Fort William: The return of steam to the West Highland Line in May 1984 sees an immaculate 673 <I>Maude</I> standing at Fort William with the <I>West Highlander</I>.
Peter Todd 28/05/1984

Fort William

Location type


Name and dates

Fort William (1975-)

Station code: FTW National Rail ScotRail
Where: Highland, Scotland
Opened on the West Highland Railway.
Open on the West Highland Line.


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.

The station is at the north east end of the town and connected to it by an underpass of the A82. The bus station is alongside.

The station is served by several trains a day to Glasgow Queen Street High Level and Mallaig and a sleeper which arrives from London in the morning and leaves in the evening.

For much of the year this is the starting point for 'The Jacobite' which runs through splendid scenery over Glenfinnan Viaduct to Mallaig. The Jacobite

The extreme east end of the station, the lines leading to the platforms, is on the course of the original line. (The curve of the line here followed the original course of the Ruver Nevis.) The bulk of the station was built on the site of a house and some wooded parkland (formerly before the east wall of the fort). The extreme north west of the building is on the site of the east fortifications.


Just to the west of the station, on the bank of Loch Linnhe, are the partial remains of Fort William itself.
Visit Fort William - Cromwellian Barracks

The town was called Maryburgh, to complement Fort William, named for William and Mary.

Fort William is the northern end of the West Highland Way and the railway provides a good method of returning south. Walking south the path next meets the railway at Bridge of Orchy.

Visit Scotland - Ben Nevis


Terminus station

External links

NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67


Gaelic name: An Gearasdan

Chronology Dates

  /11/1882Glasgow and North Western Railway
Glasgow and North Western Railway proposed, the Bill presented to Parliament to seek approval. The route was to have been a 167 mile long railway from Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William. Supported by the North British Railway and opposed by the Highland Railway, Caledonian Railway (part owners of the Callander and Oban Railway), Caledonian Canal, David MacBrayne and some landowners. The Bill was rejected in 1883. It was not built (a less ambitious variation of it, the West Highland Railway with an Act in 1889, did open).
28/07/1884Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Act passed. This was partly in response to the proposed incursion of the North British Railway's Glasgow and North Western Railway from Glasgow to Inverness via Loch Lomond, Crianlarich, Glencoe, Fort William and the Great Glen.
23/10/1889West Highland Railway
First sod cut by William Frederick Scarlett (Lord Abinger) near Fort William.
07/08/1894West Highland Railway
Public opening from Fort William to Craigendoran. Stations opened at Craigendoran Upper, Helensburgh Upper, Row, Shandon, 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].
22/07/1901West Highland Railway
Sleeper cars from Kings Cross to Fort William commence.
  /  /1924Fort William Smelter
Site clearance begins in Fort William to build a smelter for the British Aluminium Company.
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.
02/09/1939West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) closed to passengers. By closure the service was meagre - a service from Fort William [1st] on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and a reverse working on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. Banavie Junction [2nd] to Mallaig Junction remains open to passengers as part of the Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway).
06/08/1951West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) (excluded) closed to goods and completely. Banavie Junction [2nd] to Mallaig Junction remains open to passengers as part of the Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway).
13/06/1975West Highland Railway
New Fort William station opened, old station Fort William [1st], by the pier, closed.
  /  /1977Fort William Smelter
The Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway closed, some track remained by the works in Fort William.
  /  /1983Glasgow, Dumbarton and Helensburgh Railway Stobcross Railway
Maryhill Park signal box burns down, line from Maryhill Park Junction [1st] to Knightswood South Junction (Anniesland) out of use. Trains from Rothesay Dock to BSC Ravenscraig Steelworks (imported coal) and stock movements unable to run. Fort William sleeper diverted to run through Singer.
14/05/1990West Highland Railway
Motorail service commences running to Fort William.
04/10/2005First ScotRail
'Contact Centre' for First ScotRail opened in Fort William by Scottish Transport Minister Tavish Scott.
  /02/2010West Highland Railway
GB Railfreight wins three year contract to move alumina from North Blyth to the Lochaber Smelter, Fort William.
11/04/2011North Blyth Branch (Blyth and Tyne Railway)
GB Railfreight hires Deltic 55022 Royal Scots Gray to operate the North Blyth Alcan Terminal to Lynemouth Aluminium Works short distance run. (The locomotive also made the run to the Lochaber Aluminium Works near Fort William.)
04/03/2020West Highland Railway
A Class 55 'Deltic' visits Fort William for the first time (55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier') on a tour from Cardiff.

News items

28/11/2023End of the line? Harry Potter train waits for ruling on Hogwarts route [BBC News]
15/11/2023Walk in the footsteps of explorers with West Highland Line audio drama [Community Rail Network]
06/10/2023Trains suspended in 'do not travel' weather warning for Scotland [BBC News]
25/09/2023Warning over delays and cancellations on West Highland railway line due to heavy rain and strong winds [Press and Journal]
02/08/2023Death of Stuart Sellar []
05/07/2023Beasdale Station Cottage, Beasdale, Nr Arisaig [Mcintyre & Company]
14/06/2023A86 reopens as ScotRail disruption continues on West Highland Line between Fort William and Crianlarich [STV]
14/06/2023Scotrail services from Glasgow affected due to 'trapped' trains [Glasgow Times]
19/04/2023ScotRail adds more carriages to Mallaig on its Highland Explorer services [Global Railway Review]
29/03/2023Jacobite steam locomotives to head through Scotland this Thursday [RailAdvent]


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