Friends of the West Highland Lines
The West Highland Lines, the Top Rail Journey in the World.
Britain's railways of superlatives which take you to the:
- Highest mountain in Britain (Ben Nevis)
- Largest loch in Britain (Loch Lomond)
- Longest loch in Britain (Loch Awe)
- Deepest Loch in Britain (Loch Morar)
- Highest mainline station in Britain (Corrour)
- Most westerly station in Britain (Arisaig)
- Gateway to the Hebridean Islands at Oban
- Britain's Outdoor Capital at Lochaber
The West Highland Lines are world class railways making a major contribution to accessibility for residents, tourists and freight in this uniquely beautiful part of Scotland. ScotRail trains link the West Highlands with Glasgow where there are connections with trains to the rest of Britain. There is also an overnight Caledonian Sleeper linking Fort William and intermediate West Highland stations with London.
This website gives an introduction to the line, with pictures of the spectacular scenery brought to you by award-winning photographer Norman McNab, and others as attributed. All pictures are copyright of the authors and must not be copied without permission.
Click here for more photographic information and permissions.
On 1st April 2015 Abellio took over from First ScotRail responsibility for ScotRail, Scotland's National Rail Network. This offers a potentially exciting time for all rail travellers if all the commitments made, in response to the Scottish Government's franchise tender, are delivered. The Society eagerly anticipates improvements for the West Highland Lines and looks forward to working with Abellio. It is early days and and patience will be required since it will be some years before all the promised improvements can be delivered. The early signs are promising however. Abellio have already highlighted Scotland's Scenic Railways and the West Highland Lines together with the intention to run steam trains. Click here for Abellio's Publicity Narrative on taking responsibility for the ScotRail Franchise. For up to date information and comment refer to our News Section .
The New Caledonian Sleeper Franchise
The first travellers were welcomed on board the inaugural new Caledonian Sleeper train when it departed from Fort William on 31st March 2015. The Sleeper operation is now a separate franchise operated by Serco. It was previously included as an operation under the ScotRail franchise operated by the First Transport Group.
The Society has long argued that the Caledonian Sleeper and, particularly, the London - Fort William route, was a major tourism asset which deserved much more investment in rolling stock, marketing and sales support. The new franchise tender recognised these issues and Serco's successful winning of the franchise contract, including the delivery of new rolling stock, promises almost all of the Society's aspirations. Again time and patience will be required since it will be some years before all the changes will be delivered. For the present the only obvious physical changes will be to liveries and uniforms. There is every reason to believe that the actual customer experience should improve with immediate effect. As with Abellio, the Society look forward to working with Serco to help promote the new sleeper service on the West Highland Line as a world class positive experience.
A set of four souvenir colour postcards featuring some of the photographs on this website is on sale from Glenfinnan Station Museum,
The Friends of the West Highland Lines are delighted to announce the election of the Right Honorable Charles Kennedy MP as the Society's Honorary President. The election on 17th May, at the Society's 2014 AGM in the Alexandra Hotel, Fort William, was followed by an interesting, informative and humorous address by Charles Kennedy.