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Hi All. Please excuse my ignorance but can someone tell me if there were any narrow gauge railways in the Highlands of Scotland. If there were, what goods etc did they carry, and did they have a passenger service?

 

Regards

 

Bob

 

 

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Guest stuartp

Technically the Glasgow Subway/Underground was a narrow gauge line (4'0"?). The Campbeltown and Machrihanish is the only major passenger carrying scenic one I can think of off the top of my head. There were several very minor ones on the Isles of Skye and Raasay for moving stone from quarry to dressing shed, and also peat. If Raasay had railways no doubt other places did too.

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You may be getting muddled between the Welsh Highland Railway (narrow gauge, Wales) and the Highland Railway (standard gauge, Scotland). Recently I was researching livery details of both for OTW, and there was ample room for crossed wires when talking on the phone about either of them... I'm not aware of anything in the Highlands, but the Campbeltown and Machrihanish http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campbeltown_and_Machrihanish_Light_Railway might be worth a look if you want a prototype for something. Simon.

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Aha!

 

There were several NG lines in Scotland, the Campbletown & Machrihanish, and the Lochaber are some of them. There were many smaller lines that some may not be aware of.

 

The Lochaber line was built for the aluminium smelter and construction of various dams in the Fort William area, some great photos of the line as it is now (well, ok, 2007) here: http://alanmitchell....c1239040_1.html and the wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia....w_Gauge_Railway There's also a book on this line called 'The Puggy Line' published by the Narrow Gauge Railway Society, well worth a read!

 

The Kinlochleven Railway was the line featuring overhead power that and some rather nice locos, more details here: http://ngrm-online.c...hp?topic=1196.0

 

There was an extension mooted for the Campbletown & Machrihanish, i believe it's mentioned one of the books but I'm afraid I can't recall any more details at present.

 

On the Isle of Skye there were also several lines.

 

The Skye Marble line was built to haul marble from a quarry near Torrin to the pier at Broadford, I wrote a post about the history of this line on my blog here:http://portnacaillic...le-railway.html Unfortunately photos are scarce, there are two in a book I have called 'Last Ferry to Skye' by Christopher Uncles, but there is also a book that MilesB leant me which has more details... Most of which are summarised on my blog, named 'Railways of Skye & Raasay' by Wilfred F. Simms.

 

The other lines on Skye were a small line and are summarised in another blog post here: http://portnacaillic...es-of-skye.html

 

I'm going to model a proposed line on Skye which was supposedly part funded by the NBR, the HR were asked at one time but declined. Then NBR were later rumoured to be involved but the consortium from London who were also part backing it never took it any further. I now have a date booked with ChrisM to go and look at the plans of this in the National Archives in Kew - Exciting!! The route of this line is showed by the blue line in the google map on my above blog post.

 

Plans were made for a line on the Isle of Lewis by Lord William Hesketh Leverhulme as part of his Mac Fisheries empire though never came to frutition, although if you look on google maps there is a quite nice straight line across the island which is known as the Pentland Road, a few more details here:http://www.bbc.co.uk...000005802.shtml

 

These threads may also be of interest:

http://ngrm-online.c...hp?topic=1896.0

http://ngrm-online.c...hp?topic=1054.0

http://ngrm-online.c...php?topic=707.0

 

Here are some more links that i've found which are in some way shape or form connected to Scottish NG (particularly the highlands and islands):

http://liberalenglan...ys-on-skye.html

http://www.flickr.co...wen/3792928693/

http://www.isbuc.co.uk/Sights/Rail.php

http://www.ambaile.o...ofskyemarbleltd

http://www.bbc.co.uk...000008950.shtml

http://users6.nofeeh...nlochleven.html

http://en.wikipedia...._gauge_railways - has a scottish section

http://northwesthigh.../05/07/portree/

 

I'm sure I have more but i'll leave it at that for now wink.gif

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There were a couple of 3ft guage logging lines around Aviemore and Carrbridge. These were built in the wars by Canadian Foresters for well, logging. Apart from that, narrow guage in the Highlands is very thin on the ground.

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Paul, do you have any more info on those? I'd be interested to hear if you did... i've not come across either of those lines before.

