The Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway
The Lochaber Narrow Gauge Railway was laid in 1925 by Balfour, Beatty & Co. Ltd, and provided a means of transporting men and materials from Fort Wiliam and Fersit to the remote northern slopes of Ben Nevis range. Its original purpose was to facilitate the excavation of a tunnel fifteen miles long, the major work in the Lochaber Water Power Scheme, one of the most important construction projects ever undertaken in Scotland. This was still the era of steam power on contractors' railways, but in addition many motor cars were converted into "speeders", and similar vehicles continued to operate on the line for its entire life. When construction ended, the railway passed to The British Aluminium Co. Ltd, and survived until 1977 as an important adjunct to their Fort William factory. It was one of the longest narrow gauge railways in Britain, and although situated in a spectacular scenic location, was rarely seen by anyone not directly involved in its operation.
Patrick Howat knows the Fort William area well, but this book required persistent research in many parts of the country. The result is a fascinating account, not simply of the railway and its contribution to the development of aluminium production, but also of the personal experiences of that hardy group of men who built, operated and maintained the track and equipment, all the year round in every kind of weather.
Softback, 72 pages, black & white photographs
Condition: Very Good
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Updated: 29 December 2021