Highland Railway


This company provided services between Perth, Inverness, Elgin, Keith, Kyle of Lochalsh, Thurso and Wick. Most routes are still open and today passengers services are provided by ScotRail. The company came into being by a series of amalgamations.

In particular, the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway and Inverness and Perth Junction Railway merged to form the Highland Railway.

The Highland Railway Society studies and preserves the memory of the former company.


29/06/1865Inverness and Aberdeen Junction RailwayInverness and Perth Junction RailwayHighland Railway
Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway and Inverness and Perth Junction Railway merger: company named the Highland Railway.
03/07/1865Aberfeldy Branch (Highland Railway)
Ballinluig to Aberfeldy opened.
  /  /1866Scottish North Eastern Railway Caledonian Railway
Scottish North Eastern Railway absorbed by Caledonian Railway. Confirmation of running powers for the Highland Railway between Perth General and Stanley Junction. Confirmation of running powers for North British Railway, London and North Western Railway, Midland Railway and Glasgow and South Western Railway. The SNER's running powers over the Montrose and Bervie Railway are transferred to the Caledonian.
  /  /1866Highland Railway Scottish Central Railway
Highland Railway granted access to Perth Harbour over the former Scottish Central Railway.
19/06/1871Duke of Sutherland's Railway
Golspie (Sutherland Railway) to Dunrobin opened, Dunrobin becomes private station for the Duke of Sutherland. West Helmsdale to Helmsdale opened. Highland Railway works line.
24/04/1877Dingwall and Skye Railway
Highland Railway takes over steamer operations.
17/04/1880Dingwall and Skye Railway
Highland Railway abandons steamer operations in favour of David MacBrayne.
01/09/1880Dingwall and Skye RailwayHighland Railway
Amalgamation of the Dingwall and Skye Railway with Highland Railway.
  /11/1882Glasgow and North Western Railway
Glasgow and North Western Railway proposed, the Bill presented to Parliament to seek approval.. The route was to have been a 167 mile long railway from Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William. Supported by the North British Railway and opposed by the Highland Railway, Caledonian Railway (part owners of the Callander and Oban Railway), Caledonian Canal, David MacBrayne and some landowners. The Bill was rejected in 1883. It was not built (a less ambitious variation of it, the West Highland Railway with an Act in 1889, did open).
  /  /1884Duke of Sutherland's RailwayHighland Railway
Duke of Sutherland's Railway absorbed by Highland Railway.
  /  /1884Sutherland RailwayHighland Railway
Sutherland Railway absorbed by Highland Railway.
  /  /1884Perth General Enlargement (Perth Station Committee (Caledonian Railway, North British Railway and Highland Railway))
Perth General station enlargement authorised.
28/07/1884Sutherland and Caithness RailwayHighland Railway
Sutherland and Caithness Railway absorbed by Highland Railway.
28/07/1884Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Act passed. This was partly in response to the proposed incursion of the North British Railway's Glasgow and North Western Railway from Glasgow to Inverness via Loch Lomond, Crianlarich, Glencoe, Fort William and the Great Glen.
01/08/1884Buckie and Portessie Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened.
  /  /1885Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] station built to design of Murdoch Paterson.
01/06/1885Dingwall and Skye Railway
Strathpeffer [1st] renamed Auchterneed for opening of Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway).
03/06/1885Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opens.
01/05/1886Buckie and Portessie Branch (Highland Railway)
Combined Portessie [GNSR] and Portessie [HR] station and junction opened with the opening of the Moray Coast Railway (Great North of Scotland Railway).
  /  /1887Perth General Enlargement (Perth Station Committee (Caledonian Railway, North British Railway and Highland Railway))
Reconstruction and enlargement of Perth General completed.
  /  /1889West Highland Railway
Fort William [Fort]'s wall breached for railway building.
