Spean Bridge: Mid-morning trains cross at Spean Bridge on 3rd June 2016.
David Spaven 03/06/2016

Spean Bridge

Location type


Name and dates

Spean Bridge (1894-)

Station code: SBR National Rail ScotRail
Where: Highland, Scotland
Opened on the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway.
Opened on the West Highland Railway.
Open on the West Highland Line.


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.

A goods yard, now in use for permanent way purposes, remains. This is at the east end of the station, north of the line and serves a goods bank. It is reached by reversal.

The station was originally a two platform station but a bay platform was added on the west side with the opening of the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway in 1903. The part of the branch closest to the station was double track and a complicated double track junction was installed leading to the bay platform (and its loop) and the west end of the mainline station loop. In addition Spean Bridge Shed was opened for the branch trains. To control the complicated junction a signal box, 'Spean Bridge Junction', was added in 1901 (two years before opening to enable the construction). The existing station signal box was also replaced to which the junction box was subservient. The two lines ran west almost together for a short distance before the branch turned north west.

The junction was later greatly simplified in 1921 and the box closed. The station box took over the junction.

The branch closed to passengers in 1933. It remained open for goods until 1946, when closed by the London and North Eastern Railway. With this came a further re-signalling. A temporary box was used until the permanent box was ready in 1949. It is this which still stands.

A portion of the southern end of the branch was retained for many years. This ran nearly as far as the Spean Viaduct [IFA], terminating close to the A82, and was used to store wagons. The A82 was realigned but the remains of its former bridge over the branch can be found.

The signal box closed in 1986. Spean Bridge Shed was in use as a works building in the 1990s but has been demolished.

The edge of the bay platform can still be traced. The station building for the branch company, a timber building on the west side of the road overbridge, existed until the late 1980s.

The main station building is now a restaurant. Old Station Restaurant Spean Bridge


Station junction

External links

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


Gaelic name: Drochaid an Aonachain

Nearby stations
Roy Bridge
Invergloy Platform
Banavie Pier
Fort William
Fersit Halt
Fort William [1st]
Loch Eil Outward Bound
Spean Bridge Shed
Spean Viaduct [IFA]
Spean Viaduct
Bridge 18 Allt Dublin
Bridge 19
Bridge 17
Bridge 21 Allt Briste
Central Loop
Bridge 16 Allt a^ Bhalbhain
Bridge 31 Allt nan Slat
Adit 5 tip
Commando Memorial
High Bridge
Kerreays Level Crossing
Millens Level Crossing
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.


Railhead for the Achnacarry House training ground for Commandos in the Second World War. Those arriving would detrain here and cross over, by today's Commando Memorial to Gairlochy and the house.

Chronology Dates

29/01/1889West Highland Railway
Charles Forman (of engineers Forman & McCall), James Bulloch (Forman's 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.
30/01/1889West 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 William Frederick Scarlett's (Lord Abinger) Craig-uaine-ach Lodge.
31/07/1894West Highland Railway
Helensburgh Upper, Shandon, Garelochhead, Glen Douglas, Arrochar and Tarbet, Ardlui, Crianlarich, Tyndrum [WHR], Bridge of Orchy, Gorton, Rannoch, Corrour, Inverlair, Roy Bridge, Spean Bridge signal boxes opened.
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].
  /  /1901West Highland Railway
Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Original signal box at Spean Bridge closed and replaced along with the opening of a junction signal box, a subsidiary to the main box.
20/09/1921West Highland Railway
Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Spean Bridge junction signal box closed, junction rationalised.
01/12/1933Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Fort Augustus to Spean Bridge closed to passengers. Gairlochy, Invergarry, Invergloy Platform, Aberchalder, Fort Augustus closed. Line closed to all but a weekly coal train. (Also given as 31/12/1933).
14/04/1946West Highland Railway
Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Spean Bridge signal box closed and temporary box opened.
01/01/1947Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Fort Augustus to Spean Bridge (excluded) closed to freight.
28/08/1949West Highland Railway
New Spean Bridge signal box replaces temporary box.
  /03/1950Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Last section of the line dismantled, except for a short length retained as a siding at Spean Bridge.
02/03/1986West Highland Railway
Spean Bridge signal box closed.
08/05/1988West Highland Railway
Spean Bridge block post can be switched out.
29/05/1988West Highland Railway
Tyndrum Upper, Bridge of Orchy, Rannoch, Corrour, Tulloch, Spean Bridge block posts eliminated by RETB.
  /04/2010West Highland Railway
Historic Scotland issues a formal notice to stop the demolition of Spean Bridge signal box.

News items

27/07/2023Into the wild in a tux: a Highlands adventure by luxury sleeper train [FT]
17/02/2021ScotRail rides to the rescue of remote Highland community [ScotRail]
03/05/2017Fire crews battle large wildfire in Lochaber [Press and Journal]


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)

Forgotten Railways: Scotland

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