when the line was cut back to the present Fort William station.
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End of a hard working day at Tom na Faire. Steam and evaporating rain. Access by kind permission of British Rail. ...
Ewan Crawford //
48151 on shed at Fort William's Tom-na-Faire depot in 1995. ...
Ewan Crawford //1995
Steam engine and a mere 37 at Tom na Faire. Access by kind permission of British Rail. ...
Ewan Crawford //
45407 pausing after backing its train out from Fort William to Tom na Faire depot. ...
Ewan Crawford //

This is a single track girder viaduct crossing the River Lochy just outside Fort William. A footbridge on the side of the viaduct connects Lochyside and Caol on the north bank to Inverlochy on the south bank.
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Black 5 5305 crosses the Lochy Viaduct in 1990 with The Jacobite. Ben Nevis provides the backdrop and Inverlochy Castle is behind the locomotive. ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
Following a major overhaul at Carnforth, K1 No.62005 is back hauling 'The Jacobite' and is pictured crossing the viaduct over the River Lochy ...
John Gray /06/2012

The signal box here controlled the junction between the Banavie [1st] branch and the West Highland's extension west to Mallaig. Both lines were single track.
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Banavie Junction looking to Fort William with the Mallaig line through the trees on the right and the former Banavie Pier branch in the foreground ...
Ewan Crawford 27/04/2013

This station was the terminus of a short branch built by the West Highland Railway to the Caledonian Canal at Banavie. The branch allowed interchange with the steamers operating on the route to Inverness. The station was intentionally above Neptune's Staircase to minimise the number of locks in the onward journey to Inverness.
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The former Banavie Pier station from the canal bank in September 2005, with Ben Nevis as a backdrop. ...
John Furnevel 28/09/2005




Crianlarich Curve

This junction is immediately north of Crianlarich station. Here the the lines to Oban and Fort William separate. The junction faces south. Just to the north, on the Fort William route, is the Glenbruar Viaduct.
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GBRf 66736 draws away from Crianlarich with the North Blyth - Fort William Alcan service on 19 October 2017. The Oban line diverges to the left. ...
Bill Roberton 19/10/2017
Ex Oban train approaching Crianlarich station on the short spur which links the West Highland to the Callander and Oban. Ahead the narrow bridge where ...
Beth Crawford 05/05/2017
37 403 approaching Crianlarich Junction. It is on the Crianlarich Lower Junction - Crianlarich Junction section heading south, immediately behind is ...
Ewan Crawford //1990
The permanent way train takes the Fort William route at Crianlarich Junction. ...
Ewan Crawford //1987

This junction remains open - just. A short somewhat grassy siding runs east.
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At Lower Crianlarich Junction the former C&O remains as a grassy siding, at least not much worse than 10 years ago [see image 9831]. The name of the ...
Ewan Crawford 29/07/2016




Lochaber Smelter

37 427 nears Fort William with the sleeper from London Euston in April 2003. Seen from the Aonach Mor access road. ...
Bill Roberton /04/2003
The first train of the day for Glasgow leaves Fort William. 156456, which started its journey at Mallaig, is passing the junction with the line into ...
Mark Bartlett 19/05/2010
Before running on to Fort William Junction a freight from Glasgow reverses into the Lochaber Aluminium Smelter with bauxite. The oil tanks are just ...
Ewan Crawford 28/09/2009

This is the only remaining aluminium smelter in the United Kingdom.
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Books

All Stations to Mallaig!: West Highland Line Since Nationalisation
Argyll and the Highlands Last Days of Steam

Argyll and the Highlands' Lost Railways

Ben Nevis and Fort William, The Mamores and The Grey Corries, Kinlochleven and Spean Bridge (OS Explorer Map)

History of the Railways of the Scottish Highlands: West Highland Railway v. 1

History of the Railways of the Scottish Highlands: West Highland Railway v. 1

Iron Road to the Isles: A Travellers and Tourist Guide to the West Highland Lines

Iron Roads to the Isles: A Travellers and Tourists Souvenir Guide to the West Highland Lines

Mountain Moor and Loch on the Route of the West Highland Railway

On West Highland Lines

Railway World Special: West Highland Lines

Rannan Rathad Iarainn nan Eilean =: The West Highland Line

Road To The Isles Dvd: Part One The West Highland Line Between Crianlarich to Fort William, From the Drivers Cab Of A Class 37, With The Caledonian Sleeper
The Mallaig Railway: The West Highland Extension 1897-1901 (RCAHMS Broadsheet)
The New Railway: The Earliest Years of the West Highland Line

The Story of the West Highland

The Story of the West Highland: The 1940s LNER Guide to the Line

The West Highland Railway

The West Highland Railway (Railways of the Scottish Highlands)

The West Highland Railway 120 Years

Trossachs and West Highlands: Exploring the Lost Railways (Local History Series)

Victorian Travel on the West Highland Line: By Mountain, Moor and Loch in 1894

Walks from the West Highland Railway (Cicerone Guide)

West Highland Line: Great Railway Journeys Through Time

West Highland Railway
West Highland Railway (History of the Railways of the Scottish Highlands v. 1): West Highland Railway v. 1
West Highland Railway: Plans, Poltics and People