29/01/1889West Highland Railway
Charles Forman (of engineers Forman & McCall), James Bulloch (Forman's chief engineer), J.E. Harrison (assistant engineer), Robert McAlpine (contractor), John Bett (factor of the Breadalbane Estates), Major Martin (factor of the Poltalloch estates) and N.B. MacKenzie (solicitor, local agent for the railway company) meet at a hotel in Spean Bridge to conduct a survey of the proposed route of the line over Rannoch Moor.
30/01/1889West Highland Railway
The party are taken by coach from Spean Bridge to Inverlair Lodge. The party set out to walk from Inverlair Lodge to the north end of Loch Treig. The party are rowed from the north end of Loch Treig to the south end and stay overnight at William Frederick Scarlett's (Lord Abinger) Craig-uaine-ach Lodge.
31/01/1889West Highland Railway
The party set out to walk to Rannoch Lodge, then the walkers change their minds and decide to continue to Inveroran. The party split in poor weather conditions as it darkens, Robert McAlpine decided to go on to Inveroran and James Bulloch heads to Gorton cottage. Bulloch reaches Gorton. Charles Forman, McKenzie, Martin, Harrison and Bett are taken to a nearby hut by shepherds from Gorton.
01/02/1889West Highland Railway
Robert McAlpine reaches a cottage by Loch Tulla. Charles Forman, McKenzie, Martin, Harrison and Bett are taken to Gorton to join Bulloch. The party are taken to Inveroran, via Loch Tulla to pick up Robert McAlpine.
02/02/1889West Highland Railway
A blizzard covers Rannoch Moor and the party have to work their way through deep drifting to reach Tyndrum [CandO] station on the Callander and Oban Railway.
12/08/1889West Highland Railway
Act passed and West Highland Railway authorised. Proposed by Charles Forman.
10/10/1889Caledonian Railway Highland Railway
Highland Railway agreement with Caledonian Railway over land in Perth.
23/10/1889West Highland Railway
First sod cut by William Frederick Scarlett (Lord Abinger) near Fort William.
  /  /1890Scottish Midland Junction Railway
Agreement over land at Dovecotland (for Dovecotland Goods) between the Caledonian Railway and Highland Railway.
20/07/1890West Highland Railway
Banavie [1st] branch authorised.
  /07/1891West Highland Railway
Runs out of money when the contractor requests further funds, and construction is abandoned.
  /08/1891West Highland Railway
In a court case held in Dumbarton the contractor is told that the line must be built for the amount specified in the contract.
14/10/1891West Highland Railway
Work re-starts, though the West Highland Railway agrees to pay an extra £10,000.
08/07/1892Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Aviemore to Carrbridge opened.
  /  /1893West Highland Railway
Financial crisis; Mr James Hall Renton, a director of the line, used part of his personal fortune to get the line completed.
  /  /1893Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Extension from Stromeferry to Kyle of Lochalsh authorised.
03/09/1893Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Contracts for extension let to John Best.
05/09/1893West Highland Railway
Last spike driven by Mr James Hall Renton on Rannoch Moor.
16/10/1893Fochabers Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened.
  /  /1894Sharp, Stewart and Co Ltd Highlan Railway
Build a 4-6-0 for the Highland Railway, who number it 103.
01/02/1894Fortrose Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened.
01/07/1894Fochabers Branch (Highland Railway)
Fochabers renamed Fochabers Town.
31/07/1894West Highland Railway
West Highland Railway (Mallaig Extension Railway) Act Passed.
03/08/1894West Highland Railway
Opened from Craigendoran Junction to Fort William [1st].
03/08/1894West Highland Railway
Inspection by Board of Trade.
07/08/1894West Highland Railway
Public opening from Fort William to Craigendoran. Stations opened at Craigendoran Upper, Helensburgh Upper, Row, Garelochhead, Arrochar and Tarbet, Ardlui, Crianlarich, Tyndrum [WHR], Bridge of Orchy, Gortan (private), Rannoch, Corrour (private), Inverlair, Roy Bridge, Spean Bridge and Fort William [1st].
11/08/1894West Highland Railway
Ceremonial opening.
