Far North Line

Introduction

The Far North line runs north from Inverness to Thurso and Wick.

Why built

The route was formed by the Inverness and Ross-shire Railway, Sutherland Railway, Duke of Sutherland's Railway and Sutherland and Caithness Railway. It serves towns on the east coast of Scotland north of Inverness.

The lines came to be owned by the Highland Railway which ran to Perth in the south, Keith in the east, Inverness in the centre, Kyle of Lochalsh in the west and Thurso and Wick in the north.



Route described

The Far North line runs north from Inverness to Thurso and Wick via Dingwall, Invergordon, Tain, Lairg, Brora and Helmsdale. Much of the route runs by the sea on the east coast of the Far North of Scotland.

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.

Inverness to Wick

Inverness

This is a terminus for services to and from locations to the south such as Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Edinburgh Waverley and London, and locations north and west such as Kyle of Lochalsh, Thurso and Wick.
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Beauly

This station is in the south of the town of Beauly. It has a very short platform. It was formerly a two platform station. The new platform uses a short section of the former northbound platform.
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Conon Bridge

Conon was a single platform station until the line was doubled in 1911 and closed in 1960.
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Muir of Ord

This is a two platform station. The main station building was on the down (northbound) platform.
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Dingwall

This is a two platform station on the Far North Lines. A café operates in the station building and under the glass canopied platform. Tina's Tearoom
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Alness

This is a single platform station.
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Invergordon

This is a two platform station with a passing loop. The goods yard, at the west end of the station, south of the line, has been lifted. The station building remains standing....

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Fearn

This is a one platform station, the former southbound platform. The loop line is lifted and northbound platform out of use.
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Tain

This is a two platform station with a passing loop and two platforms on the Far North line. The original station building remains, as does a footbridge, and there are goods yards to the north end, on the west side of the line, accessed from the north.
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Ardgay

This is a two platform station with a passing loop on the Far North line. The northbound platform retains its station building, now a house, and a goods yard exists to the south, west side of the line, currently in permanent way maintenance use. The station was known, until 1977, by the name of the...

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Culrain

This is a single platform station south of the Oykel Viaduct. Originally a single platform station a passing loop and second platform were added to increase capacity but the added southbound platform and loop have since been lifted.
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Invershin

This is a single platform station, immediately to the north of the Oykel Viaduct with a short timber portion at the south end. The station building is in a state of ruin....

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Lairg

This is a two platform station on the Far North Line.
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Rogart

This is a two platform station with a loop on the Far North line. Station buildings remain standing on the northbound platform. In the former goods yard there are camping coaches, on relaid sidings. The south signal box, now out of use and relocated further north to the northbound platform, survived...

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Golspie

This is a single platform station which retains its station building, now a house after spending several years derelict and at risk. There was a passing loop here but the northbound platform and line have been removed. The platforms were slightly staggered. Adjacent, and to the south, of the station...

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Dunrobin Castle

This is a single platform station close to Dunrobin Castle. It is noted for its station building (really a private waiting room). The station was briefly the southern station of the Duke of Sutherland's Private Railway to Helmsdale. Following incorporation of that line into the Highland Railway...

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Brora

This is a two platform station on the Far North line with a passing loop. The station building stands on the northbound platform. A goods shed, in poor condition, remains to the north. There is a goods yard siding, now used for permanent way trains, to the north on the west side of the line. The...

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Helmsdale

This is a two platform station with a passing loop on the Far North line. The southbound platform building still stands as does the southern signal box, out of use.
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Kildonan

This is a single platform station on the Far North line. It was formerly a two platform station but the northbound line and platform are out of use. The timber building on the disused northbound platform remains standing. There is a level crossing to the immediate south of the station.
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Kinbrace

This is a single platform station, formerly with two platforms and a loop. The station building still stands, in use as a house. To the north is a level crossing. To the south of the station, on the east side of the line, was the goods yard. This was equipped with a chute for loading deer carcasses...

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Forsinard

This is a two platform station with a passing loop. It is separated from the goods yard, now a permanent way siding, by a level crossing. The station building (now an RSPB centre Forsinard Flows Visitor Centre ) still stands...

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Altnabreac

This is a one platform station on the Far North line with a permanent way siding to the south on the east side of the line, the former goods yard.
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Scotscalder

This is a one platform, the former northbound platform, station on the Far North line. This was a two platform station was a passing loop. The southbound line is lifted and the platform is out of use. The station building remains, in use as a house.
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Georgemas Junction

'The Georgemas' is the furthest north junction in Britain and is also a station. Here the lines to Wick and Thurso (accessed by reversal for a train from the south) divide. The station building remains standing, the ground floor formerly having been the offices and upper floor staff...

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Wick

This is the end of the Far North line from Inverness, the most distant station from the rest of the network. The furthest north station is Thurso.
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Georgemas to Thurso

Georgemas Junction

'The Georgemas' is the furthest north junction in Britain and is also a station. Here the lines to Wick and Thurso (accessed by reversal for a train from the south) divide. The station building remains standing, the ground floor formerly having been the offices and upper floor staff...

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Thurso

This is a two platform station and is the furthest north station in Britain. One platform is partly covered by the all-over timber roof of the station, a remarkable survivor, all the more remarkable that Wick has also survived.
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