High Speed 2 (and HS3?)

On a recent blog post on the Arnish Lighthouse blog, the confusion between the High Speed 2 rail link (HS2) from London to Manchester and the Lewis post code was noted and a proposed HS2 train line described for Lewis.  However, this isn;t the first time the idea had been exp0lored, with Lord Leverhume having looked at this in the 20s!

The Tasglann recently acquired an estate map  relating Garynahine showing its fishing rights.  The map covers the whole of North Harris and Lewis and it backed onto fabric.

Coloured section of an OS map showing the fishing rights across the Garynahine EstateCloser inspection of the map though shows a pencilled route that flows around the island.  On closer inspection, this is a surveyed train line for Lewis and it follows much the same route as the blog post above talks about.

Starting in Stornoway, the first landmark is Laxdale junction.  From here, a branch heads off down to Balallan and Aline, another across the moor to Barvas and a side spur to Back, Tolsta and then across the moor to Ness.  That line would have been a beautiful route in good weather!

Image showing Laxdale Junction with the trainline coming from Stornoway splitting with a branchline to Barvas and Aline and another to Tolsta and Ness

In the image below, you can see the trainline coming in from the south to a proposed Ness station at Adabrock.  I’m sure there are many Nischochd’s who’d love to travel by train into Stornoway!

Image showing proposed train line passing through Ness

The route continued down the west side, passing on the east side of the main road, often at some distance from it, cutting across the grazings as shown here near Borve.

Image showing proposed train line passing by Airidhantuim and Shader

At Barvas we come to another junction.  One line heads back across Barvas moor to Laxdale Junction whilst the other line continues onto Dalebeg via Shawbost.  Apologies for the photography on this one!

Image showing proposed train line coming across the Barvas moor to Barvas Junction where it splits with branches heading to Ness and Dalmore

It’s a bit unclear as to what would have happened after Dalebeg.  The image below shows the line continuing but it has been rubbed out.  Maybe the people of Shawbost had no desire to go to Garynahine and Callanish by steam, or the physical obstacles were to great for the engineers?

Image showing proposed train line at Dalebeg with an erased continuation heading towards DalemoreFrom Laxdale, a branch line continued down to Aline via the back of Balallan.  Maybe this would have been a way to bring fis, goods and people from Loch Seaforth and North Harris and HS3 to Stornoway?

Image showing proposed train line terminating at Aline near the Harris borderThe map is available for view via the Tasglann team and is definitely one of those items you can be absorbed in for hours, thinking of what might have been.

About David Powell

Project Manager and Archivist with Tasglann nan Eilean Siar
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