CHANNEL 4 has succeeded where Victorian entrepreneurs and engineers failed: to build a railway the complete length of Scotland’s Great Glen.
In 1883, a scheme to build a line from Glasgow via Loch Lomondside and Glencoe to Fort William and Inverness was proposed under the banner of the Glasgow & North Western Railway.
The aim was to alleviate the depressed economic conditions in the West Highlands, but when the scheme went before Parliament that year, it was vehemently and successfully opposed by the Highland Railway, which saw it as a threat to its monopoly.
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As a result, the only railway that was built in the Great Glen was the Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway, a branch from the West Highland Line at Spean Bridge, which opened in 1903. Never commercially successful, passenger services were withdrawn in 1933 and freight in 1946.
However, a 71-mile railway has now been laid through the Great Glen – but in O gauge.
Love Productions gathered 56 volunteers and model railway enthusiasts to lay track between Fort William and Inverness for its five-part weekly TV series, The Biggest Little Railway in the World, the first instalment of which was broadcast on January 7.
One of the aims was to create the world’s longest model railway.
Read more in Issue 238 of HR – on sale now!
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