Glenfinnan Viaduct is a railway viaduct on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Lochaber, Highland, Scotland. Located at the top of Loch Shiel in the West Highlands of Scotland, the viaduct overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the waters of Loch Shiel.
The West Highland Railway was built to Fort William by Lucas and Aird, but there were delays with the West Highland Railway Mallaig Extension (Guarantee) bill for the Mallaig Extension Railway in the House of Commons as the Tory and Liberal parties fought over the issue of subsidies for public transport. This Act did pass in 1896, by which time Lucas & Aird (and their workers) had moved south. New contractors were needed and Robert McAlpine & Sons were taken on with Simpson & Wilson as engineers.
Robert McAlpine & Sons was headed by Robert McAlpine, nicknamed "Concrete Bob" for his innovative use of mass concrete. Concrete was used due to the difficulty of working the hard schist in the area. McAlpine's son Robert, then aged 28, took charge of construction, and his younger son Malcolm was appointed his assistant. Construction of the extension from Fort William to Mallaig began in January 1897, and the line opened on 1 April 1901.
The Glenfinnan Viaduct, however, was complete enough by October 1898 to be used to transport materials across the valley. It was built at a cost of £18,904. Some £2,077,324.59 in 2015
The train journey from Fort William along this track is described as one of the great railway journeys of the world this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain's most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis! The train stops en route to Mallaig at the village of Glenfinnan.
Beyond Glenfinnan are the beautiful villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig. You may alight at Arisaig by request to the guard. From here, on a clear summer's day, you can see the "Small Isles" of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. The train continues on from here passing Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films "Highlander" and "Local Hero".