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  Kyle of Lochalsh Line
Legend
Pier Interchange head
Kyle of Lochalsh
Station on track
Duirinish
Station on track
Plockton
Station on track
Duncraig
Station on track
Stromeferry
Station on track
Attadale
Station on track
Strathcarron
Station on track
Achnashellach
Station on track
Achnasheen
Station on track
Achanalt
Station on track
Lochluichart
Station on track
Garve
Junction from left Continuation to left
Far North Line
Station on track
Dingwall
Station on track
Muir of Ord
Station on track
Beauly
Bridge over water
River Ness
Track turning from left Unknown route-map component "ABZrd"
Rose Street & Welsh's Bridge Junctions
Unknown route-map component "KBFe" Straight track
Inverness
Junction to left Track turning from right
Millburn Junction
Continuation to right Unknown route-map component "KRZu" Track turning right
Highland Main Line
Continuation forward
Aberdeen to Inverness Line

The Kyle of Lochalsh Line is a primarily single track railway line in the Scottish Highlands, running from Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh. The population along the route is sparse in nature, but the scenery is beautiful and can be quite dramatic, the Kyle line having been likened to a symphony in three parts: pastoral, mountain and sea. Many of the passengers on the trains are tourists but one can also expect to meet locals visiting Inverness for shopping, and commuters. All services are provided by First ScotRail and run to Inverness. To maintain the passenger link beyond Inverness, a train runs beyond, having in the past come from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

Contents

History

The route was built in three sections:-

Latterly the Strathpeffer Branch operated between 1885 and 1951.

In 1989 the bridge over the River Ness was washed away, leaving both it and the Far North Line stranded, but new "Sprinter" trains were brought over by road, and a temporary yard was built to service them at Muir of Ord. The section of line along Loch Carron is particularly troublesome and prone to landslides, often closing that section.

Whilst undeniably a rural line, a historic term in the act of parliament for the railways here and around Inverness means that one through service per week is operated from Aberdeen, whereas all other services start and finish at Inverness.

Beeching Report

In the 1960s the line was listed to be axed under the Beeching Report. However the line was reprieved and services continued.

Modernisation

From 1999 onwards, the then ScotRail owner, National Express, began the removal of the Class 156 "Sprinter" trains. Their replacement was to be the faster, higher standard Class 158. These trains offered a better all round travelling experience, with air conditioning, improved speed, lighting, seating, storage and general comfort. There is now a dedicated fleet of Class 158 units based at Inverness serving the Kyle of Lochalsh line (also serving the Far North Line and Aberdeen to Inverness Line). The current franchise owner First ScotRail has continued the current situation, with improvement to the depot facilities at Inverness.

Services

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2007/08

During the winter months there are three, generally 2 car services, per day in both directions, with no Sunday services. During summer months, Monday to Saturday services increase to four in both directions, mostly running as 4 cars, with two additional services running in each direction on a Sunday.

From December 2008

As of December 2008 service enhancements have meant the introduction of four daily trains all year round, Monday - Saturday.

Timetable Mon - Fri Saturday Sunday
Summer Four Four Two
Winter Four Four One

Route

The stations on the line that have passing loops are Muir of Ord, Dingwall, Garve, Achnasheen and Strathcarron. Garve serves as a link for bus services to Ullapool and the ferry to Stornoway. Achnasheen provides road links westward to Gairloch. Strathcarron allows connection onwards to the villages of Lochcarron, Torridon and Applecross.

Only Dingwall and Kyle stations are staffed, however all stations along the route have lighting and passenger information posters with train timetable details. Most have passenger information telephone points fitted so that remote customer service staff can be contacted, normal office hours apply.

Places served No. of Platforms Staffed Ordnance Survey
grid references
Dingwall Two Yes NH553586
Garve Two No NH395613
Lochluichart One No NH322625
Achanalt One No NH260615
Achnasheen Two No NH164586
Achnashellach One No NH003485
Strathcarron Two No NG942421
Attadale One No NG924391
Stromeferry One No NG865346
Duncraig One No NG811331
Plockton One No NG794329
Duirinish One No NG777315
Kyle of Lochalsh Two Yes NG762271

Kyle of Lochalsh Line in film

The Kyle of Lochalsh Line was featured in Eddie McConnell's lyrical documentary The Line to Skye (1973) with commentary by Scottish writer William McIlvanney, commissioned as part of Ross & Cromarty's campaign to keep the line open at a time when it was threatened with closure. The film follows the train from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, describing the communities, landscape and wildlife along its route, while contrasting the frustration of motorists with the relaxation of the journey by rail.[1]

In Stephen Durrell's 1939 documentary West of Inverness, the importance of the Kyle of Lochalsh line to the crofters of the West Highlands is demonstrated through its role of transporting passengers, mail, parcels, food and livestock to and from their communities. The film shows the LMS steam locomotives that operated the line at this time.[2]

In the episode of Great Railway Journeys of the World "Confessions of a Trainspotter" (1980), Michael Palin travels from London to the Kyle of Lochalsh and returns with the train station's sign.

Gallery

References

External links


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