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Tom, information is scarce. I know that the line from Aviemore ran to Loch Morlich though I'm not sure about the line from Carrbridge (though I could find out). They were built by the War Office and suspect that the locos were Hunslet 4-6-0T's

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Do any of the peat or mineral extraction lines qualify?

 

I'm guessing they're all too far 'South' to fit the criteria.... I guess it depends on what the desired modelling outcome is, but the one that ran up past Burntisland Loch was a right curio from what little I know of it.

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There was also a slate-carrying railway on the island of Easdale, south-west of Oban. A few traces remain, tantalisingly, although you'll be hard pressed to find anything in print or on t'internet...

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Plans were made for a line on the Isle of Lewis by Lord William Hesketh Leverhulme as part of his Mac Fisheries empire though never came to frutition, although if you look on google maps there is a quite nice straight line across the island which is known as the Pentland Road, a few more details here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/islandblogging/blogs/005132/0000005802.shtml

 

The Pentland Road looks very much like a disused railway where it passes through Carloway, under the A858. The rest of the road is less recognisable as a former railway-under-construction, largely because, being built on bogland, it has subsided a lot over the years. There are other Leverhulme-era building projects on Lewis and Harris, such as the disused whale abattoir near Tarbert, built from concrete reinforced with lightweight (NG) flat-bottom rail; and I've always assumed that these rails were shipped to the islands for Leverhulme's railway. Given that Leverhulme bought the estate in 1918, it's presumably ex-WD materiel, so if the railway had been finished it might have resembled the Nocton Estate Railway or the Ashover Light Railway.

 

There was a narrow-gauge line on Lewis, north of Stornoway, built for a water construction project. The track survived in situ until the 1970s - this must be the line described as "constructed and operated by two 3ft gauge steam locos" on that BBC page.

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The Pentland Road looks very much like a disused railway where it passes through Carloway, under the A858. The rest of the road is less recognisable as a former railway-under-construction, largely because, being built on bogland, it has subsided a lot over the years. There are other Leverhulme-era building projects on Lewis and Harris, such as the disused whale abattoir near Tarbert, built from concrete reinforced with lightweight (NG) flat-bottom rail; and I've always assumed that these rails were shipped to the islands for Leverhulme's railway. Given that Leverhulme bought the estate in 1918, it's presumably ex-WD materiel, so if the railway had been finished it might have resembled the Nocton Estate Railway or the Ashover Light Railway.

 

There was a narrow-gauge line on Lewis, north of Stornoway, built for a water construction project. The track survived in situ until the 1970s - this must be the line described as "constructed and operated by two 3ft gauge steam locos" on that BBC page.

 

 

I always believed that some construction work was done on the line, but no track was ever laid.

 

 

Stu

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I always believed that some construction work was done on the line, but no track was ever laid.

 

Stu

 

 

Same here, Stu!

 

Leverhulme had some rather radical plans for Lewis, a model of Lewis as it would have been had all his plans come off would be very interesting. Deep water harbour, lots of fishery industry buildings and industries, more housing built do a decent standard for his workers (like he did at Port Sunlight), and the railway.

 

Intersting thoughts about ex-WD materials, Forest Pines! Someone needs to model it wink.gif

 

 

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A bit more history and background to these seemingly forgotten forestry lines: http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/warmed-by-a-wooden-heart-1.400070 . This has little information on the lines themselves but provides an insight into the personal lives of the Corps. I have found few photos of the remains of the lines, though it seems, the lines extended as far as Nethy Bridge (about 5 miles from Aviemore) and would seem to have remained on the East side of the river: http://www.nethybridge.com/history/details.php?page_number=246. It would seem that there may not have been a line at Carrbridge and could be confusion as a number of the Corps were stationed in Duthil, a couple of miles out of the village.

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There is a lot of info about forestry lines in "The Kerry Tramway & Other Timber Light Railways" by Chris Krupa and myself and published by Plateway Press. Alas, its now out of print and has been for some time.

 

There were apparently lengthy 3 foot gauge lines built in several places in the Highlands, but none lasted for very long. There were two at Aviemore, one at Dornoch, Carr Bridge, Nethy Bridge and other places, most operated by the Canadian Forestry Corps. After the War, some private timber merchants bought the right to fell the land.

 

Some of these lines were apparently quite lengthy, but I suspect now that quite a few were only started and never completed due to the war ending.

