Altnabreac railway station
|Original company||Sutherland and Caithness Railway|
|28 July 1874||Opened|
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
Altnabreac railway station (//) is a rural railway station in the Highland council area of Scotland. It serves the area of Altnabreac – a settlement in which the station itself is the main component – in the historic county of Caithness.
The station is on the Far North Line, 133 miles 76 chains (215.6 km) down the line from Inverness, situated between Forsinard and Scotscalder. It has a single platform long enough to accommodate a four-carriage train. The station is managed by ScotRail, who operate all trains serving it.
The reason for the station's construction is a mystery. At the time of construction it was 8 miles (13 km) from the nearest settlement and 10 miles (16 km) from the nearest road. The only source of traffic at the station, Lochdhu Lodge, approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the south, was not built until 1895 and the Altnabreac School was not built until 1930. However, it had a passing loop with a water tank so may have been established for purely operational reasons.
Taken into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway during the Grouping of 1923, the line then passed on to the Scottish Region of British Railways on nationalisation in 1948. When Sectorisation was introduced by British Rail, the station became part of ScotRail until the Privatisation of British Rail.
The station is on a private dirt road between Loch More and Forsinain, marked as a cycle trail on Ordnance Survey maps. Being about 6.8 miles (11 km) from the nearest paved road and 11 miles (18 km) from the nearest village, Altnabreac is often listed as one of Britain's most geographically isolated railway stations, alongside Corrour elsewhere in Scotland, Dovey Junction in west Wales and Berney Arms in Norfolk. The nearest village is Westerdale, which itself is in fact closer to Scotscalder station. Nevertheless, despite its isolation, the station is used by walkers and off-road cyclists, as well as railway enthusiasts and those who enjoy visiting remote locations.
The station has a help point, bike racks and a small waiting shelter. As there are no facilities to purchase tickets, passengers must buy one in advance, or from the guard on the train.
In the 2018–19 financial year the station saw 408 passengers, making it the 28th least-used station in the United Kingdom, although four other stations on the Far North Line had even fewer passengers, including neighbouring Scotscalder.
|Entries and exits||93||164||171||222||177||212||156||172||238||296||138||240||312||356||658||408||232||46|
The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.
On weekdays and Saturdays, the service pattern from the station consists of four trains per day northbound to Wick via Thurso and three trains per day southbound to Inverness via Helmsdale, Golspie, Lairg, Tain and Dingwall. (There is a fourth train bound for Inverness but it is not scheduled to call at Altnabreac.) On Sundays there is just one train per day each way.
This station is designated as a request stop. This means that passengers intending to alight must inform the guard in advance, and any passengers wishing to board must ensure they are in view of the train driver, and are required to use a hand signal to stop the train.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Far North Line
Line and station open
Sutherland and Caithness Railway
Line and station open
- Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
- Butt (1995), page 15
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- eNRT December 2021 Edition, Table 219
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