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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

Reminiscences of Muir of Ord

The only original parts of the station left at Muir of Ord are the up and down line platforms, a few sidings and the maintenance building erected when the Inverness viaduct was washed away and the line became isolated from the railway works at Inverness.

All the buildings have been demolished, the last building to go in 1999 housed the ticket office, the parcel office and the waiting rooms and was replaced by a bus type shelter, and even the Station Hotel has now been turned into flats.

The most recently demolished railway associated building was the grain store built by the local distillery in 1967. Constructed of grey asbestos sheeting this tall unattractive building blighted the skyline for miles around and its demise was probably welcomed by the local community. The grain was brought in by special train, transferred into hoppers and loaded into road vehicles for delivery to the distillery.

To think that at one time this same railway station was one of the busiest railway yards north of Inverness, it was the commercial centre for the whole area, including the Black Isle, which was served by a branch line from the Muir station. With all its sidings and loading banks it made an ideal place for moving materials, especially those associated with the farming community, and coal was one of the last commodities to be handled at the yard.

Passenger traffic was never going to be the money spinner the railway companies thought it would be, local people used the service mostly at the weekends to travel into the main towns in the area, Dingwall and Inverness. With more and more people becoming car owners it meant less and less passengers going by rail preferring to use a reasonably up-graded 'old' A9. Eventually the station closed to passenger traffic in 1951, but what people couldn't understand was that the same number of trains still ran north and west but just didn't stop. The station, that at one time employed a staff of eighteen including permanent way engineers, was re-opened in 1967, is now unmanned and is becoming a popular station with the increase in population in the village and surrounding areas and the improved commuter rail services.

To bring the story of Muir of Ord right up to date we have news that the down platform is being raised and new coping stones being positioned. Also, a potential railfreight customer has been shown around the shed at Muir of Ord that was built to service the trains stranded north of Inverness at the time of the re-building of the bridge over the River Ness.

Keith Harman