Book and DVD Reviews
Hayes, Brian. North of Inverness. In LMS Journal no 36 (2012) pp 42-55. ISBN 978 1 905184 5. £10.95 plus £2.50 postage from Wild Swan Publications Ltd, 1-3 Hagbourne Road, Didcot, Oxon, OX11 8DP.
This well-illustrated article presents a picture of the lines from Inverness to Wick and Kyle during the last few months of the LMS era using data from the November 1947 Bradshaw, the September 1947 restaurant car diagrams and the September 1948 working timetable for freights. Train formations and locomotive diagrams are also discussed. There is a helpful plan of the track layout at Inverness station and steam shed. The photographs are particularly interesting because much of the infrastructure shown has long been swept away. We see the steam engine shed at Inverness, the bookstall at Dingwall, the turntable and shed at Tain, junctions at The Mound and Georgemas and the extensive sidings and van traffic at Thurso. Former Highland Railway locomotives are shown in five of the thirteen photos. My favourite shows a Stanier tank engine shunting at Muir of Ord in April 1946 with a Highland 4-4-0 also present.
Fenwick, Keith. The Inverness and Ross-shire Railway; the railway from Inverness to Bonar Bridge. Highland Railway Society, 2012. ISBN 978 0 95454857 5. £7.90 or £9 including postage from HRS, Ringmarsh Cottage, Horsington, Templecombe, Somerset, BA8 0EL.
I have to confess that I come from a privileged railway background: one grandfather was the Stationmaster and Postmaster at Redcastle Station but retired before I was old enough take advantage of his position. The other had a farm high on the South side of the Black Isle overlooking the Muir of Ord to Fortrose line and across the water we could see and hear the trains between Bunchrew and Clunes. I was a ready customer for Keith's book and I was not disappointed. He has gathered together a great set of interesting photographs and, most importantly, they have detailed captions. The text covers a broad spectrum from early days through two world wars to Invergordon Aluminium Smelter and stations reopening. Well up to the standard of recent Highland Railway publications. You will not be disappointed.
Scottish Railways Remembered, Part 5. B&R Video Productions, The Old Smithy, Uffington, Shrewsbury, SY4 4SN. £19.95 [Volume 172]
This 66-minute DVD covers Highland lines in the 1960s and 1970s with both steam and diesel traction. The first 54 minutes covers the lines from Callander to Oban, Ballachulish, Fort William, Mallaig and Kyle to Dingwall. Dingwall had a busy station and yard then and we see parcels traffic at Invergordon and Tain. Fearn, Golspie and Kildonan loops and signal boxes are shown and Altnabreac still has its water column, loop and post office. Georgemas has a water column and lots of stabled vans before we see Hoy, Thurso and Wick. An earlier sequence shows the Sutherland Transport and Trading bus at Lairg station. Some cringeworthy place name pronunciations are best ignored in the commentary, but I was amused by "Talynuilt"!