Upper Tyndrum

Upper Tyndrum station is an unstaffed halt on the Glasgow-Fort William line high above the village. (It was renamed from “Tyndrum Upper” to avoid confusion with “Tyndrum Lower” station on the Oban line). In the above picture, taken in 2009, the station, a standard West Highland Line ‘Swiss Chalet’ style building, retains the original colour scheme. This has now been replaced with the ScotRail corporate colours ( see Garelochhead Station for example). The station building now houses the offices of ‘Scotgold Resources Ltd‘ an Australian company that has reopened a gold mine in Glen Cononish in the hills just south of Tyndrum.

(Tyndrum (Taigh an Droma) is a small village which has developed as a popular tourist stop because of its strategic position where the road to Oban branches off the A82 Glasgow to Inverness trunk road. It is also unusual, for such a small community, to be provided with two rail Stations (Upper Tyndrum) as depicted here, and on the Oban line (Tyndrum Lower)  For this reason there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, shops, bars, hotel, campsite, bunkhouse and bed and breakfasts. Tyndrum Lower station is an unstaffed halt and is located on the south west corner of the village, whereas Upper Tyndrum is a station serving the West Highland Line. It is located high above Tyndrum, hence the name. It too is unstaffed and less frequently used because of its location high above the village with access via a steep and narrow road.

Picture below is the view you would see from the train window as the train approaches Upper Tyndrum Station. The mountain is Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh) translates as Calf Mountain). The train climbs gradually above the road on the long ascent to the Tyndrum summit. Below and beyond the road and the first band of trees the Oban section of the West Highland Lines leads to Tyndrum Lower Station. Many of the service trains and all winter services run as a combined Oban and Fort William/Mallaig service from Glasgow and divide/couple together at Crianlarich. Passengers on either line can often observe the ‘other half’ of their train across the valley.

Click on the picture to ‘zoom in’ on the Oban Train as it approaches Tyndrum Lower.

K4, The Great Marquess, heading the Railway Touring Company’s ‘West Highlander’ rail tour to Mallaig on Saturday 26th September 2009.

A 2-car 156 DMU, winter service train leaves the Auchtertyre Viaduct, 2km south of Upper Tyndrum Station on an early March day

The K4, ‘The Great Marquess’, locomotive in the above picture, was designed by Gresley specifically for the North British line from Glasgow to Mallaig. The line 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 (original LNER no. 3442) and is the only K4 in preservation. The locomotive is owned by John Cameron and located in Scotland at Thornton in Fife.

Early morning and the ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper from London passes Auchtertyre just after sunrise. The picture was captured at 07.50am on 5th March 2012. The ‘Caledonian Sleeper’ is headed by a Class 67 diesel electric locomotive which was originally built for high speed main line duty. It has a high axle load and this requires the locomotive to run at reduced speed on the West Highland Line, particularly when crossing the steel lattice girder viaducts, of which there are many. In addition to the sleeping berths provision was made for a small number of seated passengers who could join and leave at stations on the line. It offered a leisurely comfortable way to travel for those willing to make an early morning start (05.48am) from Glasgow. It still offers a comfortable way to travel but the Caledonian Sleeper service is now operated by Serco and uses a class 73/9 locomotive instead (the two locomotives can be compared by going to the Rannoch Station page where both a captured crossing the Rannoch Viaduct). Note: In both cases the carriages are Mark 3 and Mark 2 BR painted in the ScotRail livery of the ‘First Group’ who operated the franchise previously. Serco have started to take delivery of new Mark 5 carriages which will appear, in due course, in the teal blue livery of the current locomotives.