ISBuC (v7) 2012
by Geoff Holman

'Back Track'
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A 19th century proposal for a railway to Dunvegan and Portree was never turned into reality but at least six industrial railways have existed on the island at one time or another:

1885: Loch Cuithir to Lealt. A 30" gauge railway from a drag-line extracting diatomite, a white filler used in several products including toothpaste to an aerial ropeway lower down. Power: steam/cable.

1900: A 23" gauge tramway was built from Carbost Pier along the Harport shore to transport materials for the Talisker Distillery.

1904: A 3.5 mile horse-drawn ropeway was built to convey marble from the Kilchrist quarries to Broadford Pier. In 1910 this was up-graded to a 36" steam railway.

1913: The Inverarish (Raasay) iron mine featured a 1.5 mile steam/cable operated railway from the workings to Suisnish Pier.

1945: A quartzite quarry at Ord equipped with a 36" gauge railway along which wagons were pushed by hand to a loading embankment.

1952: Storr Lochs Hydroelectric power station built featuring a standard gauge electric cable railway which still routinely carries spares and supplies down a 1 in 2 gradient.