Fort William railway station

Coordinates: 56°49′15″N 5°06′17″W / 56.8207°N 5.1047°W / 56.8207; -5.1047
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Fort William

Scottish Gaelic: An Gearasdan[1]
National Rail
General information
LocationFort William, Highland
Coordinates56°49′15″N 5°06′17″W / 56.8207°N 5.1047°W / 56.8207; -5.1047
Grid referenceNN105741
Managed byScotRail
Other information
Station codeFTW[2]
Original companyBritish Rail
Key dates
7 August 1894First station opened
9 June 1975First station closed
13 June 1975Present station opened[3][page needed]
2018/19Increase 0.160 million
2019/20Decrease 0.140 million
 Interchange  377
2020/21Decrease 22,316
 Interchange Decrease 39
2021/22Increase 0.114 million
 Interchange Increase 197
2022/23Increase 0.146 million
 Interchange Increase 204
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Fort William railway station serves the town of Fort William, in the Highland region of Scotland. It is on the West Highland line, between Spean Bridge and Banavie, measured 99 miles 37 chains (160.1 km) from Craigendoran Junction, at the southern end of the line near Helensburgh.[4] The station is managed by ScotRail, who operate most services from the station; Caledonian Sleeper and The Jacobite, an excursion operated by West Coast Railways, also use the station.


The original station in 1957
The original station alongside the loch

The first station was constructed by the West Highland Railway which was later absorbed by the North British Railway. They chose a site for the station alongside the town shipping pier, which required the purchase of a strip of the foreshore. The railway company bought this for £25 (equivalent to £2,900 in 2021)[5] an acre.[6] Purchase of this land displaced some people from their houses and the railway company was obliged to provide replacement housing. Other residents realised too late that the railway line cut the town off from the shore and the company responded by providing some wicket gate crossings.

It was opened by the Marchioness of Tweedale, Candida Louisa Bartolucci, wife of the chairman of the North British Railway, William Hay, 10th Marquess of Tweeddale[7] on 7 August 1894. They had departed by special train comprising two locomotives and eleven carriages from Glasgow at 8.15am, and arrived in Fort William at 1.30pm. It was sited to the west of the present station on what is now the A82 town bypass, alongside Loch Linnhe at Station Square, at the time in close proximity to then location of the former Caledonian MacBrayne bus station. The old station was a stone built construction featuring a turret and a double arched entranceway and had three platforms. Two of the platforms terminated under the platform canopy, but the third continued past the station, crossing the MacBrayne pier and terminated at the jetty just beyond.[8]

In 1970 the British Railways Board put forward proposals to re-site the station 700 yards (640 m) north of its location to allow the improvements to the A82 to be implemented.[9] The last train from the old station departed on 7 June 1975[10] and the station closed on 9 June. It was demolished immediately afterwards to permit construction of the bypass.[11]

The present Fort William station of grey concrete construction was opened on 13 June 1975.[11] The current station lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

During high winds in February 1980 a brick wall at the station collapsed onto the track and blocked a platform.[12]


Since its opening in 1975, the present Fort William station has been equipped with colour light signals. The signalling is controlled from an 'NX' (entrance-exit) panel in Fort William Junction signal box. The single line between the junction and the station is worked by the Track Circuit Block system, so no tokens are needed for that part of the route.


Refurbishment of the facilities at Fort William railway station was completed in 2007 thanks to a £750,000 investment.[13] The refurbishment includes new shower facilities and refurbished toilets. The shower facilities include two showers for ladies, two for gentlemen and one unisex shower facility for disabled people.[citation needed]

The island platform is also equipped with a few shops and restaurants, a ticket office, bike racks, a car park and a taxi rank, and some benches. All areas of the station are step-free.[14]

Passenger volume[edit]

Passenger Volume at Fort William[15]
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23
Entries and exits 115,510 120,333 121,920 134,302 135,488 138,870 135,556 145,504 144,106 139,808 138,514 155,856 160,418 139,722 22,316 114,230 145,564
Interchanges 192 211 247 295 365 414 458 440 387 339 355 393 414 377 39 197 204

The statistics cover twelve month periods that start in April.


Caledonian Sleeper and ScotRail services standing at Fort William station

Fort William has three daytime trains per day in each direction on Mondays to Saturdays, running between Glasgow Queen Street and Mallaig. There is also a daily early morning service to Mallaig that starts at Fort William, with a similar return service in the evening, which connects with the Caledonian Sleeper. The regular Sunday service consists of two train per day each way between Glasgow and Mallaig, with the schedule in the peak season supplemented by one service between Fort William and Mallaig.

The Caledonian Sleeper operates six nights per week (not Saturday nights) to and from London Euston, starting and terminating at Fort William. The sleeper also carries seated coaches and can thus be used as a regular service train to/from Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverley.

The Jacobite operates non-stop between Fort William and Mallaig. This runs all year round, with a maximum of two trains per day Monday to Saturday and one on Sunday. A reduced Jacobite timetable is operated later in the summer.[16][17][18]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Spean Bridge   ScotRail
West Highland Line
Terminus     Terminus
Spean Bridge   Caledonian Sleeper
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
Heritage Railways  Heritage railways
Mallaig   West Coast Railways
The Jacobite
  Historical railways  
Spean Bridge
Line and station open
  North British Railway
West Highland Railway
  Banavie Pier
Line mostly open; station closed
Terminus   North British Railway
West Highland Railway
Line and station open
  North British Railway
Mallaig Extension Railway of West Highland Railway

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
  2. ^ Deaves, Phil. "Railway Codes". Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  3. ^ Butt 1995.
  4. ^ Bridge, Mike, ed. (2017). TRACKatlas of Mainland Britain: A Comprehensive Geographic Atlas Showing the Rail Network of Great Britain (3rd ed.). Sheffield: Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. p. 90. ISBN 978-1909431-26-3.
  5. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  6. ^ Thomas, John (1965). The West Highland Railway. David St John Thomas. p. 60. ISBN 0946537143.
  7. ^ "West Highland Railway". DundeeAdvertiser. Scotland. 13 August 1894. Retrieved 7 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ Thomas, John (1965). The West Highland Railway. David St John Thomas. p. 85. ISBN 0946537143.
  9. ^ "British Railways Board. Re-siting of Fort William Railway Station". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 5 March 1970. Retrieved 7 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Last train given big send off at Fort-William". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 9 June 1975. Retrieved 7 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ a b Fort William re-sited The Railway Magazine issue 892 August 1975 page 377
  12. ^ "Winds". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 5 February 1980. Retrieved 7 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  13. ^ "Full steam ahead for new transport hub". Lochaber News. 20 October 2007. Archived from the original on 16 April 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  14. ^ "National Rail Enquiries -". Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Estimates of station usage | ORR Data Portal". Retrieved 2 September 2022.
  16. ^ eNRT May 2022 Edition, Table 218
  17. ^ eNRT December 2021 Edition, Table 218
  18. ^ eNRT May 2022 Edition, Table 220


External links[edit]