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TITLE
Kyle of Lochalsh harbourmaster, John Macrea, 1997
EXTERNAL ID
NRM_NBNW_KL_DS080583
PLACENAME
Kyle of Lochalsh
DISTRICT
South West Ross
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Lochalsh
DATE OF IMAGE
1 August 1997
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Lynn Patrick
SOURCE
National Railway Museum, York
ASSET ID
20068
KEYWORDS
railway
railways
harbours
Kyle of Lochalsh harbourmaster, John Macrea, 1997

Kyle of Lochalsh harbourmaster, John Macrea, was photographed in August 1997.

Kyle harbour is a major port for the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. There are piers for the Navy and its support craft, for large fishing boats and small cruise ships, for yachts and pleasure craft, and also a seasonal floating pontoon pier for smaller crafts and the tourist boat trips operating locally.

This is where the Kyle line ends. The station site itself was blasted out of the rock to bring it down to sea level. With the construction of the massive piers it could handle passengers and cargo ships whatever the state of the tide. The access ramp built through the centre of the pier allowed livestock to be herded onto ships. It also eased the handling of cargo between ship and shore. This vital transportation connection between the only land route to the east coast and the major west coast shipping lane was a critical factor in the development of Kyle harbour. The village of Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye is across the sea at the foot of the mountain, Beinn na Callaidh. It was between Kyleakin port slipway and the jetty in Kyle that the ferry sailed. Sailings ceased with the opening of the Skye Bridge on 16 October 1995. The slipways once used by the car, today provide launching facilities for leisure and cargo landing craft.

The railway line itself was inaugurated in 1897. When the motor car became the de facto mode of transport in the UK, the rise of road haulage for freight and cattle transportation greatly reduced the reliance on railway and maritime transport systems. Traffic along both the Kyle line and Far North line fell dramatically to the point where the railway management decided that the viability of the lines should be studied. Dr Beeching marked the line for closure in 1963 but the line was reprieved. In 1970 the line was again destined to close but again the decision was overturned in 1974. Both the Kyle and Far North lines saw increased rail traffic during the oil boom. Today, they form one of the lifelines to remote communities and are a popular tourist attraction.

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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Kyle of Lochalsh harbourmaster, John Macrea, 1997

ROSS: Lochalsh

1990s

railway; railways; harbours

National Railway Museum, York

North by Northwest - The Kyle Line

Kyle of Lochalsh harbourmaster, John Macrea, was photographed in August 1997.<br /> <br /> Kyle harbour is a major port for the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. There are piers for the Navy and its support craft, for large fishing boats and small cruise ships, for yachts and pleasure craft, and also a seasonal floating pontoon pier for smaller crafts and the tourist boat trips operating locally. <br /> <br /> This is where the Kyle line ends. The station site itself was blasted out of the rock to bring it down to sea level. With the construction of the massive piers it could handle passengers and cargo ships whatever the state of the tide. The access ramp built through the centre of the pier allowed livestock to be herded onto ships. It also eased the handling of cargo between ship and shore. This vital transportation connection between the only land route to the east coast and the major west coast shipping lane was a critical factor in the development of Kyle harbour. The village of Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye is across the sea at the foot of the mountain, Beinn na Callaidh. It was between Kyleakin port slipway and the jetty in Kyle that the ferry sailed. Sailings ceased with the opening of the Skye Bridge on 16 October 1995. The slipways once used by the car, today provide launching facilities for leisure and cargo landing craft.<br /> <br /> The railway line itself was inaugurated in 1897. When the motor car became the de facto mode of transport in the UK, the rise of road haulage for freight and cattle transportation greatly reduced the reliance on railway and maritime transport systems. Traffic along both the Kyle line and Far North line fell dramatically to the point where the railway management decided that the viability of the lines should be studied. Dr Beeching marked the line for closure in 1963 but the line was reprieved. In 1970 the line was again destined to close but again the decision was overturned in 1974. Both the Kyle and Far North lines saw increased rail traffic during the oil boom. Today, they form one of the lifelines to remote communities and are a popular tourist attraction.<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.