6

06 – London to Fort William Caledonian Sleeper, Loch Tulla

12

12 – Glenfinnan Station

16

16 – 156 above Shandon

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02 – Black545407 AuchGlenViaduct

Alumina Train heads south thro’ Glen Falloch

Class 66 heads empty alumina train south thro’ Glen Falloch in early winter.

MonessieClass47

Class47, 47826 Heads a ‘Statesman Tour’ through the Monessie Gorge.

Thompson B1, 61306 Heads a charter train south near Whistlefield above Loch Long.

Thompson B1, 61306 heads a charter south near Whistlefield above Loch Long.  

Slider 20

20 K4 passes Loch Eilt, west of Glenfinnan in late October.

Auch_156DMU

AuchGlen_Class 156 Glasgow/Fort William/Mallaig service, 14th December 2002.

Black 5 44996 climbing towards Corrour Summit with special charter, October 2009.

‘Black 5’ climbing towards Corrour Summit with a special charter, October 2009.

Slider 18

18. Glen Lochy on Oban Line in November.

Deltic Royal Scot, Fort William.

Deltic in charge of ‘Royal Scot’ train, Fort William.

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10 – Class 66 at Crianlarich, (alumina)

5

05 – Glasgow to Oban service crosses River Awe Bridge

Two Class 73 locos head a southbound SRPS Charter north of Rannoch Station, October 2018.

Two Class 73 locomotives head a southbound SRPS charter north of Rannoch Station, 5th October 2018.

16.05hr.,Mallaig – Glasgow Queen Street North of Rannoch Station in October 2018

Late evening North of Rannoch Station, 16.05 ex Mallaig to Glasgow Queen Street Service.

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07 – Mallaig to Fort William, Jacobite  departure

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08 – Sleeper, Rannoch Viaduct

K4_LochEilt

K4, 61994, ‘The Great Marquis’ Loch Eilt.

15

15 – 156 4-car, midday, Glen Falloch

4

04 – Glasgow to Oban at GlenFalloch

Slider 17

17 Garbh Ghoir Viaduct, Rannoch

Slider 19

19 – Oban Train south of Tyndrum in January

14

14 – Locheil, outward bound

Royal Scotsman, Pulpit Rock, Loch Lomond

66746 Heads ‘The Royal Scotsman’ North, near Pulpit Rock, South of Ardlui.  

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09 – Great Britain Charter at Glen Falloch

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13 – 6.35am Sleeper, Glen Falloch

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03 -Fort William to London, Caledonian Sleeper, Auch

Slider 21

21 Glasgow Queen Street – Oban train above Loch Long at Murlaggan  

11

11 – (down) sleeper, Glen Falloch

Friends of the West Highland Lines

The West Highland Lines, the Top Rail Journey in the World. Britain’s railways of superlatives which take you to the:

  • Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain

    Highest mountain in Britain (Ben Nevis)

  • Loch Lomond, the largest loch in Britain

    Largest loch in Britain (Loch Lomond)

  • Loch Awe, the longest loch in Britain

    Longest loch in Britain (Loch Awe)

  • Loch Morar, the deepest loch in Britain

    Deepest Loch in Britain (Loch Morar)

  • Corrour, the highest mainline station in Britain

    Highest mainline station in Britain (Corrour)

  • Arisiag, the most westerly station in Britain

    Most westerly station in Britain (Arisaig)

  • Oban, the gateway to the Hebrides

    Gateway to the Hebridean Islands (Oban)

  • Fort William, Britain's outdoor capital

    Britain’s Outdoor Capital (Fort William)

The West Highland Lines are world class railways making a major contribution to accessibility for residents, tourists and freight in this uniquely beautiful part of Scotland. ScotRail trains link the West Highlands with Glasgow where there are connections with trains to the rest of Britain. There is also an overnight Caledonian Sleeperlinking Fort William and intermediate West Highland stations with London.

This website gives an introduction to the line, with pictures of the spectacular scenery brought to you by Norman McNab, and others as attributed.

To Learn about the West Highland Lines, which take travellers from Glasgow, in Scotland’s Industrial and Commercial Heart Land, to Oban, the ‘Gateway to the Inner Hebrides’,  Fort William, Britain’s ‘Outdoor Capital’ and Mallaig in the far west, gateway to Skye and ‘The Small Isles’, use the navigation bar and click The Line. This will take you to an interactive map of the Lines and detailed information about each of the 31 Stations the West Highland Lines pass through. Each Station location includes many pictures describing the scenery and includes associated information on History and Engineering. Keep up to date with latest News, Click on ‘NEWS’ tab above.

North bound Alumina train climbing up through Glen Falloch.

A summer West Highland Line scene, captured half way betweenArdlui and Crianlarich, a north bound alumina train climbs up through Glen Falloch. The greys and brown shades of winter and autumn are replaced by the lush greens of mid summer,

News Flash – ScotRail announce -Designated carriages for bikes and large sporting equipment are to be introduced on the West Highland Line, a first for the UK rail industry. Click here for more information.

Covid 19 – CoronavirusThis year’s AGM, arranged for Friday 29th May, is cancelled. At present we are unable to advise on a future date. Note also that ScotRail are operating a reduced timetable for essential travel only in accordance with the Government’s requirement that non essential travel must not be undertaken. For more information go to the News page

Class 37 Diesel and Black Five 45212 climb through Glen Falloch with The ‘Jacobite’ empty stock bound for Fort William.

