Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway


Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway

The Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway was a branch-line railway built in Scotland, and served by the Highland Railway, the North British Railway and later the London & North Eastern Railway

Beginnings

The Invergarry line was originally set out to bridge the gap between a stretch of land known as "The Three Lochs" Fact|date=August 2007 (as Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness form this gap). Either side was served by a railway, but there was no rail service in this void.

A group of local entrepreneurs and landowners later met to help form the mould for the railway. Each expressed a desire to use the line to transport goods, shorter journeys to hunting lodges and so forth. Although they had little money to run the line themselves, it was decided to construct the line and then sell it to the highest bidder.fact|date=February 2008

Construction, opening and change of ownership

The line was constructed from Spean Bridge to Fort Augustus, via Invergarry. An inspection of the line was carried out by General Pringle in 1901/2.fact|date=February 2008

The Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway company ran out of money; and from 22 July 1903 the Highland Railway was authorised to operate the line for ten years at a cost of £4,000 per annum.Awdry (1990): Pp 139-140.] Thomas (1981). Chapter 12: "The Great Glen".] The Highland Railway pulled out on 1 May 1907 and the North British Railway operated the line until 31 October 1911, when it was closed down.Thomas (1981). Chapter 12: "The Great Glen", states that closure was announced in the newspapers on 25 October 1910, giving the intended date of closure as 31 January 1911. The line was however operated until 31 October.] The line was reopened on the 1 August 1913; and the North British Railway bought the line in August 1914.

Closures

The railway turned out to be a financial disaster. The villages it served were sparsely inhabited, and the only forms of revenue were on Market Day and the use of the line by monks attending a Seminary nearby.fact|date=February 2008 Most people who remember the line claim it should never have been built.fact|date=February 2008

After the First World War, the North British Railway was amalgamated into the London & North Eastern Railway, who used it largely for freight purposes rather than passenger traffic. The line closed to passenger traffic on 1 December 1933 and closed to goods on 1 January 1947 (it was used for goods during World War II). [Dow, George (2001). "The Story of the West Highland". Gartocharn: Famedram Publishers. ISBN 0-90548969-1.]

Today

Some of the line today has been built over by roads and holiday parks, although it mostly survives in a reasonably good, if overgrown, condition. The many bridges and single tunnel are in particularly good condition, and the section along Loch Oich has been incorporated into the Great Glen Way. Video 125 made a straight-to-video documentary about the line, using the sub-heading: "The Line that should never had been built", echoing the sentiments of the people who used it.

References

Footnotes

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