There are eight station members of the Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership. Of these, six are within the Cairngorms National Park and two are in Highland Perthshire. All are gateways to stunning scenery and are close to outstanding visitor attractions.
When the line first opened in 1863 as the Inverness & Perth Junction Railway, it was praised for its remarkable engineering and scenery, and was featured in The Illustrated London News. The Pass of Killiecrankie, with its viaduct and tunnel beside the gorge of the River Garry, was especially praised. A notable achievement was surmounting Druimuachdar Pass, at 1484 feet the highest point on a British main line. The handsome lattice girder bridges crossing streams on the Atholl estates and the Divie viaduct on the way to Forres were also noted.
In 1865 the Highland Railway Company, based in Inverness, took over the line, which was supplemented in 1898 by the ‘Direct Route’ over Slochd Summit (1,315feet) from Aviemore to Inverness. The Aultnaslanach viaduct, the only surviving timber structure on a main line today, is on this route. Since 2002, Network Rail has been responsible for the infrastructure on this exposed and testing railway.
Dr Ann Glen - Highland Rail Heritage
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