Ardlui

Ardlui (Ard Laoigh) is a hamlet at the north end of Loch Lomond, Britain's largest freshwater loch. The station is across the busy A82 road from the hotel, holiday lodges and marina. The picture below shows north and southbound trains crossing at Ardlui Station - a procedure which has been in place since the 100 mile-long main line was opened as a single track to Fort William in 1894.  It is a scheduled stop for all trains, except the Caledonian Sleeper, which calls by request only.

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A Network Rail 'Rail Rover' negotiates a reverse from the down line side of the island platform to the siding. The station is hemmed in by the A82 road and Loch Lomond on the east and the steep slopes of Ben Vorlich on the west side. The picture is looking north towards the steady climb through Glen Falloch to Crianlarich. This section of the route makes a spectacular crossing of the Dubh Eas (Black Water) by a viaduct where the drop to the gorge floor height is just marginally lower than the Forth rail bridge is above the Forth. The train travels slowly over the viaduct since it is formed in a tight rising curve, however travellers need to keep a sharp lookout because the section is densly wooded.

 

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CLASS 156 DMU, 12.21 Glasgow - Mallaig summer service, on climb up Glen Falloch towards Crianlarich on 11th September 2009. Ben More, Britain's highest mountain south of Strathtay, in background.    

 

260909gmarquis nrfallsoffalloch copy.jpgThe K4, No. 61994 The Great Marquess, making a spirited climb up Glen Falloch from Ardlui to Crianlarich on 26th September 2009. Note the open cylinder draincock. Designed by Gresley specifically for the North British line from Glasgow to Mallaig which imposes real challenges because of the steep gradients, tight curves and limited allowable axle weight, the K4 has 3 cylinders, a 2-6-0 wheel arrangement, 200psi boiler and a 36,598lb tractive effort. No 61994 entered service in 1938 and is the only K4 in preservation. The locomotive is in charge of a steam charter for the Railway Touring Company's, 'The West Highlander', to Fort William.

 

110909class66gfalloch01b copy.jpg  Fort William bound Alumina train, headed by a Class 66, in Glen Falloch with Ben Chabhair (perhaps meaning 'hill of the antler' or the more prosaic 'ridge of a roof ') behind.

 

Glasgow Queen Street

Glasgow Queen Street concourse.

The starting point for journeys on the scenic West Highland Line to Oban, Fort William and Mallaig, Glasgow Queen Street station is in the centre of Scotland's largest city, beside George Square and the majestic City Chambers.

Fort William/Mallaig is served by three daily departures (Mondays to Saturdays) from Glasgow, while Oban has six.  Some trains run combined, with a section for Oban, and a section for Fort William and Mallaig.   The two sections are uncoupled at Crianlarich which is the junction of the Oban and Fort William lines. On Sundays, there is one train in winter, with additional departures in summer.

Connecting trains from Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Dundee and Aberdeen also arrive in Queen Street. The station is also linked to Buchanan Street Subway station,and nearby Buchanan Bus Station. Glasgow Central, where trains from south and south-west Scotland and London arrive, is less than 10 minutes walk from Queen Street station. There is an inter-station bus service linking Central and Queen Street. The picture on the left shows the Dundas Street entrance and the adjacent Subway entrance.

Despite Queen Street Station's location on the corner of George Square, its status as Scotland's 3rd busiest (in excess of 17million passenger movements annually) and being Glasgow's 2nd city cente station (the other is Glasgow Central, Scotland's busiest with double the passenger numbers) it has a very inauspicious entrance on George Street.

 

Trains depart from Queen Street through a long tunnel with a 1:42 gradient. The picture below was taken from Glasgow' Buchanan Galleries shopping centre which straddles the departure lines as they enter what is known as the Cowlairs tunnel. On the left horizon the towers of Glasgow's City Chambers can be seen. Click on the small picture on the right for a view of Glasgow's vibrant George Square which lies immediately outside the station. Queen Street Station is a magic gateway between Scotland's premier cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh and the wonderful scenery of the West Highland Lines. It is also Glasgow's railway gateway to Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Inverness and the scenic delights of the lines to Kyle of Lochalsh and the Far North. Queen Street has also low level platforms serving the north Glasgow conurbations from as far as Balloch (Loch Lomond) and Helensburgh in the west to Airdrie and Motherwell in the East.

 

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