One of the most picturesque routes of the UK's railway network is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month.
The Highland Main Line runs from Pitlochry to Inverness and is regarded by many enthusiasts as being the best stretch of track not only in Scotland but the rest of the British Isles. It was originally built in 1863 as a transportation link to the south of the country for lairds and landowners living in the Scottish Highlands. It was then extended with a second section being introduced in September 1863 connecting Perth and Inverness.
As a way to mark the momentous milestone, Herald Scotland reported that the railway was opened to vintage rail travel enthusiasts who enjoyed traditional tea on board the Strathspey Steam Railway. It set off on its journey from Aviemore on a 19-mile round trip to Broomhill and back again. Passengers were able to gaze at the breathtaking sights of the Cairngorms which were in plain sight when travelling along the route.
The Highland Mainline Line is not only a glorious line of railway but it is also an amazing feat of engineering and workmanship. Civil engineer Joseph Mitchell and the gangs of navvies enlisted to help with the construction were able to lay 104 miles of new track across some of the most challenging terrain in just 23 months.
Sadly, the route had been closed between Aviemore and Forres in the Beeching era of the 1960s but the work by the Strathspey Steam Railway which has been running these special passenger trains has revived the line. The current route in operation runs from Aviemore to Boat of Garten and Broomhill and the company also plans to extend it to Grantown-on-Spey.
As an added bonus for people travelling on these specially commissioned trains is a stop off at Broomhill which served as Glenbogle in the BBC television series, Monarch of the Glen.