The Friends of the West Highland Lines promote development of the train services through the West Highlands. We want high quality trains, more frequent services, through tickets and reliable connections with ferries and local buses. Better transport for local people and visitors will increase accessibility and benefit the economy of the Highlands. We are privileged to have Lady Judy McAlpine as our Honorary President.
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). 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.
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.
The Friends publish a magazine, West Highland News Plus, three times per year containing the latest news, photographs and historical articles covering the WEST HIGHLAND LINES, the SCOTRAIL NETWORK, and ON THE WATERFRONT ferry news. This is free to members of the Society. Members can also attend our AGM which is normally held in the spring at a location on the West Highland Lines. The range of guest speakers over the years has given interesting insights into the operation and organisation of rail transport through the rugged countryside of the West Highlands.
Residents within the West Highlands, served by the Lines, are well represented on the Society’s managing committee and among the membership. However members come from all over the UK and abroad and anyone who appreciates the unique scenery and heritage of the Lines is encouraged to join. The larger our membership the more we can influence investment in improvements and an even better passenger experience.