Find your perfect place

Accommodation Category
Location
The Jacobite at Glenfinnan

The Jacobite at Glenfinnan

About The West Highland Line

Some information about the West Highland Railway Line between Fort William and Mallaig

The Fort William-Mallaig railway was one of the last major railway-building projects in the British Isles. Completed in 1901, it is widely regarded as one of the world's most scenic rail journeys and all the better to make that journey by steam train during the summer months. The West Highland Railway which was completed in 1894 terminated at Fort William, but its promoters rapidly realised that although they had reached the West Coast they were still far from the fishing grounds of the Minch and the ability to get to market.

The railway took 4 years to build, and was one of the first major constructions in the world to use mass concrete. In fact, the bridge across the Borrodale Burn was once the largest concrete bridge in the world. Concrete was also used to build the 21 arches of Glenfinnan viaduct, 11 tunnels and many other bridges across the numerous burns and rivers.

Before the line opened in 1901, access to the rest of the world was by coastal steamers, by the rough hill tracks or by a mail coach which travelled from Arisaig to Fort William three times a week and took seven and a half hours to make the journey. People living along the new line were now able to travel to Fort William in less than two hours, at a fraction of the mail coach fare, and crofters could send their animals to market by train instead of driving them long distances on foot.

Mallaig itself was transformed in ten years from a small community of crofter-fishermen into a vigorous fishing centre, landing huge quantities of herring to be taken swiftly south along the new railway. The line improved the economy of the area enormously, although it relied on Government support from the very beginning. Now the days of the great fish specials have gone and the principal ferries to the Outer Isles leave from Oban and Ullapool, but the railway continues to contribute to the local economy. Every year many thousands of people travel along it enjoying the spectacle of steam hauled trains, re introduced to the line in 1984, after an absence of 20 years, or simply to enjoy the many fine views it offers.

Top Recommended

You may be interested in


  • Lochailort Inn
    The Lochailort Inn, on 'The Road to the Isles', Lochailort, By Fort William., PH38 4LZ
    Beautiful Loch Ailort

    The Lochailort Inn is a small hotel & bar set amidst the stunning scenery of the West Coast of Scotland. Clean, comfortable accommodation, locally sourced, freshly made cuisine and friendly staff will ensure that you have a most relaxing stay. We like to pride ourselves on offering personal attention in a...

  • Old Pines Hotel and Restaurant
    Old Pines, Spean Bridge, PH34 4EG
    100_0054_img.jpg

    Old Pines is a restaurant with rooms at Spean which enjoys a particularly good setting just north of the village but within walking distance of the Commando Memorial. The views of Ben Nevis from Old Pines Restaurant are fabulous. We off a warm welcome to our cosy, bed and breakfast or...

  • Sleeps 14
    Camisky Lodge
    By Torlundy, PH33 6SP
    IMG_2910

    Camisky Lodge is a beautiful Victorian lodge near Torlundy, Fort William, set amidst the stunning Inverness-shire countryside on the banks of the River Lochy on the west coast of Scotland.Built in 1870 by Lord Abinger as the primary fishing lodge for the River Lochy, it was once host to the Prince of...

  • Number 81 Bed and Breakfast
    81 Alma Road, Fort William, PH33 6HF
    barbara_9.jpg

     Number 81:  Small, friendly bed and breakfast near Fort William Town Centre - quite near Bus and Railway Stations.Full Scottish Breakfast or Vegetarian available. Fort William is an ideal centre for walking and climbing being situated at the foot of Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain) and Glencoe is just fifteen...

  • Taransay Bed & Breakfast
    Taransay, Seafield Gardens, Fort William, PH33 6RJ
    family_room.jpg

    Taransay Bed and Breakfast is a quality, friendly B&B, rated 4 star by Visit Scotland. Our rooms consist of 2 singles (1 private bathroom 1 en-suite) 1 twin (en-suite) and 1 family / double room (en-suite). . We are situated in an elevated position, in a quiet cul-de-sac with spectacular views...

  • Snowgoose Apartments, The Smiddy Bunkhouse & Blacksmiths Hostel
    Snowgoose Apartments & The Smiddy Bunkhouse, Station Road, Corpach, Fort William, Highland, PH33 7JH
    PICT0054

     Snowgoose Apartments, The Smiddy Bunkhouse, Blacksmith’s Hostel at Snowgoose Mountain Centre offer an ideal base to independently explore the surrounding west coast of  Scotland in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.Take the opportunity to take part in our adventure activities, with our unique blend of landscape and a huge variety of outdoor...

  • Burntree House Bed & Breakfast
    Burntree House, Lochview Estate, Fort William, PH33 6UP
    100_7369.jpg

    Situated in an exclusive and peaceful residential area of Fort Wililam, Burntree House is the ideal base for your holiday in the Highlands. Nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis, yet within walking distance of Fort William town centre, the house commands exhilarating views of Loch Linnhe and the world famous...

  • Torbeag House - B & B near Ben Nevis
    Torbeag House, Muirshearlich, Fort William, PH337PB
    doublebed.jpg

    Torbeag House is just 4 miles from the Highland town of Fort William, (the Outdoor Capital of the UK), yet set in the peace and tranquility of the Great Glen, facing Ben Nevis Britain's highest mountain. Torbeag is a substantial family home offering 1st class ensuite bed and breakfast accommodation and...

