NEW BALLOCH & LOCH LOMOND RAILWAY

Mull Rail was to have become Balloch & Loch Lomond Railway in 2012/13

This new project was designed to provide a vital rail transport link from Balloch station to Loch Lomond piers and to the Loch Lomond Shores shopping centre.

The steam and diesel narrow gauge trains will connect public transport to the Boats on the Loch and the car parks at the shopping Centre. It would have utilised the award winning relocated 10.25 inch gauge steam and diesel railway railway trains from the Isle of Mull Railway in Scotland which closed in September 2011.

The tracks were planned to have a rare triangular junction so that trains could run from Balloch station to the pier or the Loch Lomond Shores shopping centre. 

In early 2011a public announcement was made that Balloch was the preferred home for Mull Rail. Sadly after 18 months no final route or deal could be settled and this opportunity has been lost

Victoria in use at Rudyard Lake

A picture of Victoria with King Arthur at its temporary home at Rudyard Lake

NEWS OF THE NEW BALLOCH & LOCH LOMOND STEAM RAILWAY

August 2012

It was expected that all the equipment from Mull would be relocated to the new railway. If all had gone to plan trains could have run in 2012. However protracted negotiations and Scottish Enterprises prevarication over 18 months meant that the opportunity has been lost. The railway has to be off Mull by the end of October and so in August it was all placed on the market. It has all now been sold in Autumn 2012. See here for details of the sale & disposal of the Isle of Mull Railway

May 2012

The negotiations to bring the railway to Balloch are dragging on and as at May 2012 are still in progress. This is due to the number of parties involved and issues about the route. The positive side is that a better alignment for the railway may result. The other positive point is the clear financial case for the railway which will benefit it and all the other proposed developments.

The railway on Mull will have to be dismantled soon under the terms of the lease so its to be hoped that issues can be resolved soon. There may well be opportunities to help with establishing the railway and to invest in it which will be announced shortly.

Mull Rail Press Release  15 June 2011

Possible new location for award winning Mull Rail?

Mull Rail could become Loch Lomond Rail. Talks are underway with Scottish Enterprise over an exciting proposal to rebuild the railway at Balloch at the southern end of Loch Lomond.
The new line would link Balloch‘s mainline railway station with the steamer pier and the popular Loch Lomond Shores Visitor and Retail Destination..

The future of the railway on Mull has been uncertain since Torsay Castle was put up for sale.
Mull Rail director Nick Dodson said, "This is a really exciting opportunity. The proposed railway fulfils a real transport need and would give the equipment, engines and rolling stock a fresh lease of life."
"We are shortly to embark on a formal feasibility study with Scottish Enterprise but meetings with them and extensive field work shows that the scheme could be extremely viable. We’ve already held meetings with Scottish Enterprise, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, West Dunbartonshire Council and the Loch Lomond Shores complex and the response was very encouraging."

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has been identified as one of Scotland’s key tourism destination that will help to drive growth within the wider tourism industry. In collaboration with industry and other public sector organisations, Scottish Enterprise supports the development of these key destinations to ensure they provide the foundation for future, sustainable growth of Scottish tourism. This area recently benefitted from a new £3.5 million ‘’Surprise Yourself" Visit Scotland advertising campaign.

Nearly half of the population of Scotland lives within a 90 minute drive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and Loch Lomond Shores and its attractions already bring in over a million visitors each year. A further boost is likely when the historic paddle steamer PS Maid of the Loch, the last paddle steamer to be built in Britain, hopefully returns to operation in 2013 after a 31 year restoration project.

The proposed line initially runs close to the alignment of the line from Balloch Central to Balloch Pier which closed in 1986. It will then continue onto the Loch Lomond Shores Visitor and Retail Destination and the complex’s extensive car parks.

Nick Dodson added, "We realise there is much work still to be done but the response we’ve had from our new partners in the scheme is most encouraging. Once formal agreements have been reached progress could be extremely rapid."

Allan McQuade, director of business infrastructure at Scottish Enterprise said: "We are currently in discussion with Mull Railway regarding this very exciting opportunity to relocate the railway to Balloch and Loch Lomond Shores. This proposal could help fulfil much sought after transport links between Balloch Village and Loch Lomond Shores as well as serve as a tourist attraction. The project is subject to financial and technical feasibilities which we are now progressing with Mull Railway."

In the meantime Mull Rail will run on five days a week with a reduced service until the start of September. Details can be found on the railway’s website www.mullrail.co.uk. Recently Mull Rail was honoured by an award presented by the 10¼" Gauge Railway Society marking its "continuous service to the public since its opening in 1984."

Steam Train on Mull railway destined for Loch Lomond'Victoria' a Mull steam train bound for Balloch & Loch Lomond

Views of the trains destined for Loch Lomond on Mull

Balloch  Loch Lomond News - 1st January 2012

The final trains ran on Mull on 1st September 2011 pulled by Victoria with little fanfare and in typical rainy weather.

The steam engine Victoria left the Island on 7th of September and is now at Rudyard Lake in Staffordshire. She has been fitted with air brakes and was used at the Steam gala on September 10 & 11th. Now other minor repairs have been  undertaken she will be used occasionally to keep her in good working order before hopefully moving to Loch Lomond in 2012. Some further work to her regulator to stop a minor leek is planned for the spring.

A mini steam gala was held at Rudyard on April 28 & 29th 2012 and saw Victoria & Waverley run a train together for the first time and the 3 other engines in use.

Victoria & Waverley together on a train for the first time April 29th 2012

There are up to date pictures on the Balloch & Loch Lomond Railway Facebook page. Please visit it and Like it

Discussions to agree to bring a railway at Balloch are still proceeding. Inevitably this takes longer than everyone would want but its important all the key issues are resolved now. Please be patient, there will be plenty of opportunities to help in due course.

Information provided by a friend and supporter- the Rudyard Lake Steam Railway