04/09/1894West Highland Railway
Helensburgh to Garelochhead train de-railed at Woodend Farm Crossing by a stone placed on the line.
01/11/1894West Highland Railway
Refreshment baskets available at Arrochar and Tarbet.
20/12/1894Callander and Oban Railway
Spur from Crianlarich station (West Highland Railway) to Crianlarich Junction [CandO] opened. New passing loop at Crianlarich Junction [CandO] allows removal of up platform and loop at Crianlarich [CandO] station.
01/01/1895West Highland Railway
Inverlair renamed Tulloch.
27/05/1895West Highland Railway
Glen Douglas siding opened.
01/06/1895West Highland Railway
Banavie [1st] branch opened.
  /07/1895West Highland Railway
Refreshment baskets available at Crianlarich [WHR].
01/05/1896West Highland Railway
Whistlefield opened.
06/05/1896West Highland Railway
Derailment at Banavie Junction [1st] (now Fort William Junction).
  /08/1896West Highland Railway
West Highland Railway (Ballachulish Extension Act) passed, but not built.
  /  /1897West Highland Railway North British Railway
The proposed Bill by the West Highland Railway and North British Railway for extension of the West Highland to Inverness is rejected by the Commons. (The Highland Railway's route via Carrbridge was partly open and would be completed in 1989.)
21/01/1897West Highland Railway
First sod of Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway) cut at Corpach by Lady Margaret Cameron of Lochiel.
01/07/1897Highland Railway
Bill for railway from Inverness to Fort Augustus is rejected in the House of Lords (was passed by the Commons).
19/07/1897Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Carrbridge to Daviot opened. This section includes the Aultnaslanach Viaduct, (currently the only in use timber railway viaduct left in Scotland).
02/11/1897Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Line opened from Stromeferry to new terminus and pier at Kyle of Lochalsh. Stations at; Plockton, Duirinish and Kyle of Lochalsh.
20/12/1897West Highland Railway
Connection to Callander and Oban Railway at Crianlarich, from Crianlarich Junction to Crianlarich Junction [CandO].
01/11/1898Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Daviot to Inverness, Millburn Junction, opened, completing the shortcut line from Aviemore to Inverness.
01/07/1899Fort George Branch (Highland Railway)
Line opened. The original Fort George [1st] station on the Inverness and Nairn Railway was sited slightly further west and renamed Gollanfield Junction.
01/04/1901Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Line opened from Banavie to Mallaig, extending the West Highland Railway to Mallaig.
22/07/1901West Highland Railway
Sleeper cars from Kings Cross to Fort William commence.
06/03/1902Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Working agreement with Highland Railway drawn up.
21/07/1903Highland RailwayInvergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Act passed which allows the Highland Railway to operate the services over the Fort Augustus line.
22/07/1903Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Highland Railway
Line opened by Eliza Stewart Ellice of Invergarry House. The service was operated by the Highland Railway who were keen to keep the North British Railway away from Inverness. Connecting David Hutcheson and Co steamers operating along the Caledonian Canal connecting the line to Inverness via Loch Ness and the canal. Stations opened at Gairlochy, Invergarry, Aberchalder, Fort Augustus and Fort Augustus Pier. The Lovat Arms and Station Hotel was rebuilt and reopened in connection with new line.
17/12/1905Great North of Scotland Railway Highland Railway
Provisional order produced for the merger of the Great North of Scotland Railway and Highland Railway.
  /  /1906Great North of Scotland RailwayHighland Railway
Amalgamation of the Great North of Scotland Railway with the Highland Railway falls through.
08/08/1906West Highland Railway
Accident at Pulpit Rock, by Loch Lomond.
30/04/1907Invergarry and Fort Augustus RailwayHighland Railway
Highland Railway withdraws locomotives and rolling stock from the Invergarry line and ceases its operation.
31/12/1908North British Railway West Highland Railway
North British Railway formally takes over the West Highland Railway line from Craigendoran to Fort William [1st], Mallaig and the branch to Banavie [1st].
