The Biggest Little Railway in the World

temporary model Railway from Fort William to Inverness in Scotland for record breaking attempt in 2017

The Biggest Little Railway in the World (BLR) was a temporary 71 mile (114 km) 1.25 inches (32 mm) O-gauge model railway from Fort William to the City of Inverness, the two largest settlements in the Scottish Highlands. It has been described as a crackpot project to run a model train the length of the Great Glen Way by an army of madcap enthusiasts, geeks, and engineers in the best spirit of eccentric Britishness.

Biggest Little Railways's Silver Lady on exhibition at Alexandra Palace



Dick Strawbridge Channel 4 interview


Quotes from a lead presenter Dick Strawbridge an interview or pseudo-interview for Channel 4.Strawbridge, Dick (2017-12-19). Dick Strawbridge interview for The Biggest Little Railway in the World.

  • It’s a very British idea – part of me says that it’s bonkers, but it’s very British. 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. It just had to be done. So we did it, along the Great Glen Way. Model railway enthusiasts are a very maligned bunch, people don’t understand them, but it was a great opportunity to get a bunch of like-minded people together. They were a very diverse group, in ages and genders and interests, all very different, but all untied by a love of model railways.
    • Describing the context of the (upcoming) show broadcast. The journalism here is a little creative in order to promote the show.
  • We had twelve days, to go over 70 miles from the West Coast to the east Coast of Scotland. That involved all the building, and getting the train from one end to the other. In terms of scale, you’re talking about basically half of the trans-Siberian railway built in 12 days. And some of the hills we had to go over were pretty tall – in terms of scale, one of them was the equivalent of one-and-a-half Everests.
    • Strawbridge describing the scale of the task
  • And Silver Lady, our little steam engine, was meant to pootle around on nice level ground, with the occasional very gentle incline of a couple of degrees. She was not built to cross Scotland. That, in its own right, was one of the big challenges. Chris, who came along from the company that actually made Silver Lady, he spent all his time keeping it on the road. We had major overhauls on a nightly basis. At one stage, we had to take the train and run it into the wee small hours of the morning, to keep it going, so we could get the miles under our belts. One coast to the other is a hell of a long way for a little engine.
    • Strawbridge describing the model locomotive used for the task.