Stornoway Waterworks Railway

Location: Stornoway, Isle of Lewis

Opened: 1935

Closed: 1960s

Gauge: 2′

Length: 1.5 miles

Locomotives:

1 ex- War Department 20hp Simplex – left derelict on course of route near the reservoir.

Bow Framed 20hp Simplex left to rot on the route of the line. Image © Gordon Edgar

Bow Framed 20hp Simplex left to rot on the route of the line. Image © Gordon Edgar

Rolling Stock:

9x 1 cubic yard Du Croo & Brauns skip wagons

When the Simplex had it’s petrol engine removed in 1943 it was used as hand pushed flat wagon (shown in the photos above) until the line shut in the 1960s.

Details:

The line was originally built to aid in the construction of a dam to supply drinking water to Stornoway during the 1930s.  G. Mackay & Son of Edinburgh were the contractors appointed to  build the dam, upon completion of the project they left behind their locomotive, a 20hp ex-War Department Simplex.

This became the only loco operated by the Stornoway Water Works, and survived in operation until the 1940.  In 1943 it had it’s petrol engine removed and was in use as a flat wagon being pushed along the route by hand.

It is not known what happened to the skip wagons used on the route.  Rails were visible in the 1990s, and may still be today in places along the route.

The Waterworks terminus with rails still evident in May 1992. Image © Bill Roberton

The trackbed in 1992. Image © Bill Roberton

The "up" end of the waterworks end of the line in 1992. Image © Bill Roberton

Trackwork remaining at the site in 1992. Image © Bill Roberton

Bibliography:

Scotland’s Island Railways – James Cameron

http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/islandblogging/blogs/005132/0000008950.shtml

http://www.flickr.com/photos/12a_kingmoor_klickr/6012868794/

http://www.railbrit.co.uk/imageenlarge/imagecomplete.php?id=35600

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8 Responses to Stornoway Waterworks Railway

  1. Guido says:

    Not many railways were ever constructed in the Outer Hebrides, and it was even less known that any were. I have added location comments on the Flickr-page linked to.

  2. Tom says:

    Quite true, Guido, there were more than a lot of people realise. It’s a much longer list than I thought it was, I have quite a few pages that need creating to catch up with the list I’ve got!

  3. Kevan says:

    Excellent Tom and thanks. Wish I had known about it before as I have holidayed on Lewis several times,
    Kevan

  4. Neil Mackenzie says:

    I remember walking this line with my dad when I was a kid. Amazing that it’s still there under the moss after all those decades!

    Neil

    • Tom says:

      As far as I’m aware it’s still there, the photos were taken a while ago, but presumably the rails have survived the recent purge on any form of scrap metal lying around…

  5. Neil Mackenzie says:

    Yeh – peat is so soft – things gradually sink into it and there would be a lot of heather-roots tangled in with the track. I doubt it if would ever be worth salvaging for scrap value.

  6. Wow, wish I’d known about this when I lived there 1976-78 and 1980-82. Two stints at the RAF base.

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