- Dingwall and Skye Railway
Dingwall and Skye Railway
(inc Kyle of Lochalsh Extension)
Locale Scotland Dates of operation 5 August 1870 – 2 August 1880 Successor line Highland Railway Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)Legend Kyle of Lochalsh Duirinish Plockton Stromeferry Dingwall and Skye Railway Kyle of Lochalsh Extension Stromeferry Attadale Strathcarron Achnashellach Glencarron Platform Luib (Loan) Crossing Achnasheen Achanalt Lochluichart (New) Lochluichart (Old) Garve Raven's Rock Siding Achterneed Strathpeffer Fodderty Junction Inverness and Ross-shire Railway Dingwall Inverness and Ross-shire Railway
The Dingwall and Skye Railway was authorised on 5 July 1865 with the aim of providing a route to Skye and the Herbrides. However due to local objections, another Act of Parliament was required before work could commence. This was passed on 29 May 1868. The line opened to Stromeferry in August 1870.
With the exception of the Strathpeffer Branch, the line is still open, being the major section of the Kyle of Lochalsh Line.
The line was worked by the Highland Railway, and was ultimately absorbed on 2 August 1880. On 29 June 1893 the Highland Railway obtained re-authorisation to build the section to Kyle of Lochalsh, with opening following on 2 November 1897.
The initial aim was to connect Skye to Inverness. Although Inverness was Skye's county town at the time, it was easier to get there via Glasgow. The line opened in 1870, but with its terminus at Stromeferry. Boats provided onward connection to Skye and the Outer Hebrides.
The line was extended to Kyle, through some unforgiving terrain; almost all of the extension is in rock cuttings or embankments. At the time it was the most expensive railway ever built in the UK per mile, and much money was provided by the Government.
The line never gained much traffic: connections with the ferries were often unreliable; much freight traffic was stolen by the West Highland Railway upon its opening. Original ideas, including such ideas as moving fishing boats by rail across Scotland to avoid navigating around, never came to fruition. The line avoided the Beeching Axe due to social necessity, but throughout the 1970s it was variously threatened with closure, but won a reprieve until the Caledonian MacBrayne service to Lewis was moved from Kyle to Ullapool. It was eventually saved in connection with supplying goods for oil platform fabrication at the nearby Kishorn Yard. The section of line along Loch Carron is particularly troublesome, and prone to landslides, often closing that section.
The logical route for the original line would taken it through Strathpeffer, a spa town, and one of the few centres of population, but disagreements with landowners meant that it bypassed the town, until 3 June 1885 when the branch line was opened. That branch closed on 26 March 1951 and the absence of revenue from the town for the Kyle line has often been noted. A station opened at Achterneed with the original line, proved too far from the town to viably harness that revenue, and closed in 1965.
Connections to other lines
- Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0049-7. OCLC 19514063.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199.
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. OCLC 22311137.
- RAILSCOT article on Dingwall and Skye Railway
- RAILSCOT article on Strathpeffer Branch
- RAILSCOT article on Kyle of Lochalsh Extension
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