Oban Branch

(Oban Branch of the West Highland Line, Callander & Oban Railway)

Diverging from the West Highland Line at Crianlarich, the Oban Branch actually precedes it in age, having been constructed as the western section of the former Callander & Oban Railway, which opened between 1873 and 1880. The Branch extends for 42 miles (67.5 km) through Strath Fillan (parallel to the Fort William branch but on the opposite side of the valley) to reach Tyndrum Lower Railway Station. Here the Oban Branch turns west, through Glen Lochy to Dalmally, around the head of Loch Awe, and through the Pass of Brander to reach Taynuilt. The line then makes its way along the southern shore of Loch Etive to Connel, and finally southwest to Oban, which it enters via a circuitous route from the south. ScotRail operate six return diesel-powered passenger services between Glasgow Queen Street and Oban every day, and occasional freight services also use this route.

The Callander and Oban Line was owned by the North British Railway, which was a fierce competitor of the Caledonian Railway that had built the West Highland Line. There was excess capacity between the two and rationalisation was probably inevitable. Following nationalisation and a rock-fall in Glen Ogle the eastern part of the line closed in 1965. There was once a branch from Connel to Ballachulish, which opened in 1903, crossing the Connel Bridge and then the Creagan Bridge. This branch closed in 1966 and both bridges were converted to carry roads.

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