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On the Iron Road to the Isles The story of the 'Jacobite' steam service on the West Highland Line

ISBN: 9781857945362
Published: 24-10-2018
Format: Hardback 280 x 280mm
Availability: Forthcoming title
Author: James Shuttleworth and John Hunt
Number of pages: 208

Price: £45.00

Co author James Shuttleworth took up an invitation from Ian Storey to join the support crew with No 44767 in July 1994 (the added bonus of free travel there and back was a factor), he happened to choose the Centenary weekend of the opening of the line to Fort William, and was captivated.

John Hunt will be well known to Nostalgia Collection readers having written several previous books fo Silver Link and Past & Present Publishing. Perhaps less well known is that John is a regular member of the footplate crew for the Jocobite service both driving and firing the various steam locomotives used on the route. When not on the'Jacobite' John can also be found on main line steam specials and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.


Back in 1982 the West Highland line was in the hands of Class 37s and the stock was steam-heat Mk 1s and 2s.
The return of steam to the Mallaig line received much publicity at the time.
James returned to Fort William in 1995, as Project Manager for the newly re-launched 'Jacobite' service, now under the auspices of West Coast Railways.
With an absolute minimum of staff, the team worked hard in the early years to make it a success. James found myself turning his hand to myriad tasks, doing anything from checking tickets, delivering leaflets, liaising with the local rail businesses, providing interviews for the press, cleaning the stock and locos, being part of the support crew or, when needed, fire patrol. It was hard work but ultimately great fun and paved the way to the success that 'The Jacobite' now is.
There have been many highlights in the intervening period: heritage programmes, which took steam back to all parts of the Highlands; the staging of a 'plandampf' in 2001; the 'Harry Potter' filming (complete with fires and not getting through Banavie station platform without dismantling it first!); and the series of photo-charters, run on both the Mallaig and main West Highland lines, producing hitherto rare and spectacular opportunities to photograph raw steam operation in this marvellous area, as witnessed later in this book.

Steam on the Mallaig line is now an integral part of the Scottish tourist scene, with a season that now runs from Easter to Christmas and the New Year and, during the peak season, running twice daily. Indeed, being one of the Great Railway Journeys of the World has confirmed its place as a world tourist attraction - a long way from the early years of the 1980s and 1990s.
Long may it continue - haste ye back!

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