Banavie

156banavie 110908 no1 copy.jpgBanavie (Banbhaidh) station is adjacent to Neptune's Staircase, a set of locks on the Caledonian Canal which crosses Scotland linking Loch Linnhe and the Atlantic Coast of Scotland with Inverness and the North Sea via Loch Ness. There is a hotel with bar/restaurant near the station. Picture shows the 08.30 Fort William - Mallaig train just leaving Banavie station, where it immediately crosses the Caledonian Canal via a swing bridge.


 Looking down the 'staircase' from near the mid point. The staircase consists of 8 locks and is the longest in Britain. It was an early 19th century feat of engineering and an outstanding example of Thomas Telfords many achievements.

 The frozen top basin in winter with Ben Nevis and Aonach Mor behind.

 

 

 

Fort William

corpach and ben nevis.jpgFort William (An Gearasdan) is the outdoor capital of the UK, at the head of Loch Linnhe and at the foot of Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis. It is the northern terminus of the West Highland Way long distance path.

 

The largest town in Lochaber, Fort William has every facility including hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, supermarkets and a sports centre.

 

It is a mountaineering centre for Ben Nevis and adjacent mountains. The Nevis Range Gondola system gives access to skiing areas in winter and transports walkers into the hills in summer. Fort William also hosts the Mountain Bike World Championship and Scottish Six Day Motorcycle Trial.

 

Picture: Ben Nevis rises above Fort William, Viewed from Corpach.

 

 

 

Roy Bridge

      Roy Bridge is a village with hotels, bar/restaurants and a camping and caravanning site on the River Spean. The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy are unique geological features left by a glacial lake.

 

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Mallaig/Fort William, Glasgow Queen Street Summer evening service arriving to pick up passengers at Roy Bridge Station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between Tulloch and Roy Bridge the line shares the narrow route of the River Spean where it flows through the Monessie gorge. A spectacular place after heavy rain and snow melt when the river forms a foaming torrent which can reach the footings of the protecting railings at the side of the line. In normal weather and after a dry summer the waters of the River Spean are diverted at the Laggan Dam, through 14 miles of tunnels under the Grey Corrie mountains, to the aluminium smelter at Fort William. For most of the time only a small trickle of compensation water remains in the gorge, as when the picture below was taken in mid October 2014.

The Caledonian Sleeper to London Euston (Fort William departure 19.50) passing near Roy Bridge in July with the mountain Aonach Mhor in the background. Aonach Mhor is the location for the Nevis Range Skii facility and visitors can take a gondala lift up this mountain for spectacular views of Ben Nevis and westwards across Loch Eil to the mountains of Kintail and as far as the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye.

Spean Bridge

Spean Bridge (Drochaid an Aonachain) is a major village with hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops. The nearby Commando Monument commemerates the commandos who were trained in the area between 1942 and 1945. The village also stands at the junction where the A86 road to Kingussie and Aviemore meets the A82 Glasgow to Inverness road. Situated at the foot of the Grey Corries mountain range the village is well situated for walkers to enjoy the impressive views of Aonach Mor, Carn Mor Dearg and the imposing north east face of Ben Nevis, best seen from the Commando Monument mentioned above.

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 Scottish Railway Preservation Society Rail Tour passing through Spean Bridge Station on 9th May 2009.

 Spean Bridge was the junction where the Invergarry & Fort August joined the West Highland Line. The Invergarry & Fort Augustus Line opened in 1903 and extended as far as a pier on Loch Ness. The Line had a brief history and closed to passenger traffic in 1933. It remained open, serving coal delivery and strategic requirements during the 2nd World War. It finally closed in 1947. The Invergarry Station Preservation Society is constituted to rebuild Invergarry Station and establish a museum dedicated to the line and its chequered political and financial history.

 

Tulloch

Tulloch (An Tulach) is a wayside station near the end of Loch Treig, which is the source of hydro power for the Fort William aluminium smelter.

The station building has been adapted for use as a bunkhouse.

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Tulloch Station in summer. Scotrail, Glasgow Queen Street train from Mallaig and Fort William. 4 coach Class 156 DMU bearing earlier livery (of previous franchise operator, National Express Group)

 

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As the sun sets on 11th May 2009, a Class 67 Diesel heads the London bound ScotRail, 'Caledonian' Sleeper high above the head of Loch Treig on the long climb from Tulloch Station to the Corrour summit.

 

Loch Treig was made into a reservoir in 1929 and the water piped 15 miles through the mountains to the aluminium smelter at Fort William. The dam is located at Fersit near Tulloch station. In 1932 the line was raised at the Fersit end to accommodate the rising level of the water. This also required the building of a short tunnel which is an unusual feature of the Glasgow to Fort William section of the line.

 

There is a rough estate track to Corrour but the area is devoid of public roads and this section of wild country is only seen by hill walkers and travellers on the West Highland Line. Hemmed in on both sides by high mountains it is an impressive place.

 

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