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TITLE
Three Highland Railway engines being dug out of a snowdrift
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_1999_116_XI_10
PLACENAME
unidentified
DATE OF IMAGE
February 1895
SOURCE
Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)
ASSET ID
11502
KEYWORDS
Highland Railway
steam trains
snow blocks
snowdrifts
snow ploughs
highland winters
snow
Three Highland Railway engines being dug out of a snowdrift

Three Highland Railway engines being dug out of a snowdrift between Altnabreac in Caithness, and Forsinard in Sutherland. The engine at the front of the photograph is a Barclay 2-4-0 (No. 43). The man on the telegraph pole in the background will have connected a phonophore (a communication device) to the line. Being able to connect phonophores with telegraph wires in remote areas allowed railway staff to communicate with control via nearby stations. Earlier a telegraph instrument would have been used. For a time in 1881 the Highland Railway control office, issuing crossing orders for the line between Perth and a bad drift south of Dava, was transferred to a snowed up train.

During severe winters, as many as three engines could be joined together, coupled with a choice of three different sizes of snow plough, to clear the blocks. Lines had to be protected from snow drifts by building snow fences, quite often made from old sleepers. In later years,the snow fences were replaced by snow blowers, designed to use the wind to keep the lines clear. Snow blocks on the line have decreased since the 1900s due to a combination of experience in dealing with severe conditions and milder highland winters


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Three Highland Railway engines being dug out of a snowdrift

Highland Railway; steam trains; snow blocks; snowdrifts; snow ploughs; highland winters; snow

Highland Photographic Archive (IMAG)

Joseph Cook Collection

Three Highland Railway engines being dug out of a snowdrift between Altnabreac in Caithness, and Forsinard in Sutherland. The engine at the front of the photograph is a Barclay 2-4-0 (No. 43). The man on the telegraph pole in the background will have connected a phonophore (a communication device) to the line. Being able to connect phonophores with telegraph wires in remote areas allowed railway staff to communicate with control via nearby stations. Earlier a telegraph instrument would have been used. For a time in 1881 the Highland Railway control office, issuing crossing orders for the line between Perth and a bad drift south of Dava, was transferred to a snowed up train. <br /> <br /> During severe winters, as many as three engines could be joined together, coupled with a choice of three different sizes of snow plough, to clear the blocks. Lines had to be protected from snow drifts by building snow fences, quite often made from old sleepers. In later years,the snow fences were replaced by snow blowers, designed to use the wind to keep the lines clear. Snow blocks on the line have decreased since the 1900s due to a combination of experience in dealing with severe conditions and milder highland winters <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email the<br /> <a href="mailto: photographic.archive@highlifehighland.com">Highland Photographic Archive</a> quoting the External ID.