West Highland Railway

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West Highland Railway
Locale Scotland
Dates of operation 12 August 1889 – 21 December 1908
Successor North British Railway
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Mallaig Extension Railway
Banavie Pier
Banavie Junction (new)
Fort William(original)
Fort William
Fort William Junction
Invergarry and Fort
Augustus Railway
Spean Bridge
Roy Bridge
Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway
Fersit Halt
Bridge of Orchy
Upper Tyndrum
Callander and Oban Railway
Glen Falloch Platform
Arrochar and Tarbet
Glen Douglas
Whistlefield Halt
Faslane Branch
Faslane Junction
Rhu (Row)
Helensburgh Upper
Helensburgh Central(GD&HR)
Craigendoran Junction
Glasgow, Dumbarton and
Helensburgh Railway

The West Highland Railway was one of the last main lines to be built in Scotland. It is one of the most scenic railway lines in Britain, linking Fort William on the west coast to Glasgow. It was originally operated by the North British Railway.


Construction was authorised in 1889, with the Act of Parliament being passed on 12 August and construction starting 23 October. The following year the branch line to Banavie Pier was authorised. The line was publicly opened to Fort William on 7 August 1894.

The line was extended to Mallaig by the Mallaig Extension Railway. Authorisation was obtained on 31 July 1894 and the Mallaig Extension Railway opened on 1 April 1901.[1]

The West Highland Railway was absorbed by the North British Railway on 21 December 1908.[1] The North British Railway was then absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway at the Grouping in 1923.

Brief description of line

The West Highland Railway begins at Craigendoran Junction heading towards Garelochhead and emerging alongside the northwesterly shores of Loch Lomond. Significant points on the journey include Crianlarich, an important Highland junction of both road and rail where the line crosses - and is linked to - the Callander and Oban Railway and Tyndrum, the smallest place in Scotland to boast two railway stations. After Tyndrum, the line climbs onto Rannoch Moor. The station at Corrour on the moor is one of the most remote stations in Britain. Carrying on northwards, the final stop before Fort William is Spean Bridge. A branch line was constructed from Fort William to Banavie Pier at the southern end of the Caledonian Canal.

Connections to other railways

Current status

Apart from the last section of the Banavie Branch, and several of the southern stations, the line is still open, being operated by Abellio ScotRail as part of the West Highland Line services (which also encompasses services to Oban and Mallaig).



  1. 1.0 1.1 Awdry, Page 169


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  • Thomas, John (1965). The West Highland Railway. Newton Abbot: David and Charles (Publishers) Ltd. ISBN 0-7153-7281-5.
  • RAILSCOT on the West Highland Railway

External links