Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Lewis Railways

Lewis did have railways, around the turn of the 19th/20th century. There was a railway from the quarry at Bennadrove to Stornoway. Posts related to this track can still be found in the Castle Grounds, opposite the Caberfeidh Hotel.

A trackbed was laid near Garrabost in Point, but a railway was never built. The same fate befell the track, linking Carloway to Stornoway along what is now the Pentland Road. It was a plan conceived by Lord Leverhulme, who also envisaged lines from Stornoway down to Lochs and Tarbert, as well as over to the West Side. None of these ever came to be.

In a recent revision of traffic movements in Stornoway, the Comhairle suggested the institution of a narrow gauge railway from the Waterwheel (off Willowglen) to the YM Bridge and on to Cuddy Point. A branch would lead down Cromwell Street. Carriages would be fully enclosed, and a train would carry 24 people.

The idea is nice and the underlying philosophy laudable. It is a good idea to reduce the number of car journeys into the town centre. The Manor Roundabout in rush hour is (apparently) a bottleneck.

However. I do not see how car drivers can be tempted to veer up Willowglen Road, park up around Ardshellach (a residential area), dive down a very steep muddy track to jump on a wee train. Which can only take 24 people, and how about luggage? I've dubbed it the Castle Grounds Express, but cannot see it taking off.

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