Tyndrum leaps remembered

Tyndrum Tales

Tony Ewer’s nice view of 37011 and 97250 (Ethel 1) at Tyndrum Upper with the 0553 Queen St – Mallaig (which also contains through overnight coaches from Euston) on August 19th 1985

As we all travelled across Scotland when loco hauled trains were still in force, many of us would have leapt at the likes of Achnasheen, Blair Athol, Dingwall, Forress or Markinch to mention a few, where we’d  join the train travelling back to where we had just come from!

One leap was more unusual and that was Tyndrum on the West Highland line. On occasions 30 plus bashers would bail into the chill, often damp Highland air at Tyndrum Upper. On watching the train thrash North there was around an hour to walk down the twisting tree covered trail to Tyndrum Lower from where an Oban – Glasgow service was joined. On reaching the main road in the 70/80’s there was a garage with a cafe which became a “Little Chef” in the early 80’s. After an overnight journey North this was often raked in for a swift eats before walking past the noisy guard geese  at Tyndrum’s Royal Hotel on the deceptively long track to Tyndrum Lower. The move could also be done in reverse up the hill and it was “a hellluva climb” especially when the connection was tight!

Over the years a great variety of power and different locos have been raked in on the Tyndrum leap plus a few non loco related tales too. Thanks to several “WNXX” contributors for much of the gen too….

Pour yourself a Scotch and enjoy the memories!

Sample Tyndrum leaps etc moves down the years

6108    1740 Oban – Glasgow QS 140668

6119    1635 Glasgow QS – Fort William/Mallaig 140668

bail at Tyndrum Lower and walk up to Tyndrum Upper*

25082 0836 Glasgow-Fort William 250578

27022 0800 Oban-Glasgow 250578

bail at Tyndrum Lower and walk up to Tyndrum Upper*

27022 1637 Glasgow – Mallaig 280479 to Tyndrum Upper

25076 1637 Glasgow – Mallaig 280479 ex Tyndrum Upper

27022 failed just after departing from Tyndrum Upper with the 1637 Glasgow Queen Street to Mallaig on 28th April 1979. The signalman ran the driver down to the timber sidings at Crainlarich in his car where 25076 was stabled which proved our rescue machine.  See Flikr phot link following main text.

27109} 1250 Glasgow-Oban 150979


37111  1250 Mallaig-Glasgow (ex FW) 150979 (35l)

bail at Tyndrum Lower and run up to Tyndrum Upper*

37051 xxxx Glasgow – Fort William c.mid 81

Another “leap” c. mid 1981. Think it was 37051 – anyway slipped to a stand south of Tyndrum in the middle of nowhere and after a lot of noise but no action, had to wait for another 37 from the north to get going. Anyway, while stuck, some basher thought he would get a unique photo in a unique non-accessible location and “leapt” down to the ballast, breaking his ankle in the process. Ta to “5308” for info.

37111}  0600 Glasgow – Mallaig 210383


37191  0740 Oban – Glasgow Queen St 210383

 bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower

A leap in both directions on the same day:
37014 0600 Glasgow – Mallaig 140483

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower

37190 0740 Oban – Glasgow
37033 0804 Glasgow – Oban

bail at Tyndrum Lower and walk up to Tyndrum Upper
37178 0700 Mallaig – Glasgow
“A leap in both directions on the same day -Didn’t do the uphill leap again after that!” Ta to “40079”

37108}            0600 Glasgow-Mallaig 010883


37051  0740 Oban-Glasgow   010883

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower

A different move for Camborne’s finest here (aka “the Buzzard”). The demands of 20 “teas and rolls” from the bashers saw the “Buzzard’s” full breakfast delayed and was to  wither him. He missed by a minute or so an on time 37051 at Tyndrum Lower. After a second breakfast he returned to Tyndrum Upper for the next service some hours later!