  • Myrtlebank Guesthouse - Fort William accommodation
    Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RQ
    Myrtlebank Guesthouse.jpg

    This Victorian villa has superb views across Loch Linnhe yet is only 5 minutes walk from Fort William's shops, restaurants and bars. Our Fort William guesthouse is maintained to a very high standard offering an excellent choice of rooms from standard to large, ensuite rooms with loch or garden views, walk...

  • Great Glen Yurts - unique accommodation
    Torlundy Farm, Tomacharich, Fort William, PH33 6SP
    yurt_trees.jpg

    Great Glen Yurts is an eco yurt camp in a woodland riverside setting at the foot of Ben Nevis. Our hand painted authentic Mongolian yurts are set on a beautiful organic farm in the highlands of Scotland. Each yurt has unbelievably sensational views of the North Face of Ben Nevis and...

  • Hollybank Lochside Self Catering
    Hollybank , Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RP
    101_2081.jpg

    Luxury lochside holiday home just 30 metres from the shore of Loch Linnhe and set in its own ten acres of croft ground, the property has been completely refurbished and has three ensuite bedrooms all with window seats and loch views. The lounge has loch views and flat screen TV and...

  • Sleep 6
    Glen Nevis Holiday Caravans
    Glen Nevis Holidays Ltd, Glen Nevis, PH33 6SX
    Caravan-General-Ext-004-WEB

    Our Holiday Caravans have a fantastic location in Glen Nevis, at the foot of Ben Nevis, with stunning views to the surrounding mountains. We have three types of fully furnished holiday caravans, with wifi, offering 2-3 bedrooms and accommodating up to six people. We also offer a wheelchair friendly accessible caravan with...

  • Glencoe Highland Holidays - self catering chalets
    Beside lochside cottages, Ballachulish, Glencoe, PH494JP
    dalcirag_house_in_winter.jpg

    Fabulous 5 Star luxury detached self catering properties nestled on the edge of loch leven with wonderful views over the lochs to the mamore hills beyond, you simply won't wish to go home on your departure day. All properties are furnished to the very highest of standards , all have free...

  • Nevis Croft Self Catering Cottages
    Nevis Bridge, Glen Nevis, Fort William, PH33 6PF
    Cottage 1 Hall

    Late availability in 2 bedroom cottages: 28 April - 5 May.Short breaks often available - please call 07872943912 or email [email protected] Nevis Croft Cottages are situated near Nevis Bridge - just half a mile from Fort William town centre and at the entrance to the stunning Glen Nevis and at the original end of the...

  • Mill Cottage Self Catering
    Mill Cottage, Bunree, Fort William, PH33 6SE
    bunree3

    Mill Cottage is situated on the shores of Loch Linnhe adjacent to a large waterfall.Offering excellent self catering accommodation for up to 12 guests in 3 large double bedrooms and 2 twin rooms. Perfect for couples seeking privacy, or indeed large groups or families needing space. The river and waterfall give...

  • Minaig Bed & Breakfast
    Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RN
    da5w7949.jpg

    Minaig bed and breakfast offers a warm welcome and a comfortable room for your stay in Fort William. Our family home is a 15 minute stroll to the town centre with fine loch views all the way.We have two ensuite bedrooms with lots of home comforts. One has a great view...

  • Sleeps 10
    Great Glen Holidays - self catering lodges
    Torlundy farm, Tomacharich, Fort William, PH33 6SP
    img_0450.jpg

    Great Glen Holidays is a wonderful place to stay in one of our  comfortable self catering lodges on our working highland farm at Torlundy.  We enjoy a very quiet and relaxing location just outside Fort William as well as being the nearest self catering for Nevis Range skiing and great mountain biking....

  • Burnlea Cottage in Fort William
    Burnlea, Achintore Road, Fort William, PH33 6RN
    Burnlea Cottage view across Loch Linnhe

    With fantastic panoramic views over Loch Linnhe to the hills beyond, this stylish Fort William cottage is less than 1 mile from the shops, restaurants and pubs of Fort William town centre. Our cottage accommodation comprises 1 twin/super-king bedroom, kitchen/sitting room, shower room.Free WiFi /parking and guests have use of the...

  • Arisaig Hotel
    Arisaig, Inverness-shire, PH39 4NH
    da5w3009.jpg

    Located in the village of Arisaig by the sea and on the way to the Skye Ferry, and within walking distance from the train station, our nice hotel in Arisaig offers affordable B&B and tasty bar meals. With views out to sea over the bay, our family run hotel is a...

  • Sleeps 180
    Ben Nevis Hotel
    North Road, Fort William, PH33 6TG
    100_4943.jpg

    Nothing is overlooked - Except Ben Nevis Whether you are visiting on business or for some quality leisure time the hotel is an ideal base where you can be sure of a warm Scottish welcome. Situated at the foot of Ben Nevis in Fort WilliamThe Ben Nevis Hotel & Leisure Club...

Find rooms anywhere!