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

National Archive of Railway Oral History

The NAROH is held at the National Railway Museum and is available at their Search Engine facility. It includes tapes recorded by the late Syd Atkinson of Inverness who was our Winter Meeting speaker in 2005.

Syd, an enthusiastic raconteur, was District Controller, Operations Manager and then Area Manager at Inverness. He recorded 7 tapes extending to 13 sides and covering his career from 1939 - 1982 in East Anglia, Crewe and Inverness. The reference number is 2001-162.

Tape 7 is largely about freight, covering whisky, barley and potatoes in particular and describing how BR lost these traffics. In the 1960s there used to be 14 goods trains north of Inverness each day. Two of these went to Kyle, two to Wick and Thurso, one to Lairg, two to Invergordon and one to Muir of Ord.

The whisky traffic to the Speyside distilleries, mostly on the Aviemore to Craigellachie line, was phenomenal. Some half a million pounds worth would be taken out on the main loading days which were Tuesdays and Thursdays. On one occasion in January 1965 there were 60 loaded coal wagons at Aviemore waiting to access the line for the distilleries because Ballindalloch sidings were full with a backlog. All this traffic was lost by 1969 when the line closed.

Richard Ardern