West Highland Railway

West Highland Railway, Fort William, Highlands, Scotland

The West Highland Railway was a railway company that constructed a railway line from Craigendoran (on the River Clyde west of Glasgow, Scotland) to Fort William and Mallaig. The line was built through remote and difficult terrain in two stages: from Craigendoran to Fort William, opened in 1894 with a short extension to Banavie on the Caledonian Canal opened the following year.

It had originally been intended to extend to Roshven, to give good access to sea-going fishery vessels, but the end point was altered to Mallaig, and this section opened in 1901. The "Mallaig extension" was notable for the extensive use of mass concrete in making structures for the line; at the time this was a considerable novelty.

The line never made a profit, and relied on Government financial support, which was given (amid much controversy) to improve the depressed economic conditions of the region. It was worked by the North British Railway, which later took the company over. Except for a short stub at Banavie the entire line remains in use, and it is considered to be one of the most scenic railway lines in Britain.

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