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TITLE
Highland Railways Affect Fuel Prices
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_JOHNTHOMAS_12
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
John Thomas
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
2075
KEYWORDS
Highland Railway
railways
transport
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 fuel supplies; both for the local area and for the railway. The recording was made on board a special excursion train to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1973.

The coal supplies for Kyle, well before the railway came, of course, they came in by boat, by puffer, from the Clyde usually; little vessels that carried only coal. But after that the railway brought in quite a lot of the coal needed in the Kyle and other areas. The same thing applied to Mallaig. The result was that the price of coal fell below the price of peat. I don't know whether this applied to Kyle, it certainly did in Mallaig. The previous - before the railway came the price of coal was really prohibitive and peat was the main fuel used but with the coming of the railway down went the price of coal to less than the price of peat.

The only example of wood being used in British locomotives occurred in the Callander and Oban Railway in 1921 and this was an emergency expedient; it was during the coal strike of that year. The wood was local timber, it was cut along the railway line and it was stacked at intervals. Well, the engines functioned well enough in that they steamed almost as well as they steamed on coal, but the trouble was they had to stop every so often to load the tender up with wood fuel; it burned away so quickly that it just proved to be quite impracticable. It was all right to get the railway company over a difficult three-week or four-week period but it would never have served in normal operating circumstances.

Peat was used as long ago as 1831 in the engines of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway. This railway passed over a bed of peat and the directors thought they would economise by trying it out but it wasn't a great success. Ireland tried out peat burners, in fact they brought the peat-burning locomotive to probably the highest peak of perfection of any of the peat-burning experimental engines, but even so the result was not really satisfactory

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Highland Railways Affect Fuel Prices

ROSS

1980s; 1990s

Highland Railway; railways; transport; 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 fuel supplies; both for the local area and for the railway. The recording was made on board a special excursion train to Kyle of Lochalsh in 1973.<br /> <br /> The coal supplies for Kyle, well before the railway came, of course, they came in by boat, by puffer, from the Clyde usually; little vessels that carried only coal. But after that the railway brought in quite a lot of the coal needed in the Kyle and other areas. The same thing applied to Mallaig. The result was that the price of coal fell below the price of peat. I don't know whether this applied to Kyle, it certainly did in Mallaig. The previous - before the railway came the price of coal was really prohibitive and peat was the main fuel used but with the coming of the railway down went the price of coal to less than the price of peat.<br /> <br /> The only example of wood being used in British locomotives occurred in the Callander and Oban Railway in 1921 and this was an emergency expedient; it was during the coal strike of that year. The wood was local timber, it was cut along the railway line and it was stacked at intervals. Well, the engines functioned well enough in that they steamed almost as well as they steamed on coal, but the trouble was they had to stop every so often to load the tender up with wood fuel; it burned away so quickly that it just proved to be quite impracticable. It was all right to get the railway company over a difficult three-week or four-week period but it would never have served in normal operating circumstances. <br /> <br /> Peat was used as long ago as 1831 in the engines of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway. This railway passed over a bed of peat and the directors thought they would economise by trying it out but it wasn't a great success. Ireland tried out peat burners, in fact they brought the peat-burning locomotive to probably the highest peak of perfection of any of the peat-burning experimental engines, but even so the result was not really satisfactory