The Highland Main Line

Before the infestation of the Sprinters

Not so long ago most non urban passenger train services in Scotland were provided by locomotives often hauling five or more MK. 1 and Mk. 2 main line standard passenger coaches. Today services are usually provided by a single Class 170 diesel multiple unit of three cars but fitted with high density closely spaced commuter style seating, often of unidirectional format and not unlike that experienced on aeroplanes. As a certain entrepreneur stated " It is my intention to make travel by rail an experience similar to travelling by air". Unfortunately he succeeded.

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We are at Ballinluig and a Perth to Inverness train passes. July 1984.

A pair of Class 27's head south through Ballinluig with a short train of oil tankers. Along side may be seen the newly upgraded A9 road which led to the loss of rail freight traffic to road. July 1984.

Still at Ballinluig we see the southbound "Clansman", the Inverness to London Euston train. The consist included a Mk. 1 Restaurant Buffet car. July 1984.

The southern end of the Highland main line is at Stanley Junction just north of Perth. It is now no longer a junction as the direct line to Kinnaber Junction and Aberdeen via Forfar has been eradicated. The southbound engineers' train has just joined the original line and the start of double track to Perth. July 1984.

We are now at Perth Station. A southbound service has just departed whilst another waits. On the right another service departs for Aberdeen, the long way round due to the closure of the Forfar route. July 1984.

The following year and we are at Faskally, just north of Pitlochry. The northbound "Clansman" has a fascinating variety of passenger coaches today. Things were never boring back then, especially for the carriage spotter. Here in view 47593 leads a Mk.1 BG, Mk.2f TSO, Mk.2f TSO, Mk.2b TSO, Mk.1 RU(B), Mk.3 FO, Mk.2a TSO and a Mk.2f TSO. July 1985.

From the other side of the tracks and with Faskally caravan park in the background, an Inverness to London Kings Cross service passed. July 1985.

This is an Inverness to either Glasgow Queen Street or Edinburgh Waverley service. Note the adequate provision of passenger vehicles including one of ScotRail's five home made Mk.2c composite corridor coaches. July 1985.

Once again we see the "Clansman" having just departed northbound from Pitlochry. At this time the "Clansman" did not call at Edinburgh but was electrically hauled from London to Mossend Yard where the electric locomotive was exchanged for a diesel to complete the journey to Inverness. July 1985.

Inverness based 27049 complete with Highland stag emblem awaits clearance at Pitlochry with Sir William McAlpine's private train. July 1985.

Behind the Class 27 is a modified ex LMS 12 wheel sleeping car and inspection saloon GER No. 1. July 1985.

North of Pitlochry is Blair Atholl. Here the station has a passing loop. We see a northbound service for Inverness from either Glasgow or Edinburgh. The first passenger vehicle is a Mk.2c TSO(T) and the next is a MK.2c CK. July 1985.

After their meeting at Blair Atholl station, a similar train heads south for either Glasgow or Edinburgh. The first passenger vehicle is one of the five Mk.2c CK conversions. July 1985.

A staple traffic on the Highland Main Line was cement from the Blue Circle terminal at Inverness. Here we see 47112 emerging from beneath the A9 with a train of PCA Presflo cement tankers. July 1985.

Once again the northbound "Clansman" and yet a different consist of passenger coaches has just departed northbound to Inverness from Pitlochry. July 1985.

This is a southbound service for Glasgow or Edinburgh and the usual interesting collection of passenger vehicles are on show. July 1985.

Later in the day, a London Kings Cross to Inverness service has just departed from Pitlochry. July 1985.

Looking very much like a model in the imposing Highlands landscape, Inverness based Class 27005 climbs towards Drumochter Summit from Pitlochry with a short Speedlink train. Included are four BP owned TTA liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tankers, an OBA 31.5 ton open wagon an HEA coal hopper and a two axle flat wagon carrying containerised coal. July 1985.

A short engineers' train has just departed Pitlochry southbound. Jul 1985.

Once again we see a southbound service having just departed Pitlochry for Glasgow or Edinburgh. Note that this time an extra passenger coach has been added making the consist up to seven. Additional carriages would never happen today, now you're fortunate if you manage to get a three carriage Diesel Multiple Unit. July 1985.

A Glasgow Eastfield Depot Class 47, University of Stirling, accelerated south from Pitlochry with a typical Highland Main Line train. July 1985.

A northbound service traverses the picturesque Pass of Killiekrankie. This is the site of a tourist visitor centre and park but it is also a good place to watch trains. July 1985.

Further north in Glen Garry at Dalnacardoch we see an unusual sight. Class 37's were not that common on the Highland Main Line at this time and it may have been substituting for an unserviceable Class 47. July 1985.

There is not many customers for this Motorail service today. The consist passing northbound at Dalnacardoch is just one BG carriage and one Motorail flat. July 1985.

Following on from the Class 37 train, things have returned to normal and the usual Class 47 in charge of this northbound service as it passes Dalnacardoch signal box. July 1985.

Still at Dalnacardoch and an Inverness service passes. July 1985.