Above: The cover illustration shows Callander station in 1955 looking west towards Oban. The trackbed from Callander to Strathyre is now a railway path.

Member Alasdair Wham's latest book contains the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1 : Callander and Oban – One Man’s Railway. Covers the Dunblane, Doune & Callander Railway, and the Callander & Oban Railway from Callander to Crianlarich.
  • Chapter 2 : Branches of Callander and Oban. Covers the Lochearnhead, St. Fillans & Comrie Railway ('The Missing Link'), the Killin Railway ('Watching the Pennies') and the Ballachulish Branch ('Anderson’s Gamble').
  • Chapter 3 : Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. Covers rails to Aberfoyle ('Royal Romances, Decimal Points and Fairies') and the Forth & Clyde Junction Railway ('Hopes and Dreams').
  • Chapter 4 : Invergarry & Fort Augustus Railway. Subtitled 'Burton’s Bitter Brew'.
  • Chapter 5 : Campbeltown & Machrihanish Railway. Subtitled 'Coal, Whisky and Tom Morris'.

The Trossachs and West Highlands contain many lost lines, but fortunately some have been revived in recent years for recreational use, at least in part, while Scotland's civilised approach to land access makes exploration of the rest much easier than south of the border. (Printed copies of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code are available free to the public from Scottish Natural Heritage, telephone 01738 444177, or click here to access a copy in PDF form, downloaded in September 2009.)

Each chapter starts with a map of the area covered, followed by a well researched history of the line and a description of the actual route. The book is illustrated with numerous black and white photos, most of which are new to me. I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read during the recent snow and ice when I couldn't get out but, more importantly, it will prove invaluable to anyone planning to visit the West Highlands to walk one or more of these disused lines. Rob Soutar, the first reviewer on Amazon, has given the book five out of five stars and reinforces this point: 'It's a very practical book to take with you in the backpack when you're following these lost railway tracks'. He also remarks that the book includes 'interesting snippets of information that make it very readable for the non railway person'.

141 pages, ISBN 978 1872350349, price £11.99

Published 2009 by GC Books Ltd, Unit 10 Book Warehouse, Bladnoch Bridge Estate, Wigtown, DG8 9AB. Click to send an e-mail.

Available from Amazon or local booksellers.

Reviewed by Ralph Rawlinson