Oban (An t-Oban), the terminus of the Oban line, is the major tourist resort in Argyll with every facility including hotels, guesthouses, bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants, bars, shops, supermarkets yacht moorings and an important ferry terminal serving sailings to Mull, Tiree, Coll. Kerrera, Ardnamurchan and South Uist. There is a busy tourist office and the famous Oban Distillery. The rail terminus, for such an important destination, is insignificant and very limited in space. This bird’s eye view shows the railway terminal and its diminutive station building to the right of the ferry terminal. Note the two coach diesel multiple unit sitting in the station.

Click for a full view of Oban Bay.

Oban Bay is surrounded by hills, dominated by McCaig’s Folly, a circular tower which was never completed. The waterfront promenade gives views to the isles of Kerrera and Mull. A view over the bay with the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry terminal in the foreground and the Oban rail terminus immediately to the right’ together with McCaigs Folly can be seen by clicking on the image.


The railway descends very steeply down from Glen Cruiten to Oban and the climb out, from a standing start, and over the Glen Cruiten summit was a challenging task in the days of steam. The picture on the left is of a service train just at the Glen Cruiten summit.

Oban is the gateway to the islands, with CalMac ferries to the beautiful islands of Mull, Lismore, Coll, Tiree, Barra, South Uist and Colonsay leaving from a new terminal building on the railway pier beside the station. The picture above is ‘The Clansman’ passing the lighthouse at the tip of the island of Lismore.

Treshnish Puffin

Ulva Eagle

Oban is therefore a delightful gateway to the sea. Because of this, and its many other attractions, Oban is very crowded in the summer months and travel by road and parking is, at times, challenging. The railway provides a relaxing means of getting to Oban from the south. What better way to enjoy your onward journey by ferry to the Inner and Outer Hebrides? Perhaps just a day sail to Mull or a wild life trip by motor launch to view the abundant sea life.

The Oban – Mull ferry ‘Isle of Mull’.

One of many Cruise ships which visit Oban in Oban Bay with Ben Cruachan in background.


Caledonian MacBrayne offer a wide choice of superb day cruises from Oban. Click here for more information.