The Far North 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 two car Class 158 diesel multiple unit 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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It's a very pleasant afternoon and we are at Kyle of Lochalsh. Not a lot of railway action is taking place. September 1975.
The peace and tranquillity of the afternoon is pleasantly disturbed by the arrival of  a service from Inverness. At this time this was one of the very few places in the UK where a mixed passenger and goods train could be seen in operation. September 1975
End of the line at Kyle of Lochalsh. No doubt a very cautious approach is recommended. September 1975.
A view of the complete mixed train. The crew are in for some extra work as the line beyond the run round will only accommodate one locomotive. The two locos will have to be split, requiring the disconnection and reconnection of the multiple control cables. September 1975.
Continuing our journey north we are at Wick Station. It is a Saturday afternoon. It is deserted and for good reason. The next train is not until Monday. September 1975.
Checking out Thurso Station and there is not much doing here either. The next train is also not until Monday. September 1975.
Have a day off and on Monday all the action is about to happen at Georgemass Junction. The locomotive in the background is waiting to haul the Wick portion. September 1975.
The train from Inverness arrives. This train will be split and shunted into Wick and Thurso portions. This all takes place without the inconvenience to passengers of being forcibly evicted from the train whilst all this shunting takes place. Today they will not even join or split units without forcibly detraining all the passengers. September 1975.
With the two train consists suitable rearranged, the incoming locomotive is ready to depart with its train to Thurso. Behind the Class 26 is MK.1 BG, RMB and a BCK. September 1975.
In the background the Wick train is ready to depart. September 1975.
After the Thruso train departs and all the activity ends, Georgemass Junction returns to serenity as the sound of hard working Sulzer engines fade into the distance. September 1975.
Members of Eastbank MRC are now at Hamilton Central Station and ready to board an SRPS charter excursion to Kyle of Lochalsh. Our accommodation for this trip as in the first vehicle, a Caledonian Railway brake composite and we were fortunate to be allocated to a first class compartment. July 1977.
As considerable portions of the Highland main line is single track, numerous stops had to be made to allow scheduled trains to pass in the opposite direction. There was no problem alighting as the signals could be easily observed and anyway in those days there was the added convenience that there was no central locking on the passenger carriages. The observant will have noticed that the two Class 25's have turned into a Class 47. This happened at Mossend. July 1977.
On arrival at Inverness we bypassed the station then reversed into a northbound platform. A pair of Class 26's can be seen ready to take us to Kyle of Lochalsh. July 1977.
The Class 47 that brought us from Mossend departs. July 1977.
The replacement motive power arrives, a pair of Class 26's. July 1977.
Another pause and we are at Dingwall with plenty of time to observe the surroundings. Being in the first carriage was very convenient and also most comfortable. July 1977.
In an adjacent siding at Dingwall a typical formation Far North Line train may be seen. July 1977.
The end of the line. We have arrived at Kyle of Lochalsh. July 1977.
Due to the short length of line at the end of the run round the locomotive pair had to be split with all the inconvenience of disconnection of the multiple unit control cables. One loco has repositioned ready for the return. July 1977.
Paired up once again and ready for action. July 1977.
On the return we are now in the last carriage in the train. The consist is composed of BR Mk. 1 carriages and also some from the SRPS collection. July 1977.
Passing Stromeferry the yard appears to have been reactivated, no doubt in connection with the oil industry. July 1977.
Having slowed down we are now approaching Dingwall. July 1977.
Dingwall station and a northbound service is awaiting clearance of the single track line. July 1977.