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Summits and railways

Just for a bit of fun…

In another thread I listed some OK summits that appear to be near railway stations. Now that I know where to find the data it’s not a big deal working up more associations. So I started nearer to home. I’m not going to tell you the answers right away. Who’s going to work it out themselves…?

  1. List the 3 GW summits within 1km of a railway station.

  2. List the 1 G summit within 1km of a railway station.

  3. There are no GM summits within 1km of a railway station, but which is closest?

  4. Which summit in each of G, GW and GM is furthest from a railway station?

Clue for 1 and 2 – we’re not just talking National Rail stations.

Answers later today.

If anybody else wants to join in I’ll do a couple of other associations. Nominations are welcome.

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Can we include closed railways, the tracks have been removed but the stations are still there, and can we include mineral railways?

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That’s a good question. The data are from OpenStreetMap. It picks up features tagged railway=station and railway=halt, but not I think railway=disused or railway=abandoned. This will make a difference for question 4 in G, possibly. Do any mineral railways have stations? In principle goods stations would count, if any still exist in G*? Isn’t it all just bulk transfers between bi-mode terminals and power stations nowadays?

One of the railways that came to mind is the now dismantled one that ran from Ballachulish to join the present railway at Connel, which I believe had a station at Lagnaha, about a km from WS-341. I remember that we used to go bouldering in its cuttings when Glencoe was being well watered!

Mineral railways was a broad category, it applied for instance to temporary railways built to take construction materials to major projects like dams, or carry quarry output to transport hubs. Did they have stations? They had termini and carried passengers but perhaps not paying passengers.

If so, that would have put it just a smidge over 1km from the summit, which would indeed put it in the winning slot by about 250m compared with the extant station that tops my list.

  1. List the WØC summit with a working railway station at the 14,000 foot peak.

Elliott, K6EL


Here’s a station that’s just under a mile from W0C/FR-199 :grinning:

GM/SS-218 ? 1286m away , it would be a steep way to do it though!

I had thought Aurthur’s Seat was a bit closer to Waverly than it seems to be!

Nice topic for a rainy afternoon.


So, here are the answers…

  1. For the three GW summits within 1km of a station in each case it is a scenic/preserved railway:
Ref Distance Summit Station Company
GW/NW-001 52 m Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa Summit Snowdon Mountain Railway
GW/NW-065 656 m Gamallt Abergynolwyn Talyllyn Railway
GW/NW-061 899 m Y Golfa Sylfaen Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway
  1. Likewise the closest in G. But for good measure here are the next two nearest as well.
Ref Distance Summit Station Company
G/LD-059 412 m Muncaster Fell Murthwaite Halt Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
G/LD-058 1454 m Arnside Knott [Arnside National Rail
G/WB-009 1507 m Worcestershire Beacon Great Malvern National Rail
  1. In GM, it’s one I’ve even done myself, except I cheated and was dropped off by car (again, 2nd and 3rd included as a bonus).
Distance Summit Station
1285 m Cruach Tairbeirt Arrochar and Tarbet
1367 m North Berwick Law North Berwick
1426 m Birnam Hill - King’s Seat Dunkeld and Birnam

What, there’s an easier way? :scream: Well done Alan.

GM/SS-272, Arthur’s Seat, comes in at 7th in the GM list with 1,974 m to Waverley.

  1. In GW and GM it is probably no surprise that respectively the mostly westerly and northerly island summits scoop this.
Ref Distance Summit Station
GW/NW-072 28.4 km Mynydd Enlli Pwllheli
Ref Distance Summit Station
GM/SI-157 294.7 km Saxa Vord Wick

By the way, Saxa Vord to Wick beats the St. Kilda summits to Mallaig by a good margin. Also it is a little bit further to LA than to Wick, so I didn’t miss a closer station there.

For G we would surely have a different answer but for Dr. Beeching.

Ref Distance Summit Station
G/SB-004 36.8 km Peel Fell Haltwhistle

I’m not sure where was the nearest station on the old Waverley route, but perhaps only about 10 km from Peel Fell.

Turning to Ireland, no GI summits are close. The best we can do is GI/SM-015, Binevenagh, at 2.6 km from Bellarena.

In EI more railway / summit fun is on offer as EI/IN-044, Scraigs, is 1.34 km from Fintown Railway. Sadly not this year though.

I’ve give time for somebody else to answer Elliott’s question…


@W0C/FR-004 Pikes Peak.

Think I’d rather thrash up the toll road :grinning:


Cool and I think Paul, HB9DST once shared that the Swiss SOTA folks have a list of all Swiss SOTA peaks that are accessible via mountain railroad, funicular, cable car or similar special equipment. Not sure if you have to be a Freemason to gain access to the list but it’s somewhere.

As I write this I realize all of the 10 or so peaks I have activated in Switzerland were accessible by bus and train. Not a phenomena you would run into in California.


The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the highest operating train in North America. I’ve heard that it’s shut down for maint/repairs until 2021 ?? I’ve seen videos of some serious train operations in India climbing mountains and using switchbacks to saw back and forth to make their ascent. Damn scary looking. I have had occasion to operate heavy trains on 2.5 percent grade and it’ll make your hind end cling the seat! :wink: There’s an old saying you run by the seat of your pants and nothing could be truer on heavy grade with heavy train! It’s enough of a pucker factor that I don’t miss - I have enough seniority that I run the desert out west - 2nd longest run on the west coast North America…

73, Todd KH2TJ
UP Hogger

It’s here on the HB9SOTA web site: https://hb9sota.ch/bahnli-gipfel/

However, this is just the tip of the iceberg here: If you enhance the criteria to “within reasonable walking distance of public transport” you’ll find hundreds of summits in HB9. René HB9CRY has documented SOTA summits reachable by by official hiking trails on his website https://www.sotatrails.ch/ (Only German language), all of which are reachable by public transport. This is a very good starting point for planning a SOTA vacation in HB9 without a car.

73 Jens HB9EKO)


Sounds like a very different scale to the little 2-foot line I help out on, Todd, the Ff&WHR. Our ruling grade, climbing up from the foot of GW/NW-014, is 1-in-40, which gives them quite a headache any time a restart is required part way up. Better hope the sanders are working well!

I’m not sure if you might be referring to the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Like Ff&WHR that’s not a cog railway, hence a lot of snaking about. We’ve had visits from one of the little B-class locos formerly on the DHR - very cute. Dwarfed by our big Garratt locos.

.Public transport around the GW/NW-001 is very much in the news here, because of the large numbers heading to GW/NW since the GW government relaxed lockdown. People have been filling the verges with illegally parked vehicles, some getting towed away and many fined, but a park-and-ride bus service is available nearby.

The Snowdon Mountain Railway is open but only to part way up, as they can’t open the summit buildings due to Covid. On the Ffestiniog they are also part open. You book a whole compartment for your group.

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Rode that train in 1978!!

Magical as was Darjeeling and 3 months traveling on trains in India.


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Thanks Jens. Lots of great peaks in Switzerland and transportation system that is virtually unrivaled.