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TITLE
Transporting Fish, Dingwall & Skye Railway
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_JOHNTHOMAS_05
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
John Thomas
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2066
KEYWORDS
Highland Railway
railways
transport
herring
audio

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The Dingwall and Skye Railway was opened in 1870 but only went as far as Strome Ferry on Loch Carron. It would be another twenty-seven years before the railway reached the terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. In this audio extract, John Thomas (1914-1982), one of Britain's leading railway historians, talks about the transportation of fish on the line. The recording was made on board a special excursion train to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1973.

The great attraction of the west coast was the fishing ground. The fisheries' district, of which Strome Ferry was the rail head, had more than 2,000 fishing boats and 16,000 men were employed in the fishing industry, so you can see how important it was. The fish, when caught and landed at Strome, was sent to London. Very little was consigned to Scottish destinations. London paid the big prices and this meant that the fish had to be got to London as quickly as possible. Usually the fish train had to arrive in London not later than 3 a.m. of the day that the fish was sold and this meant very careful handling on this line and right down through the rest of Scotland and England to ensure that the fish arrived in London fresh. If it missed the morning market, the price of the fish deteriorated by half. The intention was not only to transport fish but surprisingly, fishing vessels. The Dingwall and Skye Company went so far as to order two special boat cranes and these were ordered from Cowans Sheldon, in Carlisle - specialists in cranes. And the idea was to lift fishing boats out of the water at Dingwall and transport them across the county by rail, and put them into the water again at Kyle. And, of course, vice versa. In other words, the railway was planned to partly usurp the function of the Caledonian Canal. The engineer was told to slope the embankments to ensure that the sixteen-foot fishing vessels, when mounted on railway trucks, would not foul the embankments. However, this scheme fell through for lack of money

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Transporting Fish, Dingwall & Skye Railway

ROSS

1980s; 1990s

Highland Railway; railways; transport; herring; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Dingwall & Skye Railway

The Dingwall and Skye Railway was opened in 1870 but only went as far as Strome Ferry on Loch Carron. It would be another twenty-seven years before the railway reached the terminus at Kyle of Lochalsh. In this audio extract, John Thomas (1914-1982), one of Britain's leading railway historians, talks about the transportation of fish on the line. The recording was made on board a special excursion train to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1973.<br /> <br /> The great attraction of the west coast was the fishing ground. The fisheries' district, of which Strome Ferry was the rail head, had more than 2,000 fishing boats and 16,000 men were employed in the fishing industry, so you can see how important it was. The fish, when caught and landed at Strome, was sent to London. Very little was consigned to Scottish destinations. London paid the big prices and this meant that the fish had to be got to London as quickly as possible. Usually the fish train had to arrive in London not later than 3 a.m. of the day that the fish was sold and this meant very careful handling on this line and right down through the rest of Scotland and England to ensure that the fish arrived in London fresh. If it missed the morning market, the price of the fish deteriorated by half. The intention was not only to transport fish but surprisingly, fishing vessels. The Dingwall and Skye Company went so far as to order two special boat cranes and these were ordered from Cowans Sheldon, in Carlisle - specialists in cranes. And the idea was to lift fishing boats out of the water at Dingwall and transport them across the county by rail, and put them into the water again at Kyle. And, of course, vice versa. In other words, the railway was planned to partly usurp the function of the Caledonian Canal. The engineer was told to slope the embankments to ensure that the sixteen-foot fishing vessels, when mounted on railway trucks, would not foul the embankments. However, this scheme fell through for lack of money