Skye Marble Railway

Location: Kilchrist – Broadford, Isle of Skye

Opened: 1908

Closed: 1913

Gauge: 3′

Length: 4 miles

Locos: ‘Skylark’ a Hunslet 0-4-0ST of 1892. Previously used in construction of the County Donegal Railway and various contractors projects. Scrapped in 1925 after two more contractor owners following its stint on Skye.

Contractor H.K. Murray used a steam loco to build the line, it has not been possible to identify this at present.

Rolling stock: Wooden framed tipper wagons, allegedly used on the Ord Quarry line upon closure.

Photos:

The route from the quarries is now a very enjoyable walk from Kilchrist to Broadford.

I challenge anyone to find a waste tip with a better view than this. The upper workings of Kilchrist quarry are at the top of a short incline.

In the upper quarries some of the buildings remain nestled into more sheltered areas.

The wagon turntable at the top of the incline, from here the line split – one limb to the upper crusher, the other to some workings.

View up the incline from the level of the lower workings.

The crusher on the lower level, adjacent to the site of some earlier workings and some waste tips.

Looking up the line. The line on the left leads to the base of the incline, and thence the upper workings, the line on the right to the old workings and the crusher.

A relatively steeply graded line then drops down to meet the ‘main line’ from Kilchrist Works to Broaford.

The remains of Kilchrist Works are now used as a farm yard store. Much evidence of the railway remains, however. The line to the upper workings is on the hillside in the background.

The loading and unloading platform at Kilchrist Works.

Trackbed leading away from Kilchrist Works. The junction with the upper works railway is in the middle distace.

The trackbed then snakes along the hillside parallel to the road to Torrin and Elgol on its way down to Broadford.

Much of the route is through very attractive open moorland.

Gradually the line drops down the hillside to a similar level to the road. The next section after this is not walkable as it’s private land and has been fenced off.

Along the unwalkable section of line there is some rail in use as fencing.

The old railway bridge across the river at Broadford has now been recreated, although not on the same alignment as the old one. The yellow brick abutment on the far side of the channel is original, and remnants of two old piers can be seen at low tide – in the immediate foreground and middle distance.

The original yellow brick abutment.

The new bridge skewing off to the right. The original route headed for the large deciduous tree on the left, you can see the remains of a pier next to the waterline.

Continuing along from the bridge you walk along a shelf next to the coastline.

More of the coastal shelf.

Further along the route more remains of the old railway can be seen in use as a fence.

Approaching the pier at Broadford.

The line then ran down MacKinnon’s pier. Rails used to be visible here in the 1980s, now they can only be seen at the end of the pier.

The final sections of visible rail at the end of MacKinnon’s pier.

 

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2 Responses to Skye Marble Railway

  1. Wm. D.McMillan says:

    I am just back from a visit to Skye and was looking for information on the old line.My grandfather arrived in Skye from Inverurie to drive the engine in 1907 and left in1913 for Glasgow .My mother was months old on the first leg of the journey ,my uncle was also a babe in arms on the second leg of the journey and who would have another uncle was buried in the Old Cimitary aged 17 days old.I have all the revelient paper work. My main interest is the logistics of the moving from one place to another at that time.Hoping that someone can help in this matter

    • Tom says:

      Hi, sorry for the slow reply, I’ve only just noticed your comment. That is really interesting! Do you have any details of your grandfather’s time driving on Skye?

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