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TITLE
Former signalman Donald 'Box' MacLean, 1997
EXTERNAL ID
NRM_NBNW_KL_DS080563
PLACENAME
Achnasheen
DISTRICT
Muir of Ord
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Contin
DATE OF IMAGE
June 1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Chris Hogg
SOURCE
National Railway Museum, York
ASSET ID
20049
KEYWORDS
railway
railways
stations
Former signalman Donald 'Box' MacLean, 1997

Retired signalman Donald 'Box' MacLean photographed in June 1997 standing on the footbridge at Achnasheen station where he worked as the signalman after serving 41 years on the railway.

Like most stations on the Highland Railway, Achnasheen was provided with two signal boxes (one at each end of the passing loop) but those at Achnasheen were not at opposite ends of the station. Achnasheen West was nearest the platform and controlled the station area and the west end of the long passing loop. At the other end of the loop was Achnasheen East which was further from the station than Achnasheen West. Although of identical design, the boxes were different sizes to reflect the size of lever frames they contained. In accordance with Highland Railway practice, neither box was manned in the conventional sense, being worked more in the manner of a ground frame. Both boxes were functional with unpolished levers, bare boards and a distinct lack of furniture. The signalling instruments were in the Booking Office, along with a two lever frame slotting the starting signals onto the single line in each direction. The signaller only visited the boxes in order to set the points and clear the signals. The signal boxes were to McKenzie & Holland post 1875 design, the company was providing signalling for the line as late as 1894, but with the individual feature of the Highland Railway with battened boarding. The boxes at Achnasheen were closed in 1984 when Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) signalling was introduced on the line and controlled from the signal box at Inverness.

Built by the Dingwall & Skye Railway Company, the station was opened in 1870. It is one of the original stations on the Kyle line along with the stations at Grave and Strathcarron. The company also built Achnasheen Hotel next to the eastbound platform but the building was destroyed by fire in 1996. It is now demolished. The station opened with refreshment rooms which were located in the hotel. The style of the station building is similar to those at Grave and Strathcarron. The station has a passing loop and was designed to allow space for train-mounted fishing boats to pass each other. Today, it is one of the few passing loops on the Kyle line that is primarily a single track railway.

Background
Over one hundred years ago, two of the most picturesque railways in the world, the Kyle line and the Far North line, were built. Linking them to the rest of the UK rail network is the Highland main line. From 1997 to 2003 the National Railway Museum photographed these three lines, and from the images three exhibitions were created - 'Connection to the Kyle', 'By Firth and Flow' and 'The Highland Link'. The exhibitions were hosted on the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) under the digital exhibition 'North by Northwest' which officially launched the National Archive of Scotland site on 5 June 2001 in Inverness. The collaboration with SCAN lasted until 2009 when 'North by Northwest' was transferred to the Am Baile website.

'North by Northwest' documents living history and records a snapshot of time in the lives of the people and the lines during the closing years of the twentieth century and the emergence of the twenty-first century. The exhibitions celebrated the impact of the Highland railways on the people, landscape and economy of the Scottish Highlands.

We acknowledge support from the following sponsors who funded the photographic survey of the Highland main line, the Kyle and the Far North lines by the National Railway Museum photographers between 1997 and 2003:

Railtrack, Railtrack-Scotland, ScotRail, EWS, Porterbrook, First Engineering, The Highland Rail Network Development Partnership, The Highland Council, Ross & Cromarty Enterprise, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, Safeways, Friends of the National Railway Museum, Perth & Kinross Council, and the Highland Railway Society.

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High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
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Former signalman Donald 'Box' MacLean, 1997

ROSS: Contin

1990s

railway; railways; stations

National Railway Museum, York

North by Northwest - The Kyle Line

Retired signalman Donald 'Box' MacLean photographed in June 1997 standing on the footbridge at Achnasheen station where he worked as the signalman after serving 41 years on the railway.<br /> <br /> Like most stations on the Highland Railway, Achnasheen was provided with two signal boxes (one at each end of the passing loop) but those at Achnasheen were not at opposite ends of the station. Achnasheen West was nearest the platform and controlled the station area and the west end of the long passing loop. At the other end of the loop was Achnasheen East which was further from the station than Achnasheen West. Although of identical design, the boxes were different sizes to reflect the size of lever frames they contained. In accordance with Highland Railway practice, neither box was manned in the conventional sense, being worked more in the manner of a ground frame. Both boxes were functional with unpolished levers, bare boards and a distinct lack of furniture. The signalling instruments were in the Booking Office, along with a two lever frame slotting the starting signals onto the single line in each direction. The signaller only visited the boxes in order to set the points and clear the signals. The signal boxes were to McKenzie & Holland post 1875 design, the company was providing signalling for the line as late as 1894, but with the individual feature of the Highland Railway with battened boarding. The boxes at Achnasheen were closed in 1984 when Radio Electronic Token Block (RETB) signalling was introduced on the line and controlled from the signal box at Inverness.<br /> <br /> Built by the Dingwall & Skye Railway Company, the station was opened in 1870. It is one of the original stations on the Kyle line along with the stations at Grave and Strathcarron. The company also built Achnasheen Hotel next to the eastbound platform but the building was destroyed by fire in 1996. It is now demolished. The station opened with refreshment rooms which were located in the hotel. The style of the station building is similar to those at Grave and Strathcarron. The station has a passing loop and was designed to allow space for train-mounted fishing boats to pass each other. Today, it is one of the few passing loops on the Kyle line that is primarily a single track railway. <br /> <br /> Background<br /> Over one hundred years ago, two of the most picturesque railways in the world, the Kyle line and the Far North line, were built. Linking them to the rest of the UK rail network is the Highland main line. From 1997 to 2003 the National Railway Museum photographed these three lines, and from the images three exhibitions were created - 'Connection to the Kyle', 'By Firth and Flow' and 'The Highland Link'. The exhibitions were hosted on the Scottish Archive Network (SCAN) under the digital exhibition 'North by Northwest' which officially launched the National Archive of Scotland site on 5 June 2001 in Inverness. The collaboration with SCAN lasted until 2009 when 'North by Northwest' was transferred to the Am Baile website.<br /> <br /> 'North by Northwest' documents living history and records a snapshot of time in the lives of the people and the lines during the closing years of the twentieth century and the emergence of the twenty-first century. The exhibitions celebrated the impact of the Highland railways on the people, landscape and economy of the Scottish Highlands.<br /> <br /> We acknowledge support from the following sponsors who funded the photographic survey of the Highland main line, the Kyle and the Far North lines by the National Railway Museum photographers between 1997 and 2003:<br /> <br /> Railtrack, Railtrack-Scotland, ScotRail, EWS, Porterbrook, First Engineering, The Highland Rail Network Development Partnership, The Highland Council, Ross & Cromarty Enterprise, Caithness & Sutherland Enterprise, Safeways, Friends of the National Railway Museum, Perth & Kinross Council, and the Highland Railway Society.