Highlands, Scotland

Situated on the southern edge of Loch Carron, with the hills of the Scottish Highlands dominating the horizon on all sides, this single platform — 325-feet in length — had an estimated 614 entry/exits in 2022/2023 (ref: Office of Road and Rail), not an unsurprising amount for a location with such an air of solitude. The line upon which Duirinish is situated — the 63½-miles between Dingwall and Kyle of Lochalsh — has been scheduled for closure multiple times, but after years of uncertainty following the 1963-published The Reshaping of British Railways report, the route has settled down to a seemingly more secure future.

As recalled in the Plockton section, the 53-mile-long section of single-track line between Dingwall and Stromeferry was opened to public traffic on 10th August 1870 under the auspices of the "Dingwall and Skye Railway" (ref: Bradshaw’s Railway Manual, Shareholders’ Guide, and Official Directory for 1893). The original Act of incorporation, dated 5th July 1865, also included a continuation of the rails to Kyle of Lochalsh, but this was not completed, and the independent company was absorbed into the "Highland Railway" by an Act of 2nd August 1880 (ref: Bradshaw’s Railway Manual, Shareholders’ Guide, and Official Directory for 1893). The latter had itself been formed in 1865 by the merger of "Inverness and Aberdeen Junction" and the "Inverness and Perth Junction" railways (ref: The Railway Magazine, July 1921).

The Highland Railway secured new powers to complete the 10½-miles of single-track between Stromeferry and Kyle of Lochalsh by an Act of 29th June 1893; public traffic over this section commenced on 2nd November 1897 (ref: Bradshaw’s Railway Manual, Shareholders’ Guide, and Official Directory for 1899). A station at Duirinish was in use from the outset, serving a Civil Parish that the 1891 and 1901 censuses show as having population counts of 3,933 and 3,367 respectively. Situated four miles from Kyle of Lochalsh, a single platform was commissioned at Duirinish, on the southern side of the running line. Upon the platform was provided a single-storey main building of timber construction (vertically-aligned planks, as per the structure at Plockton) with a hipped roof. Duirinish’s first Station Master was Mr. D. Macleod from Achnasbellach (ref: The Inverness Courier, 2nd November 1897).

The Highland Railway’s Superintending Engineer for the line was Mr M. Paterson C. E, the Resident Engineer was Mr Newlands, and the contract to build the route was awarded to Mr John Best of Warriston House, Edinburgh (ref: The Inverness Courier, 2nd November 1897). A separate tender was advertised by the Highland Railway for "a block of three dwellings for Agent and Surfacemen", for which the company specified had to be of stone construction with slated roofs, and that the works were exclusive of plumbing and painting (The Ross-shire Journal (Ross and Cromarty), Scotland), 22nd January 1897). The dwellings were built behind the western end of the platform.

No sidings were ever laid at Duirinish, but the station still handled parcels and goods traffic, in addition to passengers. In the 30th October 1915 edition of the Highland News, it was reported that on and from 12th July of the following year, Duirinish station would be temporarily closed to parcels and goods traffic for the duration of the war. However, it was noted that trains would continue to call at the platform to set down and pick up passengers when notice was given to the guard on the train.

This station changed little until the advent of the British Railways era. Goods traffic ceased to be handled at Duirinish on and from 1st September 1954 (ref: Clinker’s Register, 1980). In March 1963, the station was listed for closure in The Reshaping of British Railways report published on 27th of that month, as part of the withdrawal of passenger services between Dingwall and Kyle of Lochalsh. Closure was deferred; ten years later, passenger services were still operating, although consideration for service withdrawal continued to loom.

Duirinish’s main station building of 1897 origin was still standing as of October 1973; however, by September 1982, this had been demolished. Its replacement was a diminutive masonry waiting shelter that still exists today.

23rd September 1961

A Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company (BRCW) "Type 2" (later Class 26) diesel is seen approaching the solitary platform from the Kyle of Lochalsh direction. At this time, the station had changed very little since opening. The commodious hipped roof main building is in evidence, behind which can just be glimpsed the dwellings that the Highland Railway had built. © David Glasspool Collection