Lochailort: 45157 The Glasgow Highlander climbs out of Lochailort towards
Mallaig with The Jacobite on 1st April 2018. The blue backgound of the smokebox numberplate is a nice touch.
John Gray 01/04/2018


Location type


Name and dates

Lochailort (1901-)

Station code: LCL National Rail ScotRail
Where: Highland, Scotland
Opened on the Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway).
Open on the West Highland Line.


This is a single platform station. It was a two platform station similar to both Glenfinnan and Arisaig. It is located at Kinlochailort, now more commonly known as Lochailort due to the station. The loch, Loch Ailort, itself is to the south west.

All the original buildings and the small goods yard have been lost (a disused loading bank remains). The main station building, of typical 'Extension' style such as those at Glenfinnan and Arisaig, was on the westbound platform. It was demolished around 1983. There was a relatively modern signal box here at the west end, the loop having been extended in the Second World War. The box closed in 1966 but remains in use as a railway bothy until 1986 when it was demolished.

Only the westbound platform remains in use, now used for both directions. The eastbound platform is still there, but somewhat overgrown in summer. There is a very limited amount of parking available here.

Despite its present reduced status, it was not an unimportant station, being the railhead of the Moidart peninsula (where Roshven is located, at one time the intended western terminus of the line). The road to Moidart is relatively new, dating from the 1960s. The station served the nearby Inverailort House House which was used extensively in Commando training in the Second World War. (The Lochailort Estate had a second station, a shooting halt, at Lech-a-vuie Platform).

There are a number of hotels here and this is the first time the line reaches the true western seaboard, although it continues to Mallaig to reach a port.

One of the construction camps for navvies was nearby.

At 23.67 miles from Banavie Junction [2nd] this station is just over half way along the line.


Lochailort House is half a mile to the south.

The Lochailort Inn is just to the south at the road junction between the road from Fort William to Mallaig and that south to Roshven and beyond. Lochailort Inn

Polnish Chapel, now a house, is a former chapel. It is a whitewashed building which forms the backdrop of many photographs of the line. The chapel is about a mile to the west on the south side of the line.



External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67


Gaelic name: Loch Ailleart

Nearby stations
Lech-a-vuie Platform
Loch Eil Outward Bound
Fort William [1st]
Fort William
Banavie Pier
Lochailort Tunnel
Kinlochailort Camp
Camas Driseach Depot
Polnish No 106 Tunnel
Polnish No 107 Tunnel
Arienskill Bridge
Polnish House
Arnabol Viaduct
Loch nan Uamh Viaduct
Loch nan Uamh No 116 Tunnel
Lochailort Inn
Inverailort House
Loch Ailort
Polnish Chapel
Loch Eilt
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.

A white chapel

West of Lochailort, going west to Mallaig on the route to Beasdale the Polnish Chapel can be seen on the left, a small striking whitewashed former chapel.


Lochailort House, south of the station and on the shore of Loch Ailort itself, is very much associated with the training of special forces in the Second World War, such as the Commandos. The surrounding landscape is challenging and there was a nearby railway on which to practise mock sabotage.

Chronology Dates

30/03/1901West Highland Railway
Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Banavie Junction [2nd], Banavie Canal Bridge, Tomonie Signal Box, Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Arisaig, Mallaig signal boxes opened. Banavie Junction [1st] signal box and junction renamed Mallaig Junction.
01/04/1901Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Line opened from Banavie (Banavie Junction [2nd]), over the Caledonian Canal and on through Banavie, Corpach, Locheilside, Glenfinnan, Lochailort, Beasdale, Arisaig and Morar to Mallaig, extending the West Highland Railway to the western seaboard. There was no official opening ceremony.
27/11/1966Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Lochailort signal box closed.
  /  /1983Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Lochailort station building demolished.

News items

20/11/2023Not giving in: Highland charity founder reaches DAY 19 of hunger strike in fight against Network Rail [Press and Journal]
04/08/2022Network Rail completes £1.8m improvement programme on Mallaig Line [Network Rail]
05/05/2022Lochaber rail services disrupted by heavy rain [Press and Journal]
27/03/2022In the Highlands, a lonely bothy begins a new life [FT]
08/02/2022Lochaber charity says Network Rail will close its respite care work for five months [Press and Journal]
08/02/2022Network Rail begins £1.8m improvement programme on Mallaig Line [Network Rail]
30/11/2021Highland train passengers told to expect delays due to heavy rain speed restrictions [Press and Journal]
12/07/2020West Highland line to reopen for customers [Network Rail Media Centre]
26/06/2020West Highland line recovery works underway [Network Rail]
25/06/2020Landslip causing major disruption to Highland railway services [Press and Journal]


A Mallaig Boyhood (Flashbacks)
All Stations to Mallaig!: West Highland Line Since Nationalisation
Captains and Commanders: Memoirs of a Scottish West Coast Fisherman

Chapels of the Rough Bounds

Highland Steam: A Scrapbook of Images from the 'Kyle, Mallaig and Highland Lines

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

Landranger (40) Mallaig & Glenfinnan, Loch Shiel (OS Landranger Map)

Mallaig Line: An Illustrated History and Guide

Old Mallaig, Morar and Arisaig

On West Highland Lines

Railway World Special: Fort William and Mallaig

Railway World Special: West Highland Lines

Rannan Rathad Iarainn nan Eilean =: The West Highland Line
Steam to Mallaig
The Mallaig Railway
The Mallaig Railway: The West Highland Extension 1897-1901 (RCAHMS Broadsheet)
The Story of the West Highland

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

The West Highland Mallaig Extension in B.R.Days

The West Highland Railway

The West Highland Railway (Railways of the Scottish Highlands)

The West Highland Railway 120 Years

Walks from the West Highland Railway (Cicerone Guide)

West Highland Extension: 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