Highlands & Islands

Cars could go on rails to end 140-mile detour in Wester Ross

Cars on railway line in 1990. Pic: Alex Ingram
Image caption Road traffic on the railway line next to the A890 in October 1990

Road traffic could be allowed to travel along railway tracks to avoid an area where landslides have closed a road for more than two weeks.

Highland Council said it was an option being considered for the section of A890 Lochcarron to Kyle road.

In October 1990, traffic was allowed onto the nearby railway line after rockfalls in the same area.

The method uses railway sleepers and would end the need for motorists to make a 140 mile (225km) diversion.

Network Rail said it was looking at the possibility of allowing traffic onto the line again.

Ferry plan

A spokesman said: "We are reviewing the feasibility of allowing road vehicles to use a short section of railway as a diversionary route.

"There are number of factors to be considered and we will need to be sure that the proposal poses no risk to safety or damage to the railway before a decision can be made."

Highland Council said it was also hoping to hire two ferries to help ease travel in the area.

Image caption The first landslide on the A890 happened on 22 December

The local authority has proposed bringing in a 61-passenger ferry to operate between North Strome, near Lochcarron, and Plockton from the middle of next week.

Before its introduction the slipways to be used will be checked and floodlighting will be installed.

A six-car ferry could also operate between North and South Strome.

The council said travel would be restricted to vehicles under 10-tonnes and priority would be given to emergency vehicles and local traffic.

The section of A890 in Wester Ross has been shut since 22 December.

More than 100 tonnes of rock came down on the Lochcarron to Kyle road at Stromeferry.

There was a further landslide a few days later.

The B9176 Struie road at Newbridge in Easter Ross has also been closed by a landslide since Tuesday.

Highland Council said that section of road would remain shut over the weekend.

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