Glenfinnan Station, its chalet-style design attributed to the prominent and prolific Scottish architect James Miller (1860–1947). Grade B listed, Glenfinnan Station is on the West Highland Railway's extension line from Fort William to Mallaig. The West Highland line, linking Glasgow and Fort William on the west coast of Scotland, was authorised by Parliament in 1889, and construction started in the October of that year. The branch line to Mallaig was authorised in 1894, and opened on 1 April 1901 — it was on this day, therefore, that Glenfinnan Station formally opened. The West Highland line was later (in December 1908) taken over by the North British Railway, which in turn was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923.

Left to right: (a) The station entrance. (b) "The Jacobite" preparing for its return journey to Fort William. (c) The locomotive's own name on the side.

The station building and facilities have been repaired, restored and upgraded in recent years, and the station interior now functions as a small railway musuem. Chris Townsend has described the station as "secretive" (317) because it lies in a cutting. But it is a popular stop on the heritage steam rail service, which runs back and forth every summer between Fort William, the largest town in the Highlands, and the harbour at Mallaig — a round-trip of 82 miles. This "Jacobite Steam Train" service utilises four locomotives, the one shown above being the 45407 Lancashire Fusilier LMS Class 5MT 4-6-0, designed by William A. Stanier (1876-1965), who became the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. It was built by Armstrong Whitworth of Newcastle in 1937.

Looking inside the driver's cab

The Lancashire Fusilier is based at Bury, Lancashire. A "stalwart of northern charter trains for over a decade," it "has taken charge of The Jacobite for many years" ("West Coast Railways"). According to Stanier's obituary in the Engineer, "It was said of the class-5 engines that there was never a locomotive so universally acclaimed" (qtd. in "William Stanier").

The railway service through Glenfinnan still functions for regular passenger traffic, with more recent rolling stock, all the year round. The station has two platforms, with a crossing loop and sidings, as well as its original signal box. Small and remote as it is, the station finds a place in Simon Jenkins's Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations (2017).

First photograph © Andrew Abbott, originally posted on the Geograph website, and generously licensed for reuse on the Creative Commons Licence. Remaining photographs, commentary and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or to the Victorian Web in a print document.

Related Material


"Basic Biographical Details: James Miller." Dictionary of Scottish Architects (DSA). Web. 15 October 2017.

Jenkins, Simon. Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations. London: Penguin, 2017.

Townsend, Chris. World Mountain Ranges: Scotland. Milnthorpe, Cumbria: Cicerone, 2010.

"West Coast Railways Presents 'The Jacobite' Famous Steam Train." West Coast Railways. Web. 15 October 2017.

"West Highland Railway." Grace's Guide. Web. 15 October 2017.

"William Stanier." Grace's Guide. Web. 15 October 2017.

Created 15 October 2017