Subscriber's story of great steam train journeys published

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25 March 2011
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imports_WRI_0-90t2t0uz-100000_52193.jpg Subscriber's story of great steam train journeys published
Anne-Mary Paterson, a Writers’ News member, is delighted to announce the publication by the Highland Railway Society of her book Pioneers of the Highland Tracks, who were involved with the design and building of most railways radiating from Inverness, including one of the Great Train Journeys of the World. ...
Anne-Mary Paterson, a Writers’ News member, is delighted to announce the publication by the Highland Railway Society of her book Pioneers of the Highland Tracks, a biography of her great granduncles, William & Murdoch Paterson, who were involved with the design and building of most of the railways radiating from Inverness.

‘Initially I was going to write a biography of Murdoch, the much better known of the two brothers,’ she writes. ‘As I was living and working in Kent at the time, I could not give up enough time to do the research in Inverness. When I moved north, I started wondering why Murdoch chose civil engineering as a profession instead of farming like his father. I then discovered that his brother, William, already a qualified engineer, suggested he took up the profession. I already knew that William was a civil engineer but I had no idea he was involved with railways until I went on an outing to the Dava Way which follows the now closed railway from Forres to Grantown on Spey. When I crossed the Divie Viaduct I saw his name on the plate.

‘The arrival of the railway in Inverness in 1855 heralded the end of tedious travel from Inverness by stagecoach or ship. The new era in communication in the Scottish Highlands brought great prosperity to what was then a deprived area and an expansion of industries such as fishing, whisky distilling and forestry. My book is the story, never published before, of the lives of these two engineers involved in the design and building of railway track over some of the most difficult terrain in Britain.

‘Murdoch was responsible for the planning of the direct line from Aviemore to Inverness. This involved the very difficult passage through Slochd Summit and two large scale viaducts over the rivers Findhorn and Nairn. He also designed the Dingwall to Kyle of Lochalsh line, now considered one of the ‘Great Train Journeys of the World.’ His older brother William, less well known, carried out important work in the earlier days of the railways in the Scottish Highlands. The book weaves the continuing connection between the two, first as assistants to and then as partners of Joseph Mitchell, the moving spirit of Highland railways, and after that their careers on their own account.

‘The book opens with a glimpse into their forebears, an Episcopalian and Jacobite family caught up in the Battle of Culloden and its aftermath. After Murdoch, a number of other family members took up civil engineering including my father. The book ends with a brief account to their careers.’
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