Stromeferry

Location type

Station


Names and dates

Strome Ferry (1870-1963)
Stromeferry (1963-)

Opened on the Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway).

Opened on the Dingwall and Skye Railway.

Open on the Kyle Line.


Description

This is a single platform station located in the small village of Stromeferry with some parking nearby. It opened in 1870 and was the terminus of the railway from Dingwall near Inverness until extension west to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1897.


Terminus


This was a steamer pier and the terminus of the line until extension west and south to Kyle of Lochalsh. The original intention had been to continue further west but, short of money, the Dingwall and Skye Railway built this terminus.

The choice of location for the terminus at an underpopulated remote lochside location may seem odd. However there was relatively deep water for steamers which operated to Skye and beyond, this was located on the main West Coast roadway and it was already established as a ferry location due to the West Coast road's ferry over Loch Carron.

The station had a single platform on the north side which was covered by a timber trainshed. Rails ran via a tight curve to a goods shed on the north side of the trainshed and continued onto the pier for goods exchange and fish traffic. There was a goods yard with loading banks on the south side of the station. East of the station was the two road Strome Ferry Shed on the south side of the line, approached from the west. There was a signal box from the start which was located between the railway and the shed approach.

The steamer pier was just to the east of the existing ferry slip.


Steamers


Prior to the opening of the line there was a well established steamers service up the west coast from Glasgow operated by David Hutcheson & Co. The company was not prepared to divert its steamers via the new pier and the Dingwall and Skye Railway was obliged to operate its own steamers. The company purchased the S.S. 'Oscar' (possibly of 1850) and P.S. 'Jura' (of 1857).

From the pier there were daily sailings by S.S. 'Oscar' to Portree via Kyleakin and Broadford, the outward trip being in the afternoons and return trip being in the mornings.

P.S. 'Jura' steamed outward to Stornoway on a Saturday (returning Monday) and Tuesday (returning Thursday).

Unfortunately S.S. 'Oscar' was stranded off Applecross in late 1870. Although salvaged later a replacement was needed. P.S. 'Carham' (of 1864) was purchased from the NBR in 1871. The P.S. 'Jura' was sold in late 1871. Later P.S. 'Ferret' was also purchased.

In 1877 the Highland Railway took over the steamer operation. When the Highland withdrew the Stornoway fish boat the up and coming Callander and Oban Railway was to take much of the traffic, large due to its competitive rates.

The steamers were withdrawn in 1880. The service taken over by David MacBrayne, successor to Hutcheson. Late in 1880 the Dingwall and Skye Railway was bought by the Highland Railway.

To protect steamers approaching the pier from submerged rocks there were lights and beacons close to Plockton, particularly the Cat Islands Lighthouse.

The pier was extended in 1880. The pier had been 'L' shaped and was converted into a 'T' shape.

The running of a Sunday fish train, receiving fish from Stornoway, was to give rise to 'riots' at the pier in 1883, this operation being run on the Sabbath.

The station's trainshed burned down in 1891. This fire also destroyed a train of fourteen carriages and luggage vans.


Extension to Kyle of Lochalsh


In the 1890s, with the Government's financial assistance, the railway was continued west and south to Kyle of Lochalsh.

At Strome Ferry the signal box was replaced in 1893. A replacement trainshed, which could be passed through, was built. A second platform for westbound trains was added to the south of the eastbound, offset to the west to be outwith the trainshed. The existing platform was extended west. The road to the pier was carried over the line by a large skew girder bridge and the west end of the station.

A new signal box, 'Strome Ferry West', opened with the extension at the west end in 1897. The new box was at the west end of the eastbound platform outwith the trainshed. The existing 1893 box became 'Strome Ferry East'.

The pier was demolished in 1937.

The overall roof was removed in 1941 (possibly reused for goods sheds at Oldbury and Sowerby Bridge). A small portion of the building which had been outside the shed was retained, a little odd looking without the trainshed.

The signal boxes closed in 1966 and the west end of the westbound loop line was taken out, the line being retained as a siding. The former eastbound platform remained in use, more useful as it adjoined the nearby houses. At the same time the goods yard sidings were lifted.


Oil rig construction traffic


One of the conditions of the establishment of the Howard Doris Loch Kishorn Fabrication Yard, where oil rigs were to be built, was that materials were to be brought in by sea. The Ninian Central Platform was assembled at this site.

This development was planned for some time and the decision to bring in materials by rail and sea was responsible for reversing the planned closure of the Kyle line in 1973.

In 1974/5 land was reclaimed at Stromeferry with space for four cement silos, five sidings (three looped alongside silos, two by pier) and a new pier with cranes. Materials were taken from the pier to the fabrication site.

Briefly there was considerable traffic: including cement from the Dunbar Cement Works (Oxwellmains), fly ash from Alloa Marshalling Yard.

There were two Hudswell Clark 0-6-0DM shunters.

The railway depot closed in 1977. The fabrication yard remained open until 1987, mothballed latterly.

The sidings, long disused, were disconnected around 1982 and lifted in 1988.


Today


The station buildings no longer exist and only one platform, the original platform and its extension to the west, remains in use.

Local

Although the railway hotel is no more, the former stationmaster's house is available as accommodation for large groups. Stationmaster's Lodge


Tags

Terminus Station Pier Riot

External links

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






No ferry


Strome Ferry is famous for its 'Strome Ferry (No Ferry)' road sign on the A890.

Strome Ferry is on the south shore of Loch Carron and its ferry connected to Strome on the north shore until 1970 when the A890 Stromeferry Bypass was opened between Stromeferry and Attadale. The largely single track roadway was squeezed in between the shore, railway and cliffs leading to the building of the Avalanche Shelter to protect the road and railway.

Rockfalls have been a feature of the road since its opening leading to the novel use of matting on the railway track near the Avalanche Shelter and diversion of road vehicles along the railway (when trains are not running!) during repairs to the cuttings alongside the road.


S.S. 'Ferret'


Following service with the Dingwall and Skye Railway the S.S. 'Ferret' was to go on to have an interesting future.

Built by J. & G. Thomson (Clyde Bank Iron Shipyard [2nd]) in 1871 this passenger and cargo vessel was bought by the company from J. & G. Burns in 1873.

Sold to the Highland Railway in 1877 that company ceased steamer services from Stromeferry in 1880.

The now redundant vessel was chartered in the name of 'George Smith' for six months in 1880. Unfortunately the vessel had been effectively 'stolen'.

Lloyds reported the Ferret passing Gibraltar in November 1880. Later wreckage, apparently from the Ferret, was found at Gibraltar and the Highland planned to claim the total loss of the vessel.

When the Ferret was found in Melbourne, Australia, in 1881 Smith was detained. The vessel had called in South Wales, entered the Mediterranean but left under cover of darkness without lights, repainted the vessel (now named 'Bentan'), called at Santos in Brazil where a cargo of coffee was picked up under false pretences of carrying it to Marseilles, renaming the vessel 'India' and continuing to Cape Town, selling the coffee, then continuing in search of further cargo via Mauritius and Port Albany to Melbourne.

Rather than return the Ferret to Britain she was sold locally and operated until 1920 when wrecked at the Yorke Peninsula. The boiler can be seen on the shoreline at Cape Spencer. South Australia - Ethel and Ferret