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Building the biggest little railway in the world

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Model rail enthusiasts, engineers and builders have attempted to build the longest model railway in the world.

Led by TV presenter and engineer Dick Strawbridge, the team set themselves the challenge of building a 74 mile railway along the Great Glen Way from Fort William to Inverness.

Laying 29 tonnes of O gauge track up hills and transporting a little steam engine across water, the team built bridges, helixes and pulley systems to overcome the country’s challenging terrain, living and working alongside the railway as they went.

Photo: Channel Four.
L-R: TV presenters Claire Barrett and Dick Strawbridge alongside engineer Hadrian Spooner. Photo: Channel Four.

Dick Strawbridge said: “It’s a very simple idea: the Victorians failed to build a railway along the Great Glen Way, and it was one part of the railway network in Scotland that was never built. So we had the idea of building a model railway across Scotland.”

Although there were once proposals to build a line from Fort William to Inverness, these were opposed by the Highland Railway and never came to fruition.

With vehicles running over track by accident, the need to secure the railway at night and workers left exhausted by the intensity of the project, the team were given a flavour of the enormity of the challenge that their Victorian forebears encountered during the golden age of railways.

Find out how the team got on in The Biggest Little Railway in the World, which will be broadcast on Channel 4 on January 7 at 8pm.

Photo: Channel Four.
Photo: Channel Four.

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