06/12/1909West Highland Railway
Accident at Glen Douglas.
18/06/1914Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Heavy rainfall causes a bridge washout of the Baddengorm Burn Viaduct (north of Carrbridge). As a result a train crashes down into the riverbed with loss of life.
09/08/1915Buckie and Portessie Branch (Highland Railway)
Closed to passengers, and to freight between Aultmore (excluded) and Buckie [HR] (excluded).
  /  /1917Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Rail served American Mine base operating in Kyle of Lochalsh.
  /  /1918Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
American Mine base closed. This received mines to be transported to US Naval Base 18.
  /  /1920Dingwall and Skye Railway
Highland Railway purchases Loan Crossing from Admiralty.
01/01/1923Dundee and Newtyle Railway Arbroath and Forfar Railway Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway Caledonian Railway Glasgow and South Western Railway Callander and Oban Railway Glasgow and Kilmarnock Joint Railway Highland Railway Cathcart District Railway Killin Railway Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Committee Brechin and Edzell District Railway Dornoch Light Railway Wick and Lybster Light Railway
Grouped into London, Midland and Scottish Railway.
01/06/1924West Highland Railway
Row renamed Rhu.
01/05/1926West Highland Railway
Gortan renamed Gorton.
08/07/1929West Highland Railway
Restaurant car introduced.
  /10/1929West Highland Railway
Sleepers start to operate all year round.
27/01/1931West Highland Railway
De-railment in Rannoch Moor.
06/07/1931West Highland Railway
A loop added at Rhu.
01/08/1931West Highland Railway
Fersit Halt and branch opened, Loch Treig was to be converted into a reservoir to serve the smelter at Fort William.
14/09/1931Fochabers Branch (Highland Railway)
Fochabers Town to Orbliston Junction closed to passengers.
07/08/1932West Highland Railway
Loch Treig diversion and tunnel opened. The line was re-aligned at a higher level as the Loch became a reservoir, part of the Lochaber Smelter scheme.
  /  /1934Highland Railway
London, Midland and Scottish Railway withdraw locomotive 103.
09/07/1934Welsh Highland Railway
Nantmor Halt renamed Aberglaslyn.
15/09/1934West Highland Railway
Corrour opened to the public having been a private halt.
01/01/1935West Highland Railway
Fersit closed.
28/09/1936Welsh Highland Railway
Aberglaslyn closed.
  /09/1937Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Stromeferry pier demolished.
02/09/1939West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) closed to passengers.
02/10/1939West Highland Railway
Sleeper withdrawn.
28/04/1940Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Box opened at Duirinish.
27/04/1941West Highland Railway
Faslane Junction (Croy) opened with exchange sidings for a double track railway to Military Port #1, Faslane Military Port.
21/12/1941West Highland Railway
New signal box and longer loop opened at Helensburgh Upper to help with Faslane traffic.
15/11/1942West Highland Railway
Camus-na-ha Signal Box opened.
26/03/1943West Highland Railway
Corpach Naval Sidings opened.
05/04/1943Fort George Branch (Highland Railway)
Fort George to Gollanfield Junction closed to passengers.
01/04/1944Buckie and Portessie Branch (Highland Railway)
Closed to freight between Portessie [HR] and Buckie [HR].
05/04/1944West Highland Railway
Restaurant cars withdrawn.
26/08/1945West Highland Railway
Faslane Platform opened, for moving prisoners of war to the halts at Inveruglas Platform and Glenfalloch Platform in connection with the building of the Loch Sloy Hydro Electric scheme.
28/10/1945Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Temporary box at Duirinish closed.
29/10/1945West Highland Railway
Inveruglas Platform, signal box and loop opened.
23/02/1946Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] branch closes to passengers (Alternative date: 2 March 1946).
02/03/1946Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] branch closes to passengers (Alternative date: 23 February 1946).
10/04/1946West Highland Railway
Glenfalloch Platform opened.
  /06/1946West Highland Railway
Restaurant cars re-start.
23/05/1949West Highland Railway
Passenger services between Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Crianlarich and Oban start.
