Connecting the Highland Mainline to the West Highland Line

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mralexn

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So basically, do you think this is a good idea?
and where would you like to see a link from / to ?

I know there is a lot of wood and road freight that go between Fort William and Inverness so maybe if this link was introduced it could generate a lot of freight use.

Also as far as passenger journey times are concerned the only way to get to inverness from the HML at the moment is to go right round via Glasgow,

Anyway, would love to hear some suggestions and thoughts about this idea.
if this has already been discussed to death, Please send me a link, and i shall get my coat.. :P
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
So basically, do you think this is a good idea?
and where would you like to see a link from / to ?

I know there is a lot of wood and road freight that go between Fort William and Inverness so maybe if this link was introduced it could generate a lot of freight use.

Also as far as passenger journey times are concerned the only way to get to inverness from the HML at the moment is to go right round via Glasgow,

Anyway, would love to hear some suggestions and thoughts about this idea.
if this has already been discussed to death, Please send me a link, and i shall get my coat.. :P
Just looking at a map, creating a link between Tulloch and Newtonmore seems to be a good idea,
This would also mean that trains could run from say, Fort William to Edinburgh via Newtonmore / perth, Creating more services on the southern end of the HML,
 
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sprinterguy

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One of the earlier proposals for a railway into the North West Highlands that predated the West Highland line was a single route that originated in Glasgow and then took in Oban, Ballachullish, Fort William and Fort Augustus (Following the coast up from Oban to Fort William essentially) on its' way to Inverness via the Great Glen. I think that this would have been a more efficient way of penetrating the area instead of having one Caledonian branch to Oban (Originally from Stirling and Callander but now truncated to join the WHL at Chrianlarich of course) and then the North British WHL to Fort William, and then Mallaig, via Rannoch Moor. Only Bridge of Orchy and the sparsely patronised stations across Rannoch Moor such as Rannoch and Corrour would have lost out on a train service (Spean Bridge would have been called at after northbound trains had called at Fort William). Such a route would have more than proved its' worth as a through route during the world wars when the Highland Main Line, the most direct route from the North of Scotland to the major cities, was pressured to its' maximum extent to shift vast volumes of traffic.

Another route to Fort William vetoed ascending the Black Mount and then descending through Glen Coe IIRC, rather than skirting round the back of it across Rannoch Moor. Now that would have been something spectacular!

Speaking of the Caledonian line through Callander, while I don't advocate reopening it in full to link the WHL with the HML between Chrianlarich and Dunblane, I personally believe that there would be a good case for reopening the line as far as Callander from Dunblane to connect into the national network (of course a new station site would be required in Callander), and that the section of line from Callander that skirts Loch Lubnaig would make a wonderful preserved line, especially if the original Callander station had not been levelled and turned into a car park. Perhaps terminating at Lochearnhead. Although of course, I would love to see trains running over the beautiful viaduct in Glenogle, but that notion is even more far fetched than the fanciful idea of a preserved line in the area!
 
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ainsworth74

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Just looking at a map, creating a link between Tulloch and Newtonmore seems to be a good idea
I assume you're following the A86 there? I don't think it would work, I've been driven down that road and the terrain is very mountainous and I seem to recall it being somewhat boggy as well. This sort of link whilst it might be nice I can't see it making economic sense as it will cost a heck of a lot.
 

Ivo

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There just isn't a market for it. The only real benefits would be Fort William to Perth (an unlikely route) and Edinburgh (travel via Glasgow gives far more options), and also Inverness to Glasgow (which would make very little difference). The few uses you would get between Fort William and Inverness are catered for by coaches, which also accept the Highland Rover (I believe) negating the travelling tourist benefit (AKA enthusiasts).

And that's before you get to the geographical difficulties.
 

sprinterguy

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Just looking at a map, creating a link between Tulloch and Newtonmore seems to be a good idea,
This would also mean that trains could run from say, Fort William to Edinburgh via Newtonmore / perth, Creating more services on the southern end of the HML,
I believe that a similar route has been advocated more than once but joining the HML at Pitlochry, first in the Victorian era and then as recently as the 1970s when BR considered building such a link for freight traffic (IIRC). I'm not at all keen on the idea of a link joining the HML at Newtonmore, as it is much too high up the line and would create additional pressures on the long single line sections (It's difficult enough to provide a half decent frequency for the Inverness to Edinburgh/Glasgow services as it is!) and would result in considerably extended journey times for any trains heading south towards Perth.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
I assume you're following the A86 there? I don't think it would work, I've been driven down that road and the terrain is very mountainous and I seem to recall it being somewhat boggy as well. This sort of link whilst it might be nice I can't see it making economic sense as it will cost a heck of a lot.
/\ /\ And that as well would be the biggest obstacle to such a route: The terrain to be crossed.
 

blackfive460

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then as recently as the 1970s when BR considered building such a link for freight traffic (IIRC).
You do remember correctly.
A route from Tulloch to the Highland Main line was proposed as, at the time, there seemed the likelihood of increasing freight traffic serving both the pulp mill at Corpach and the aluminium smelter in Fort William, particularly timber to the former.
The pulp mill closed in 1980 and there really isn't sufficient traffic to justify such a connection nowadays.
We should be thankful that the West Highland line to Fort William and the West Highland Extension are still open, never mind about building further lines in Highlands!
 

PaxVobiscum

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So basically, do you think this is a good idea?
and where would you like to see a link from / to ?
Can't see it myself, though it's a nice idea.

It was half way there in the days of the Spean Bridge - Fort Augustus line and I'm sure that's what the promoters were hoping would happen. Unfortunately competitive business interests resulted in agreements being made not to complete the link (as far as I understand) and that line was a financial disaster.

It probably wouldn't have survived Dr. B anyway, though that might be an interesting area for discussion.
 
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The Scottish Socialist Party had it in their 2003 or 2007 manifesto to build a line from Newtonmore to Roy Bridge as this is the shortest distance. But It's purely wishful thinking, unless they found some kind of rare mineral in the west to be exported from Dundee by sea, then it will never happen.

If only they had extended the line from Fort Augustas Pier to Inverness, it would have probably survived to this day and age. Would have been interesting as to where this alignment would have went though. The Geography of Inverness and its surroundings wouldn't have allowed a line to the current station, coming from the north/west side of Loch Ness. If the line had been built along the south/east of Loch Ness then this could easily have reconnected to the Highland Mainline at Beechwood (near Cradlehall Crossover). This would also serve a growing population of around 20000 on the South side of Inverness, and would have proved useful for constructing the recent Glendoe Power Station.

There is no financial sense to any such project in this day and age, if it wasn't built in the past its not worth it now. A line to Kyle would never be built in this day and age, and the same is true for the subject of this post. Useful fantasy scenario for a model railway though!
 

Oliver

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