6. Culrain Trains

The Far North trains remained more or less unchanged from nationalisation until diesels arrived in 1960. The following shows a selection of trains in the order they passed Culrain, though times, stock and liveries varied slightly over the years. Goods stock in the photographs was kindly provided by members of the Mid-Devon and Craven Area Groups of the Scalefour Society.

Culrain 08.15 Early 1950s
Train 08.15 Early 1950s 160716

The train is the early morning Helmsdale to Inverness made up of the previous day’s northbound TPO and coaches from the previous evening’s Inverness to Helmsdale. “Early 1950s” is suggested by the state of the Dunalastair IV and the presence of cattle flakes on the loading bank.

Culrain 08.15 1959
Train 08.15 160430

This picture is based on a prototype train from September 1959 at Tain in “The Highland Railway” by H.A. Vallance. Again this is the early morning Helmsdale to Inverness train and with the same consist as the early 1950s train above.

Culrain 09.15 1958
09.15 Train 171015 4592

06.40 Inverness to Wick with Restaurant Car for The Mound, due 09.47, at the rear.

Culrain 10.00 to 11.00 May 1959
Train 10.00 1959 180414 4760

Down working goods from Tain, which may set down or pick up at Culrain before going on its way to Helmsdale.

Culrain 12.15 Late 1950s
Train 12.15 160215

08.35 Wick to Inverness with the Restaurant Car returning from The Mound, departed 11.34, out of shot at the rear. This train hauled by 45192 was photographed from the bridge at Culrain on 26 July 1955 by P.L. Sibley.

Culrain 13.15 Early 1950s
Train 13.15 160801

“The Mails” 10.40 Inverness to Wick: the HR TPO and red and cream LMS Pullman at the front will be detached at Helmsdale, and returned south separately. The Dunalastair IV might have been attached at Dingwall, where it was shedded.

Culrain 16.30 1959/1960
Train 16.30 160112

13.40 Inverness to Helmsdale and Wick Through Goods, sometimes referred to as the “Mixed Goods”.

Culrain 18.15 Early 1950s
Train 18.15 160630

16.15 Inverness to Helmsdale train. The cattle flakes in this view, absent in the 16.30 Through Goods above, and the unlined loco show this to be an early 1950s train. The 5 coaches from this train, with the TPO from “The Mails”, will make up the next day’s first departure from Helmsdale to Inverness.

Culrain 19.15 Mid 1950s
Train 19.15 Mid 1950s 170628 4519

15.35 Wick to Inverness, including the Restaurant Car from Helmsdale taken north earlier in the day by the “Mails”. Red and cream coaches, and the lion-on-wheel totem on the loco’s tender, confirm the time period.

Of course, not all Far North trains represented on Kyle of Sutherland passed through Culrain, such as this one:

Train Thurso Mixed 171104 4599       (Loco courtesy of Allan Smith)

1959/1960 Thurso Branch Mixed with LMS Ivatt 2-6-2T in lieu of Stanier 3P





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