The future of the 10 1/4 in (260 mm) gauge Isle of Mull Railway, which ran from the ferry terminal at Craignure to Torosay Castle, became uncertain after the castle was put up for sale last year. The service was suspended in 2010 although it has since reported that the sale of Torosay Castle was not to go ahead. However, the castle is to open on 45 days in 2011, against 245 previously. The reduction in opening days means that it is not viable to operate the railway.
A new home for the railway is now being sought and several areas have been interested in taking on the line. Mull Rail is now in advanced talks to move the narrow gauge line to Balloch and Loch Lomond, the proposed line would link up Balloch railway station with the steamer pier and Loch Lomond Shores and would be close to the alignment of the old Balloch Central to Balloch Pier line that closed in 1986.
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.”
The Isle of Mull Railway had three steam and three diesel locomotives although the oldest steam engine, Waverley, a 4-4-2 built by David Curwen in 1948 is now at Rudyard Lake Steam Railway in Staffordshire on permanent loan. It was originally named Black Prince and was used on a railway in Weymouth.