 

David C

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Dave, were the Aviemore and Carr-bridge systems connected? Also do you have any info on Carr-bridge I can't find anything.

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No, they were two separate systems. Aviemore was built by the Canadian Forestry Corps and the line ran from Aviemore station to the Glenmore Forest owned by the Duke of Richmond and Gordon. Two standard Bagnall 0-4-0STs worked the line. After the Canadians went home circa 1919, a private timber merchant took over operations - felling ceased circa 1922.

 

The line at Carr Bridge was built to extract timber from the Countess Dowager of Seafield's estate and carry it to the Highland Railway line. It was built by German POWs, but felling was under the auspices of a contractor. The timber was cut from Inverlaidnan Wood about 2 miles from Carr Bridge station and was used as pitwood. The contract was dated January 1918, so presumably work started in that month. A Kerr Stuart Haig class 0-6-0T was delivered to the site at the end of April 1918.

 

Hope this is of interest.

 

Best wishes

 

David C

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Thanks David. My suspiscions on Hunslet 4-6-0Ts was WAY off. In Landmark Forest Adventure Theme Park, it makes reference to a loading dock which would likely be in the yard on the East (that and platform 2 pretty much hangs off a steep ledge). But my research suggests Inverlaidnan is on the west, I can't find evidence of an overbrige near enough to the station (though it may be long gone). Its hard to dechpier a route as it could well be covered by forest though there are a couple of wide "firebreaks" on the west side of Carr-bridge that may have been the original line.

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There was also a slate-carrying railway on the island of Easdale, south-west of Oban. A few traces remain, tantalisingly, although you'll be hard pressed to find anything in print or on t'internet...

 

 

 

On the subject of slate there appears to have been what looked like an 18" Gauge line in the quarry above Aberfoyle, I explored part of the site about 18 years ago there was some rail and what looked like a winch in the remains of the quarry and an incline to the village.

 

John

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Intersting thoughts about ex-WD materials, Forest Pines! Someone needs to model it wink.gif

 

A model of Carloway would be a very scenic but compact narrow-gauge terminus - especially if you contracted it enough to include both Carloway Pier and Carloway Bridge (in real life they're about a mile apart). For a map of the area, see http://www.multimap.com/s/izP5Qv6R - the would-have-been-the-trackbed is the road that follows the north shore of the loch, before crossing the Carloway River just after passing under the main road.

 

I vaguely recall that the Northern Lighthouse Board had a standard design of winch-hauled funicular it used at lighthouses only accessible by sea, if it was needed to link the lighthouse to its jetty. If you count them as railways, then the one on the Flannan Isles probably wins the award for "most remote British narrow gauge line".

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I know not technically in the Highlands, What about the Leadhills Railway, the Duchall Moor Renfrewshire (track was still there the last time I visited it. The locos were stored at Lithgows Yard, but that has been demolished a while ago. There are also many peat lines around Scotland. One I know is still on the north bank of the River Forth near the Kincardine Bridge.

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I'm working on a new website to accompany a soon to be started new layout. One of the areas of the site will be a short history of each Scottish narrow gauge line as i feel there's comaratively VERY little information about Scottish NG compared to English or Welsh.

 

Therefore all the information in this thread is very useful, some of the line i hadn't heard of before (particularly the logging lines).

 

When the site is up and running i'll post a link here.

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It probably doesn't really count as a NG "Railway", but it is in the Highlands .The Current Air Weapons Range at Tain had a Air gunnery school many years ago and targets were mounted on trucks and propelled along a narrow gauge track in front of a concrete "berm" I actually drew up a "might have been" plan for a NG railway running from Tain to Tarbert Ness in an early MTI - with a feeder branch taking munitions and bombs etc to the airfield which was there during WW11 - The old Opsblock stiill exists in surprisingly good condition inside, and many of the old accommodation buildings atre used by local farmers. One of the targetson the range is a fake train and station http://www.wardetect...ml/caul0019.htm

 

http://www.youtube.c...=j156I1tlFcADay and night attacks including laser designation

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Tain

 

and a photo of the tracked target http://canmore.rcahm.../tain+airfield/

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I always wanted to fire one of those 4 gun turrets! Preferably with .50 caliber..........

 

Best, Pete.

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