On a dull and overcast day a gathering of photoraphers come together in the area of the County March to witness steam on the West Highland Main Line. 44767 returns south from Fort William to Edinburgh as 1Z23 1225 off. With steam on, the train runs along the lower flank of Beinn Dorain. 27/9/1997
A few minutes after the last photo, the train reappears on the flanks of Ben Odhar climbing steadily at 1 in 55 upto the summit at the County March.
This tour should have been double headed with the BR Standard 75014, but it went south the previous night in the freight train.
The summit of Ben Odhar can almost be seen at 2,949 feet. The seven coach train continues its great sounding climb with the County March summit almost in sight.
With the regulator shut, the Timken roller bearing fitted engine glides into Crianlarich station for a water stop and crew change.
44767 gets away from Crianlarich. The line climbs away from the station for about 1/2 a mile at 1 in 66 before the long descent to Ardlui. 27/9/1997
A remarkable sight in Glen Falloch, to the south of Crianlarich, a pair of LNER moguls in apple green livery. K4 3442 and K1 2005 front a special working from Edinburgh to Fort William to celebrate the centenary of the West Highland Line. 7/8/1994
The three cylinder K4 3442 pilots the two cylinder K1 2005 up the final few hundred yards to the County March Summit. The train is over three hours late due to issues with the RETB equipment and unscheduled station stops.
The pair whistle for the summit. The K4 was introduced in 1937 for the West Highland Line whilst the K1 was a 1949 development of a K1/1 which was a rebuilt from a K4. The apple green livery of 2005 is not authentic as the loco was built by British Railways. 7/8/1994
Running into Bridge of Orchy is Ian Riley's BR Standard 4 2-6-0 76079 running with 76001 on the smokebox. Behind it is another of Ian's locos, 37197. This is 5Z23 0815 Fort William to Carnforth ECS working. 24/5/2004
On the climb to County March Summit, the train has not far to go. A heavy shower with almost horizontal rainsoaks the gathered photographers as the loco climbs well with a class 37 and 8 coaches on the drawbar but the class 37 was working too.
A quick drive to Crianlarich to get ahead of the train and to record it running into the station.
The train stops in the station so 76079 can take water and have coal pulled forward. Also it has to wait for a north bound freight to clear the section. 76001 was an Oban engine.
The pair have departed Crianlarich and head down Glen Falloch to Carnforth with the empty stock. A group of Germans had hired the train to travel from Fort William to Mallaig in one direction only! 24/5/2004
Eleven days after I was last at Crianlarich, I am back. This time Mike Mather is with me and we are out to photograph the ECS working of the locos and stock for the 2004 Jacobite season. 4/6/2004
B1 61264 and K1 62005 are at the head of nine mkI coaches, the two support coaches and the service train coaches. The working is 5Z22 0412 Carnforth to Fort William.
At Crianlarich the locos are watered and coal is brought forward. Both are in BR lined black livery and look great.
The train gets away from Crianlarich and cross the River Fillan on a six span viaduct. The pair are working to gather momentum for the stiff 6 1/4 mile climb to the County March. But before the start of the climb, the line turns sharply to the left with a speed restriction so a good run at the bank is not possible.
Having taken the sharp curve the pair dig into the climb which rules at 1 in 60 for just over 6 miles, it will be a hard slog and the firemen will be working hard.
The was an issue at Tyndrum Upper and a prolonged stop took place to obtain the radio token. This turned out to be fortuitous as when the train passed over the County March Summit, it was bathed in glorious sunshine. If it had been on time the sun would have been in cloud.
A closer look at the class 5 4-6-0 B1 and class 4 2-6-0 K1 locos which were sounding just wonderful.
The railway is built into the side of Beinn Dorain and is generally falling to Bridge of Orchy. It appears that the B1 has the regulator shut but the K1 is working.
After a much shorter stop at Bridge of Orchy station to exchange radio tokens, the train continues on. To get up to the line involves a yomp across the bondhu and an uphill one to boot. I managed to stave off heart attack (that came in 2017!) to get these shots of the pair accelerating away from Bridge of Orchy.
One last shot in brilliant sunshine of 61264 and 62005 and their train heading for Fort William. It was well worth the effort to get here to get these shots. Time to go home. 4/6/2004
Not quite what you would expect to see running over West Highlan metals is it? Former Great Western Railway 4900 Hall class 4-6-0 5972 Olton Hall is seen approaching Bridge of Orchy in its guise as "Hogworts Castle" in red livery with a "Hogworts" crest on the tender. 29/9/2004
The loco and stock are running as 5Z28 0815 Fort William - Carnforth ECS with 37197 tucked inside the Hall. The loco and stock are returning from filming on the Mallaig Extension as part of the latest Harry Potter movie. The train is nearing the Horseshoe Curve.
I'm sure Collett knew of the West Highland Railway when he designed the Hall class but I wonder what he would have thought if he could see one of his locos blasting up the 1 in 55 towards the County March Summit? I think he would smile :-)
A quick drive down to Crianlarich and walk out beyond the Fillan Viaduct to record 5972 and 37197 crossing over the viaduct above the River Fillan.
5972 and 37197 head south along Glen Falloch and on to Carnforth. 29/9/2004