More West Highland than Welsh Highland...
What do you give your railfan dad for his 60th birthday? This is the solution provided by sons and close family starting on Thursday 17 October 2013... All images copyright of J.K. Wallace unless otherwise attributed. Check out other photos by James Wallace on Flickr, and Landscape Photographer of the Year 2013 'Highly Commended'.
Thursday 17 October 2013: Preston - Fort William - Banavie
The last time I passed through this door was about 44 years ago to spend an afternoon train spotting!
The screen now erected to fill the hole left when the track forming the curve onto the West Lancashire lines to Southport were removed...
390130 arrives at Preston on-time with a London Euston - Glasgow Central service.
"We ask that you please don't bring any more luggage than you can comfortably carry". As the poster is on the platform one has to assume that any passengers...err, I mean customers, having staggered this far with their excess of luggage, and now have to consider what to do with their excess luggage. Virgin sadly offer no immediate solutions.
Pendolino on arrival at Glasgow Central
Train for Fort William and Mallaig prior to departure from Glasgow Queen Street.
156478 on arrival at Fort William and prior to departure to Mallaig. Network Rail converted Sprinter in attendance.
67009 stands at Fort William with the stock of the southbound sleeper.
Having checked-in at 'Treetops' bed & breakfast, a stroll down to the swing brodge found 156476 on a Fort William bound service.
156476 and 156492 depart Banavie on a Fort William bound service. The 'Street' on the blind refers to Glasgow Queen Street.
Friday 18 October Fort William - Mallaig - Fort William
The morning of Friday 18 October 2013 bode fair as viewed from our bedroom window at 'Treetops'.
Although difficult to see in the early morning light, the railway line runs to the right.
This is also the view from 'Tree Tops' although you will need a telephoto lens and filters to achieve similar!
Black 5 45407 was the train engine, although 44871 was also in steam back 'on shed' - presumably being warmed through ready for the Photographer's Special running on Saturday 19 October 2013..
'The Lancashire Fusillier' nameplate as currently carried by 45407. The locomotive wasn't named in BR days - but it looks the part!
Lone photographer at Glenfinnin
Train departing Glenfinnan. The seven-car consist is too long for the loop, so the train stops in the loop awaiting the arrival of the Up train, and then has to draw forward to allow the diesel multiple unit to exit the loop. Then - and only then - can the passengers disembark for a 20 minute break.
Care-worn poster advertising West Coast Railways train on the 'Iron Road to the Isles' at Glenfinnin 18 October 2013. Services in the year of publication ended in September.
Station signage and West Coast Railways BR Mark 1's at Glenfinnin 19 October 2013
The scenery is stunning, and the loco action on the 1 in 48 approaching Beasdale oustanding!
Mallaig platform end. The last time I visited Mallaig in 1981 there were two Western Region bracket posts fitted with UQ arms here. The 'Before and After' comparison seems to suggest there has been some simplification of the pointwork, with a short siding removed on the far left, and a rearrangement of the connection from the track from the left hand platform.
Class 37 stands at Malliag on 8 August 1981 with the 16:05 to Fort William. In retrospect I wish I'd taken more interest in the Observation Car behind the loco. According to Michel Harris in 'LNER Carriages' the Chief General Manager's saloon DE 902260 was renumbered SC 1999 and renamed 'Lochaber' before operating to Mallaig in the 1981-83 seasons. Kevin Lane's photo
shows the car at King's Cross in June 1973.
Mallaig on 8 August 1981 showing the two ex-Western Region bracket signals and signal box.
The very end of the line!
Cab detail of 45407 standing at Mallaig. Anyone who has recently taken one of these apart and now can't remember how to put it back together, take note.
45407 readies for the return run tender first to Fort William.
Stanier Black 5 45407 on the return journey: 'The Jacobite' Mallaig - Fort William 19 October 2013
Saturday 19 October 2013 Fort William - Glasgow - Preston
156476 readies to depart with the 11.40 to Glasgow Queen Street 19 October 2013.
The guard already had the measure of us, and passed through the train saying 'Doors not being opened, doors not being opened...', adding 'I've got a schedule to keep'. What did he think we could - or would - do? As it was, 45407 was about 2 carriage lengths off the end of the platform...
156450 having completed another excellent run up the West Highland provided an on-time arrival at Glasgow Queens Street. These Metro-Cammel units were regarded as some of the better builds for British Rail, and their very confident performance, excellent ride and large windows make them ideal for this service. My companions also felt being able to open the hopper windows was also a great asset.
390154 waits to whistle us back to Preston.
Finally, a short video with footage taken from the steam-hauled Mallaig - Fort William 'Jacobite' on 18 October 2013, showing Black 5 45407 as the train engine and 44871 in steam at Fort William, together with footage of 44871 and 45407 on the West Highland line working a Photographer's Special on Saturday 19 October 2013 at Bridge of Orchy and Upper Tyndrum.
How the event started...
Suvi's special sandwich cake!