23/05/1949Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Duncraig Halt opened to public.
26/03/1951Strathpeffer Branch (Highland Railway)
Strathpeffer [2nd] to Dingwall (Fodderty Junction) closed to freight (complete closure).
06/08/1951West Highland Railway
Banavie Pier to Fort William (Banavie Junction [2nd]) (excluded) closed to freight.
01/10/1951Fortrose Branch (Highland Railway)
Fortrose to Muir of Ord closed to passengers.
01/02/1954Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Duirinish closed to goods.
17/04/1954West Highland Railway
Collision at Bridge of Orchy.
09/01/1956West Highland Railway
Rhu closed.
24/09/1956West Highland Railway
Television train runs.
11/08/1958Fort George Branch (Highland Railway)
Fort George to Gollanfield Junction closed to freight.
04/04/1960West Highland Railway
Rhu re-opened.
13/06/1960Fortrose Branch (Highland Railway)
Fortrose to Muir of Ord closed to freight.
14/06/1964West Highland Railway
Craigendoran (West Highland, high level), Rhu, Shandon, Whistlefield and Glen Douglas closed as the local service from Craigendoran to Arrochar and Tarbet is withdrawn.
07/09/1964Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Plockton closed to goods.
07/09/1964Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Duncraig closed to passengers .
03/05/1965Aberfeldy Branch (Highland Railway)
Aberfeldy to Ballinluig closed to passengers.
28/03/1966Fochabers Branch (Highland Railway)
Fochabers Town to Orbliston Junction closed to freight.
03/10/1966Buckie and Portessie Branch (Highland Railway)
Closed to freight between Keith (excluded) and Aultmore.
21/07/1968West Highland Railway
Glasgow bound track at Helensburgh Upper lifted and signal box closed.
  /11/1969Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Building of first road along south shore of Loch Carron leads to temporary blockage of line near Stromeferry.
13/03/1970Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Strathcarron to Strome Ferry re-opens.
  /12/1971Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Announcement of line closure on 31 December 1973 by Secretary of State for Scotland.
26/03/1973Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Ullapool - Stornoway ferry service starts.
02/11/1973Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Line reprieved until 31 December 1974.
31/12/1973Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Original planned closure.
  /  /1974Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Decision taken to retain line and use in connection with Loch Kishorn Fabrication Yard.
31/12/1974Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
End of second reprieval period.
  /  /1975Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Loch Kishorn Fabrication Yard depot opened at Strome Ferry.
17/03/1975Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree mailboat service ends.
13/06/1975West Highland Railway
New Fort William station opened, old station Fort William [1st], by the pier, closed.
  /  /1980West Highland Railway
As the Pulp Mill at Scottish Pulp and Paper Mills, Corpach, closes much traffic is lost.
  /  /1982Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Depot at Strome Ferry closed and track disconnected from main line.
  /  /1983Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Re-introduction of observation cars in the summer.
  /  /1983West Highland Railway
Sunday service introduced.
  /  /1984West Highland Railway
Steam trains return to the line.
  /  /1984Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Steam trains return to the line. This is now a regular occurrence each summer.
27/05/1984Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
Steam returns to the West Highland Line as a tourist attraction. The first such train ran on Sunday the 27th of May.
03/06/1984Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Kyle of Lochalsh signal box closes.
13/07/1984Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Radio Electric Token Block introduced.
  /  /1985Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Considerable track reduction at Kyle of Lochalsh.
  /  /1988Kyle of Lochalsh Extension (Highland Railway)
Disused depot track at Strome Ferry lifted.
14/05/1990West Highland Railway
Motorail service commences running to Fort William.
28/05/1995West Highland Railway
Motorail service withdrawn.
27/06/1995Mallaig Extension (West Highland Railway)
The West Coast Railway Company commences running the steam service on the Mallaig Extension as The Jacobite.
26/09/2001West Highland Railway
Fort William Oil Depot re-opened.
08/09/2002Inverness and Nairn Railway Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)
Blocked by flood-water.