scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Iron Roads to the Far North and Kyle

Michael Pearson

The lines in the Highlands each have a fascinating character of their own. This is as true of the two contrasting routes north from Inverness as of those described in earlier volumes of this series. They offer a wealth of information in highly readable form in a relatively slender format, with useful maps and superb illustrations, all most beautifully presented. Naturally we had looked forward to it, and we were certainly not disappointed.

This is a book that every Member and anyone interested in the north Highlands should have on their shelves or left on your coffee table to attract the attention of your visitors.

Above all I commend the masterly introduction to this volume. It is highly evocative - one can positively hear and smell the timber train - and it goes on to summarise quite complex developments on these lines with admirable clarity and brevity. (How I envy Michael Pearson those two gifts!)

Just two nagging reservations, both trivial: the photos of the daily freight do it less than justice - maybe taken during the early trials, and rather curiously titled the 'Safeway Express'. This carries 2 and sometimes 3 containers for the supermarket, regularly loads a number of covered vans; up to 7 have been noted. I accept of course the problem of getting train and weather to coincide, and the widely spaced locations.

The operation outlined for the timber train was swiftly revised, to release the loading staff earlier, loading on the northbound' trip before proceeding to Forsinard for the class 66 to run round. This working - the heaviest regular freight - is sadly camera-elusive as it runs at night. Closely timed, its record for punctuality if anything betters the passenger units. Such details must not detract from the overall excellence. Above all (available from our Membership Secretary, Angus Stewart) make sure you get this splendid book!!

Reviewed by Keith Tyler
Committee Member, Kinbrace