37011  2100(19/9) Euston – Fort William 200983

37108  0740 Oban – Glasgow 200983

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower

The MO 0600 Glasgow – Mallaig which included a Euston portion was booked but didnt often get a through piped 20. The late Tony Ewer catches 37012 and 20045 leaving Tyndrum Upper with the 0600 on August 29th 1983

37191}            2100 (24/01) Euston-Fort William     250185


37184  0800 Oban-Glasgow                           250185

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower.

Thick snow in the Tyndrum Uppers with about of a foot of snow making it a bit slippy on the trail down the hill. Our Adidas bags went down the hill unpowered in the ski ruts on the trail!

37192  0550 Glasgow – Fort William 120285

37026  0800 Oban – Glasgow 120285

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower.

DS advises that a local was also waiting in the shelter at Tyndrum Lower. The local asked why so many strangers were often waiting for this train. On being told the intricacies of the bashing game he remarked “well, i suppose it keeps you off the streets,” before adding to a tot of whisky to DS’s flask of coffee”

37413 0550 Glasgow – Fort William 180786

37406 0800 Oban – Glasgow 180786

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower

37404  0550 Glasgow-Fort William   180189                                               

37403  0810 Oban-Glasgow   180189

bail at Tyndrum Upper down the hill to Tyndrum Lower, 156 units replaced most hauled turns a few days later..the end.

Class 31 Tyndrum leap!

“Only ever did Lower to Upper once and that was with a 31!

In the Summer of 2000 31190 was the Jacobite Standby loco, at the end of July/beginning of August it had 4 Saturday turns, weeks 1 and 3 were Fort Bill-Mallaig and back. Weeks 2 and 4 was Fort Bill-Oban and back”.

31190 Fort Bill-Oban 290700
31190 Oban-Tyndrum Lower 290700
31190 Tyndrum Upper-Fort Bill 290700

bail at Tyndrum Lower and walk up to Tyndrum Upper

“We had a word with the Traincrew to see if they would stop at Lower to let us off and pick us back up at Upper, which they were happy to do so. Ta to “the 31451)”

Note: * Leap constructed from old gen, move not confirmed. 8587 reportedly worked an Oban service in the Summer of 65 allowing yet more variety at Tyndrum. Class 24 and 26 could also have been raked in off Tyndrum over the years. Perhaps 73’s will feature in the future too!..

Tyndrum Phot-spot

 A recent map of the Tyndrum leap

 Former “South Wales steamer” 37184 brings the 0800 Oban – Glasgow into a snowy Tyndrum Lower on a chill 250185

Link to Keith Long’s Flikr site view of 25076 rescuing 27022 at Tyndrum Upper on 280479 here  

A Return to Tyndrum, Oct 2014

A return Tyndrum leap was made on October 18th leaping at Tyndrum Upper for the trek to Tyndrum Lower. The trail down the hill is much as the 80’s when battalions of bashers headed down the hill. Tyndrum village on the ever busy main A82 has become more developed with a choice of 3 large eateries for breakfast! The twisting path to Tyndrum Lower also now has various outdoor type chalet cottages along it.

The weather, as booked, was wet, but it was nice to return to the old haunts.

Additional bits – Loco hauled trains still serve Tyndrum Upper with the 67 (now 66/73) hauled Sleeper service from Euston which is also a Glasgow QS Low level-Fort William local service. Oban is solid 156 units.

Both stations have been renamed Lower Tyndrum and Upper Tyndrum

Coach parties now literally  invade Tyndrum most days, packing out the eateries at lunchtimes

The “move:”

156453 0603 Mallaig – Glasgow QS 181014 Fort William – Tyndrum Upper

156456 0821 Glasgow – Oban 181014 Tyndrum Lower – Falls of Cruachan

Tyndrum leap phot spot, 181014

 156453 leaves Tyndrum Upper for Crianlarich

 Tyndrum the stuff of legends!

 The steep trail down from Tyndrum Upper

 Still a quiet station

 Its still raining as 156456 arrives at Tyndrum lower for Oban

The Tyndrum bail – Not the same with a 156! Any more Tyndrum memories to share?



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