The Highland Railway, Scotland
|Dates of operation||1855–1923|
|Successor||London, Midland & Scottish Railway|
|Track Gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) (Standard gauge)|
Locomotive at Evanton Station, near to Culcairn, Highland, Great Britain. View eastward; ex-Highland Inverness – Wick (Far North) line. The locomotive is ex-Caledonian Pickersgill 3P 4-4-0 No. 54496. Date 25 September 1957Source From geograph.org.uk; transferred by User:chevin using geograph_org2commons. Author Ben Brooksbank Permission (Reusing this file) Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0
The Highland Railway (HR) was one of the smaller British railways before the Railways Act, 1921; it operated north of Perth Railway Station in Scotland and served the farthest north of Britain. Formed by amalgamation in 1865, it was absorbed into the London, Midland & Scottish Railway in 1923.
The Highland Railway served the counties of Caithness, Sutherland, Ross & Cromarty, Inverness, Perth, Nairn, Moray and Banff. Southward it connected with the Caledonian Railway at Stanley Junction, north of Perth, and eastward with the Great North of Scotland Railway at Boat of Garten, Elgin, Keith and Portessie. The headquarters were at Inverness, as were the workshops, Lochgorm Works.As was ancient custom, elderly engines in the pre-war years were usually out to grass on quiet branch lines. HR 4-4-0 then LMS No.14394 was no exception and is seen here at Fort George terminus on 28th May, 1930. H.C.Casserley.
- The Inverness & Nairn Railway (INR): 15 miles (24 km) in length, was incorporated in 1854; the first train ran on 5 November 1855; it was the original part of the HR;
- A railway between Nairn and Keith opened in 1858; in 1861 this was amalgamated with the INR to become the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway (I&AJR);
- Two railways were to follow:
- the Inverness & Perth Junction Railway, opened in 1863, which connected with the I&AJR at Forres, and which in turn joined the Perth & Dunkeld Railway (opened 7 April 1856) at Dunkeld, completing the main line of the HR, which itself came into being in 1865;
- Lines to north were also being opened; all were merged with the HR by 1884:
- 23 March 1856 the Inverness & Ross-shire Railway, Inverness to Invergordon; it was extended to Bonar Bridge in 1864;
- 13 April 1868: the Sutherland Railway, Bonar Bridge to Golspie;
- 19 August 1870: the Dingwall & Skye Railway, Dingwall to Stromeferry;
- 19 June 1871: the Duke of Sutherland’s Railway, Golspie to Helmsdale built by the Duke of Sutherland;
- 28 July 1874: the Sutherland & Caithness Railway, Helmsdale to Wick and Thurso completed the line;
- 2 November 1897: the Dingwall and Skye Railway extended from Stromeferry to Kyle of Lochalsh;
- 1 November 1898: the “direct line” between Aviemore and Inverness opened, reducing the journey from 60 to 35 miles (97 to 56 km).
- There were also several branch lines of the HR. From the south, these were:
- the Aberfeldy Branch;
- the Buckie & Portessie Branch: opened 1 August 1884, closed 7 August 1915 (to passengers and central section between Aultmore and Buckie totally)
- the Fochabers Town branch: closed 14 September 1931
- the Hopeman branch: also closed 14 September 1931
- the Findhorn Railway: opened 1860, closed 1869 as being a failure
- the Fort George branch: also closed 14 September 1931
- the Fortrose branch: closed 1 October 1951
- the Strathpeffer branch: closed to passengers 23 February 1946, closed to freight 26 March 1951
- There were two light railways opened and run by the HR:
- 2 June 1902: the Dornoch Light Railway, again under the auspices of the Duke of Sutherland, 7.5 miles (12.1 km), between The Mound and Dornoch;
- 1 July 1903: The Wick and Lybster Light Railway, 13.5 miles (21.7 km). The line was abandoned on 3 April 1944.
- In 1921, the railway comprised 484 miles (779 km) of line and the company’s capital stood at nearly £7 million.The morning train from Dornoch waits at ‘The Mound’ behind ex- Highland 0-4-4 tank, then BR 55053 in October 1951. P.B.Whitehouse
One of the inspired acts of the Scottish Region during recent years has been the steaming of their veteran museum engines, a gesture to enthusiasts and railway students which has been greatly appreciated. In June 1960, the BBC ‘Railway Roundabout’ team made a film of the ‘Jones Goods’ 4-6-0 No.103 heading a normal service train over one of her old stamping grounds, the line from Inverness and Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh. The veteran ran like clockwork and had no trouble at all with the severe gradients from Dingwall up to Achterneed and beyond. P.B.Whitehouse