Location: Kinlochleven, Highlands.
Length: 1660 yards (double line, approximately 4.5miles of track in total).
Locos: Two batches of 4 wheeled overhead electric stock. Locos 1 and 2 were ordered from Dick Kerr of Preston in 1908 and numbers 3 and 4 from Metropolitan Vickers in 1947. Each loco had two 35hp electric motors.
There were also three travelling cranes, the first two built by Stothery & Pitt in 1908, and the other by Carrick & Ritchie in 1916.
Rolling Stock: all 4 wheeled, a mix of v-tipper and flat wagons.
Other Details: Electric propulsion via catenary using 3/4″wire, steepest gradient: 1:100, sharpest curve: 50′ radius, rail: flat bottom 65lb. Electricity was generated from the site’s own power plant.
Details: The line was built by Sir Robert Macalpine for the British Aluminium Company to serve it’s aluminium smelteing plant and power station on the shore of Loch Leven. Kinlochleven was cut off from the mainline rail network, and wasn’t connected to anywhere by road until the 1920s when German prisoners of war were employed to build a road connecting Kinlochleven to the present day A82.
In 1907 British Aluminium opened the railway to tranship materials from the quay to the smelter and power station to assist with the production of aluminium. Output from the plant was taken down to the quay for loading into ships and transporting further afield. The overhead catenary provided propulsion for the locos, the aluminium plant, and had enough surplus to power the village. The line closed in 1960, and at some point in recent years has been the subject of a proposed revival in the form of a steam railway. Unfortunately no details are available on this scheme at the time of writing.
Photos of the route in the present day courtesy of Alasdair MacCaluim.
Further photos can be found in:
‘Lost Lines – Narrow Gauge’
January 1958 ‘Railway Magazine’
Sept 1958 ‘Railway Magazine’
‘Railway Bylines’ Vol 8 Issue 2
The following clip is part of a DVD entitled ‘British Railways Volume 5 – British Narrow Gauge Miscellany’. If the youtube video does not load at the correct position, scan forward to 57 minutes and 14 seconds.
http://www.kinlochsteam.co.uk/ – proposed steam powered revival of the line that failed to take off, no website present, but perhaps there will be one day!