Ardgay station, photographed in November 1997.
The station opened on 1 October 1864 and was known as Bonar Bridge; it was renamed Ardgay on 2 May 1977. It was the northern terminus of the Inverness & Ross-shire Railway, the construction of which began in 1860. The line was the first stage of a railway link to the north of Scotland, now known as the Far North line. By 1868, the Inverness & Ross-shire Railway had been connected to the Sutherland Railway, taking the rail link as far north as Golspie. In 1871 the line was connected to the 3rd Duke of Sutherland's railway, extending it to Helmsdale. The rail link from Inverness to the far north was completed in 1874 when the Sutherland & Caithness Railway opened between Helmsdale and Wick and Thurso.
Today, the station has two passing loops and a disused goods yard with sidings. The original station building still stands. Both the signal boxes 'Ardgay North' and 'Ardgay South' were demolished.
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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