It is now mid July and winter is in the distant pre Covid 19 past. Unfortunately the Coronavirus restrictions have prevented all but essential travel so, the attractions of travel on the West Highland Lines, as everywhere have been off limits. The picture, taken in Glen Falloch between Ardlui and Crianlarich, depicts part of the famous Jacobite Steam Train stock travelling up to Fort William for the much anticipated but much delayed ‘West Coast Railways’ Fort William to Mallaig summer service. The stock is headed by a class 37 diesel, 37518 and ‘Black Five’ steam locomotive, 45212. They follow the previous day when locomotives, K1, 62005, Lord of the Isles and ‘Black5’ 45407 ‘The Lancashire Fusilier’ headed similar stock to Fort William. Everyone has fingers crossed that the service will resume on 15th July. Because of current restrictions on social distancing special arrangements will be in force and the passenger carrying capacity will be very much reduced. For more information visit West Coast Railway’s Site.


As part of the 125 year anniversary celebrations you can revisit the ‘Victorian Railway along Fort William’s Shore – Gone but not forgotten!’ To find out more visit www.fortwilliamrailtrail.co.uk  where, if you’d like to walk the trail, you can download the fully illustrated trail guide in pdf format to print out or to read on your portable device. You can also click here to download a PDF of the poster


This Site includes Information on the History, Politics and Engineering features of the West Highland Lines, authored by railway historian, Dr John McGregor and railway author, Gordon Webster. Visitors should note that this is a developing feature of the site and information on these aspects is always being reviewed and added to.

Our Society -‘Friends of the West Highland Lines
Last year ( 2018) The Friends of the West Highland  Lines Society celebrate 35 years of active and successful promotion of the lines and many positive achievements. However the Society believes passionately that there is much more to be done to improve the experience of travelling on the West Highland Lines (and Scotland’s other scenic railways). For a brief history of the Society and an outline of some of our successes click here. 

The last few years have been among our Society’s most successful, and by signing up as a member of ‘The Friends’, you can be part of our continued success (click here to download a membership form). We work to ensure that the opinions of visiting and regular users of the Lines are represented to those who operate the railway, Transport Scotland and the relevant Scottish Government Ministers. For example the Society provided persuasive evidence in support of an improved service to Oban which resulted in the frequency of the train service to Oban being doubled. We have also been successful in enlisting the support of The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, Highland Regional Council and others in procuring funds and necessary assistance from Network Rail to recover many iconic views on the lines previously obscured by vegetation. Views recovered include sites on Loch Lomond, Loch Long, Loch Awe, above Oban and the world famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.

The Glenfinnan Viaduct

Our Society spearheaded the first West Highland Line tree clearance projects back in 2009 and the restoration of these beautifully scenic views played a big part in the direction of ScotRail’s new ‘Great Scenic Rail Journeys of Scotland‘ branding Exciting times are ahead, as the ScotRail/Network Rail Alliance have picked up the project, to finance and coordinate future clearances along the Glasgow-Oban/Fort William/Mallaig routes. Vegetation removal is also recommended in the Scottish Ministers’ High Level Output Statement (HLOS) recently published for rail travel. Details of past lineside clearances at each individual location with photographs can be viewed in the NEWS Another part of ‘Scenic Trains’ will be the introduction of refurbished Diesel Multiple Units, to further enhance the travel experience for passengers on ScotRail services. Our Society has advised ScotRail of what we see as essential requirements for WHL trains; comfortable seating, draught-free windows and adequate catering for long journeys. Maintaining plenty bicycle space is also a must and bike hire at intermediate stations would be welcome.

Alumina Freight Train bound for the Fort William Smelter crosses the Rannoch viaduct in early January.

The West Highland railway is a tourist paradise for all seasons and a lifeline for the local community. It is also a vital freight artery, with a thrice-weekly train of bulk alumina to Fort William which loads up to 24 wagons. Rail freight is far more environmentally friendly than road haulage, being ideal for such lengthy bulk loads through the numerous gaps in the timetable. Lorries add extra carbon emmisions, congestion and further wear and tear to the already-congested A82/A85 roads. Friends of the West Highland Lines encourage more rail freight – the green transport alternative.

 

A wintry March day on the West Highland Line. The Mallaig/Fort William to Glasgow Queen Street mid day service passes above Loch Treig on the long climb to the Corrour line summit.

One long term aspiration for the Society is to see the reinstatement of closed passing loops along the West Highland Lines too. The railway is busier than ever with charter trains alongside regular freight and passenger traffic, including the ‘Jacobite’ steam service. By allowing trains on the long single line sections to pass at stations such as Lochailort and Corrour, delays would be avoided during the tourist season; a more smoothly-operating railway with scope for more timetable expansion. The use of radio signalling and automatic sprung points means this would be possible with minimal expense. You can keep up to date with the Society’s activities and news by becoming a member and receiving copies of our magazine ‘West Highland News Plus

A set of four souvenir colour postcards featuring some of the photographs on this website is on sale from Glenfinnan Station Museum.

Go to https://twitter.com/FWHLines

Click on the logo to access the ScotRail website.
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