Members of The Highland Railway Society were recently welcomed to The Highland Archive and Registration Centre in Inverness where they held their annual general meeting on 4 September.
Some 35 members of the Railway Society enjoyed an entertaining and informative day which was hosted by the Council’s Highland Archive Service.
Two speakers, Dr John McGregor of The Open University, and Mr Keith Fenwick of the Society gave very interesting, illustrated talks entitled “Trouble in the Glen” and “Lost Stations of the Far North”, respectively.
Dr McGregor’s talk concerned the machinations which took place between railway companies competing to build the Invergarry to Fort Augustus Railway which opened in 1903.
An equally interesting talk by Mr Fenwick, addressed with the economic issues affecting the railway lines north of Perth from the 1920s to the present day.
Staff from The Highland Archive Service put out a display of documents of interest to members of the Society including the diary of William Smith, Assistant Engineer of the Highland Railway, from April 1880 to January 1905, and a plan of the station “The Mound” dated January 1903.
Janet Baker, Highland Council’s Education and Outreach Co-ordinator said: “This is an excellent example of how the Council can work with the local community to get the best out of our state of the art facility. We were delighted that the Highland Railway Society held their AGM at the Highland Archives and it gave us the opportunity to share and air some of the interesting records that are held in the archives relating to railways.”
Ray Nolton, Honorary Chairman of the Highland Railway Society said: “The Highland Railway Society has had a close relationship with the Highland Archive for several years, to aid us with the professional storage and conservation of our artefacts and documents, and also to make them available to a wider audience, mainly through the Am Baile project.
He added: “We were very pleased to be able to take advantage of the superb new Archive Centre in Inverness for our 2010 "Annual Gathering" incorporating our Annual General Meeting. Some 35 members from all over the UK converged on the Centre to take part in the AGM, as well as hearing lectures on British Railway's closure programme for stations on the Far North Line (those railways to the North of Inverness) in the early 1960's and on the abortive plans of the short lived Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway to reach Inverness through the Great Glen which was strongly and successfully opposed by the Highland Railway.
“On the Sunday, members took part in a tour of some of the existing relics of the Highland Railway infrastructure, including Redcastle Station on the long closed Black Isle Branch, and various sites on the old Dornoch Light Railway, finishing with a visit to the excellent HistoryLinks Museum in Dornoch.”
The Highland Railway Society exists to serve peoples’ interests in all aspects of the northern mainland railway, including its predecessors and successors. Unique in many ways, the Highland Railway has a fascinating history of interest to modellers, researchers or people with a general interest in the line. The Society offers a significant resource to the enthusiast, with around 370 members worldwide it publishes a quarterly journal with a wide variety of articles relating to the railway as well as providing a wide range of research information, drawings, archives and modelling components.