Trees and Network Rail
For many years the Society has actively pursued the problem of unchecked line side tree and shrub growth preventing travellers on the West Highland Lines (WHLs) enjoying the spectacular scenery. As a result of recent correspondence between the Society’s Secretary, Fraser McDonald, and Network Rail’s Route Director, Scotland a meeting was held on 12th February with Network Rail’s Maintenance Manager responsible for the network area which includes the WHLs. Prior to the meeting the Society had prepared a document which included a detailed survey of the Helensburgh Upper to Tyndrum Upper section, of which all but the section between Helensburgh and Whistlefield lies within the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park (LL&TNP). This document, which identified 12 high priority locations for vegetation clearance, was used as the basis for discussion.
Glenfinnan Station Museum Grant
It’s full steam ahead at ‘Hogwarts Express’ Station thanks to Heritage Lottery grant.
Across the iconic Glenfinnan viaduct, in an area of outstanding natural beauty sits Glenfinnan Station Museum, which has now been awarded a grant of £195,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Featured in ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' and 'Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban' films, it isone of the best-preserved working stations on the West Highland Line. The Heritage Lottery investment will give people the chance to step back in time and experience the atmosphere of a late-Victorian station while learning about the history of the ‘iron road to the Isles’ in the Highlands.
World's Top Rail Journey Again!
The West Highland Line has been voted Top Rail Journey for the second year running by readers of Wanderlust Magazine, the bible for independent travellers.
Trees obscure the views along stretches of the West Highland Line through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, particularly in summer when trees and shrubs are in full leaf.
Work by Scottish Woodlands, with the support of Luss Estates and Network Rail, has cleared scrub and natural vegetation over a 350 metre stretch, on the west side of the railway, at Tarbet. The Friends of the West Highland Lines worked with the National Park's Natural Heritage Grant Scheme to fund this work, at a total cost of over £9000.
This clearance opens up spectacular views as the train traverses the narrow Tighness isthmus between Loch Long and Loch Lomond and provides an excellent view of the Arrochar Alps and Ben Arthur (otherwise known as the Cobbler).
Tourism and Trains
TOURISM and TRAINS was the subject of a conference held jointly by the Friends of the West Highland Lines and the Scottish Association for Public Transport. The conference took place in December 2010 and was attended by high level officials from Transport Scotland, ScotRail, Network Rail and Passenger Focus. The full potential of the West Highland Lines to stimulate the tourist industry can be seen in the proceedings.
See more Scenery from the Train
Tree felling has revealed more of the spectacular scenery that can be seen from West Highland trains.
ScotRail train crossing the Glen Falloch Viaduct immediately following tree clearance.
Norman McNab, of the Friends of the West Highland Lines, has co-ordinated a project with Network Rail, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, and Scottish Natural Heritage to clear trees from a number of stretches of line. Stunning views of mountain and loch can now be seen from the train at Arrochar, the approach to the spectacular Glen Falloch viaduct over the Dubh Eas (Black Water) gorge, North of Crianlarich, and at Loch Awe.
Network Rail Awards
Friends of the West Highland Lines have won the "Good Lineside Neighbour" award at the Network Rail Partnership Awards 2011. The award was for the work on recovery of iconic views on the West Highland Lines, through tree clearance on sections of the line (see separate News Item).
The Friends of the West Highland Lines have released their response to the Transport Scotland Rail 2014 consultation, FWHL suggest new or upgraded trains, more frequent train services, and an upgraded overnight sleeper train with en-suite facilities. Download a PDF summary of our submission by clicking here .