Steam Through the Highlands
Steam trains will be returning to the Highland lines this autumn. A new company, Highland Rail Heritage, has been formed from the various Friends groups and the Keith and Dufftown Railway with the object of developing interest in the area's rich railway past.
The company plans to become involved in the preservation of artifacts, the marketing of railway attractions and educating the public about the history of the lines and their present day rôle. One of its first tasks is to promote steam journeys to Kyle, Wick/Thurso and Aviemore from Inverness on the first three weekends in October, building on the successful Kyle Centenary trains last year.
Highland Railway Heritage Chairman, John Melling said, "This is a new initiative which will attract visitors to the Highlands in the autumn and also enable local people to ride on steam. The Highlands has beautiful railway scenery and many original railway features remain."
Supported by Highland Rail Development Railway partnership - a consortium of Highland Council, the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Network and railway companies - the new company is putting together a marketing package and is in discussion with funding agencies.
Highland Rail Development Consultant Frank Roach said, "We hope to sign a contract with West Coast Railways, operator of the Fort William - Mallaig Jacobite service, in the very near future."
The proposed dates are:
Saturday 3.10 98 Edinburgh - Inverness
Sunday 4.10.98 Inverness - Kyle - Inverness
Saturday 10.10.98 Inverness - Wick/Thurso
Sunday 11.10.98 Wick - Thurso shuttle; Thurso - Inverness
Saturday 17.10.98 Inverness - Aviemore shuttle
Sunday 18.10.98 Inverness - Edinburgh