Upper Tyndrum station, on the Glasgow-Fort William line, is situated high above the village. (It was renamed from “Tyndrum Upper” to avoid confusion with “Tyndrum Lower” station on the Glasgow-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, and a range of accommodation types. Tyndrum Lower station is an unstaffed halt and is located the south west of the village centre, 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 from the south. 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 (Strath Fillan). Click on the picture on the left to ‘zoom in’ on the Oban Train as it approaches Tyndrum Lower.
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.
Above left, In the early morning the ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper from London passes Auchtertyre just after sunrise. The Class 67 diesel electric locomotives were originally built for high speed main line duty. It has a high axle load and this required 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.
The service is now operated by Serco and uses class 73/9 locomotives instead. Serco have rebranded and upgraded the service, commissioned and installed new rolling stock which was manufactured by CAF in Spain. The image on the right shows the present Caledonian Sleeper with the new livery and Spanish built rolling stock crossing the first of the two lattice steel bridges which are an intergral part of the ‘Great Horse Shoe Curve’ at Auch, The curve was provided to ease the change in altitude between Auch and the summit just above Tyndrum.