Whistlefield railway station

Whistlefield, later Whistlefield Halt, was a minor station on the West Highland Line 10.30 miles (15.76 Kilometres) from Craigendoran Junction[2] railway station near the hamlet of Portincaple on Loch Long, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Opened in 1896 by the West Highland Railway, it was built on a single track section without a passing loop in between Garelochhead and Glen Douglas and closed by the British Railways Board in 1964.[1]


Whistlefield Halt
Whistlefield-Portincaple, Railway Bridge - geograph.org.uk - 188883.jpg
The railway bridge near the old Whistlefield Station site
LocationBetween Garelochhead and Glen Douglas, Argyll and Bute
Coordinates56°05′50″N 4°50′20″W / 56.097134°N 4.838802°W / 56.097134; -4.838802Coordinates: 56°05′50″N 4°50′20″W / 56.097134°N 4.838802°W / 56.097134; -4.838802
Grid referenceNS23519300
Original companyWest Highland Railway
Key dates
1 May 1896Opened[1]
13 June 1960Renamed Whilstlefield Halt[1]
15 June 1964Closed[1]


System map of the West Highland Railway

The station was officially opened at 12 noon on Tuesday 20 October 1896,[3] designed by the architect James Miller,[4] and it was of a different design to the other stations on the West Highland Railway that had opened the line to passengers on 7 August 1894; later operated by the North British Railway, until in 1923 it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway. In 1948 the line became part of the Scottish Region of British Railways following nationalisation and remains open as a route to Fort William, Mallaig and Oban. The trustees of the Luss Estates (Colquhoun) had been promised a station and the North British Railway finally conceded. The 'chalet-like' and non-standard appearance as well as the later opening date are explained by the reluctance of the company to invest in a station in this remote spot.[5]

Built to serve the Whistlefield hamlet, Portincaple with its fishing fleet and the surrounding area, the first station master was George Gall who was in post until his retirement in 1929 after which date both Shandon and Whistlefield came under the control of Garelochhead until closure and demolition in 1964.[6] At one time it was in regular use for Sunday church services.

In 1906, when King Edward VII came by train to the area before continuing to Fort William and he was welcomed at Whistlefield by the stationmaster George Gall, with flags and other decorations adorning the whole station.[7]

Whistlefield and near by Shandon were the locations of a German PoW camps and prisoners were regularly taken by train from the Faslane Platform and Whistlefield to work on the Loch Sloy hydroelectric scheme, disembarking at Inveruglas or possibly Glen Falloch Halt.[8]

The station and inn were frequented by the many drovers using the drove roads that once ran through this area to Portincaple and other destinations.[9]

The original 1896 service, affectionately known as the Wee Arrochar, was a Craigendoran (Upper) to Arrochar and Tarbet via Whistlefield and the other local stations and halts that was continued by British Rail until June 1964, when it fell victim to the Beeching Axe.[10]


The West Highland Line near the Whistlefield Station site.

The single platformed station, without a passing loop, was located on a steep section of the line between the Garelochhead and Finnart Viaducts.[11] A new platform was built in 1925.[12] Steps ran up from the road to the station and remnants of these can still be seen.[13] Railway cottages were built slightly to the north and these survive as private dwellings. The Whistlefield Store and tea room, later the 'Green Kettle Inn' was built close by[14] to capture the trade created by the railway with steamer excursions on the loch, picnickers, etc.[15] A house for the innkeeper was also constructed.

A siding was is recorded as present in 1896[16] and a photograph of the 1920 or 1930s also shows a loading dock of some kind built from railway sleepers with a shed which may help explain the detailed instructions on the railway sign regarding shunting on the line with its significantly steep gradient.[17] Boxes of fish from the Portincaple fishing fleet were loaded on to passenger trains. The station was host to a LNER camping coach from 1936 to 1939.[18]

When first opened no signalling was present and the point for the siding was worked under the control of a tablet.[19] Bruce Henderson was the signalman at a later date, living in the railway cottage until moving to Garelochhead.[20] A pair of semi-detached small railway cottages were also located at Glen Douglas, similar in appearance to the one at Whistlefield railway station.[21]

A water balance funicular railway had been proposed from Whistlefield down to Portincaple to carry passengers using a steamer service at a new pier.[22]

The West Highland LineEdit

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Garelochhead   Abellio ScotRail
West Highland Line
  Arrochar and Tarbet
  Historical railways  
Line open; Station open
  North British Railway
West Highland Railway
  Glen Douglas Halt
Line open; Station closed

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d Butt (1995) page 247
  2. ^ McGregor, John (1994). 100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail. p. 71.
  3. ^ McGregor, John (1994). 100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail. p. 12.
  4. ^ "Dictionary of Scottish Architects". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  5. ^ McGregor, John (1994). The West Highland Railway. 120 Years. ScotRail.
  6. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  8. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  9. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  10. ^ "The 'Wee Arrochar'"Helensburgh Heritage Trust website; Retrieved 27 December 2017
  11. ^ McGregor, John (1994). 100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail. p. 71.
  12. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  13. ^ "RailScot Whistlefield". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Canmore Whistlefield". Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  16. ^ McGregor, John (1994). 100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail. p. 12.
  17. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust Photo Gallery". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  18. ^ McRae, Andrew (1997). British Railway Camping Coach Holidays: The 1930s & British Railways (London Midland Region). Scenes from the Past: 30 (Part One). Foxline. p. 11. ISBN 1-870119-48-7.
  19. ^ McGregor, John (1994). 100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail. p. 12.
  20. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage Trust". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  21. ^ "Helensburgh Heritage". Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  22. ^ McGregor, John (1994). 100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail. p. 52.


  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • McGregor, John (1994).100 years of the West Highland Railway. ScotRail.
  • McGregor, John (2014).The West Highland Railway. 120 Years. Amberley Publishing Ltd.
  • Ransom, P.J.G. (2004). Loch Lomond and the Trossachs in History and Legend. Edinburgh : John Donald Pub. ISBN 0-85976-586-5.
  • RAILSCOT on the West Highland Railway

External linksEdit