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West Highland Line Holidays

Also known as 'the Iron Road to the Isles', a journey on the West Highland Line is an epic rail adventure that takes passengers through some of the world's most beautiful and dramatic landscapes. In fact the line has twice been voted the world's best rail journey by readers of Wanderlust magazine.

Running from Glasgow's Queen Street station, the train runs through the city's outskirts and on to Helensburgh. From here the train begins its ascent into the famous Highlands.

Soon the train skirts the beautiful Loch Long, followed by the immense Loch Lomond, as it makes its way up the ever-increasing gradients. The journey continues alongside the Loch - Britain's largest body of inland water - whilst winding through pretty wooden slopes.

Continuing northward through charming isolated villages, the train then climbs more than 500 feet (150 m) in just five miles, before arriving at the tiny hamlet Crianlarich. Here the West Highland Line splits into two branches. One continues to Fort William and Mallaig, the other heads west to Oban.

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More about the West Highland Line

To Fort William and Mallaig:
Shortly after leaving Crianlarich, trains reach one of the line's most dramatic points; the spectacular horseshoe curve viaduct, a glorious sweeping structure crossing the valley between the mountains. The route continues over the lofty, lonely Rannoch Moor, a magnificent expanse of land inhabited only by deer. Shortly afterwards the line reaches its peak at Corrour summit, 1,350 ft above sea level. The train then continues to Fort William. Set under the looming bulk of Ben Nevis, Fort William was the original terminus of the line, opening in 1894.

Trains then commence over the Mallaig Extension, which was completed in 1901. Covering the demanding terrain of this 39-mile stretch was a major feat of railway engineering. The journey continues over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct - known for its appearance in the Harry Potter films - as the line approaches the west coast, offering tantalising glimpses of the Small Isles in the distance. The journey's end is at Mallaig, a fishing town with a busy port and salty sea air, 164 miles from Glasgow.

To Oban:
After leaving Crianlarich, the Oban line passes through the beautiful Glen Lochy and passes the brooding ruins of Kilchurn Castle, which was historically a stronghold of the Glen Campbell. The train then continues through the rugged scenery, and passes through Taynuilt, an idyllic village on the shores of Loch Etive. After reaching the Falls of Laura and Glen Cruitten, the line descends towards the coast, terminating in Oban, a pretty town - and the gateway to the islands of Mull and Islay.

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