Jack drifts down towards Leadhills station © Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011 Another trip to Edinburgh presented itself in early September, this time with wife and family. Daughter would be staying overnight in her  brother's flat, leaving the good lady and me with freedom of movement  while they headed for the "Dali" exhibition. Only a year or two ago, they would have been far more interested in a "Dalek" exhibition.... The Almond Valley Railway is a 2' 6" gauge railway which has been developed at the Almond Valley Heritage Centre at Livingston.  The Scottish new town was built in the area once famous for its oil industry - oil shale was mined and processed in the area until the 1960s.  Under development on the site is a museum based on the industry; one of the exhibits will be a 2'6" gauge overhead electric locomotive built in 1902 by the US company Baldwin, which worked in the area. The Baldwin was not snappable; however several other locos were on display at the station, or available to view in and behind the shed. The day's driver was most helpful in enabling me to get some of the pictures. We had a ride along the short but pleasant route to Almondhaugh station, where  a weir diverts the "lade" for the mill around which the agricultural parts of the museum are based. We walked back, taking the opportunity for one or two pictures of the train en-route (the aforementioned mill stream preventing too much freedom of movement for photography....). Link: Almond Valley Heritage Centre AB 557/70 at Almondhaugh station Almond Valley Geese... The return journey Return to Almond Valley BV 1143/76 at the shed Stationary engine, Almond Valley Heritage Centre HE 2270/40 "on shed" SMH & GB at Almond Valley We stayed overnight at South Queensferry, for an excellent meal and some more of that rather nice "Deuchar's" ale at the Hawes Inn. And just look at the view we had from our hotel room window.... After a good breakfast, it was back to Edinburgh to pick up daughter, and away southwards towards the M74. Instead of joining the motorway, however, we drove down through Abington, there taking the road to Leadhills, high in the Lowther Hills. The 2' gauge railway here is being built on the trackbed of the standard gauge line opened in 1901, the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway. Built by the Caledonian Railway, it was closed completely by the LMS at the end of 1938. Its narrow gauge successor is based at Leadhills station, and extends westwards to the summit on the county boundary, currently the limit of the track. The summit, at 1498' above sea level, marks the highest point in the UK reached by adhesion- only passenger trains. The ultimate intention is to get trains through to Wanlockhead, though this will require some negotiation before it can be completed. Today's locomotive was "Clyde", Hunslet 6347 of 1975, hauling / propelling a rake of three smartly-liveried coaches. We took the short ride through the wild hill country to the summit station at Glengonnar, passing on the way some of the remains of the lead mines which were the line's raison d'etre. At the summit the driver and guard gave us a short explanation of the aims and objectives of the project. My daughter, who has become rather familiar with train rides which are just that, was particularly impressed, especially by the honest comment that "we're only playing trains"! A quick guided tour of the loco shed was available on return to Leadhills. Resident today were "Luce" RH7002/0467/6 of 1966, "Nith" HC DM1002 of 1956, "Elvan" MR9792 of 1955, "Little Clyde" RH7002/0467/6 of 1966, and the line's only steam loco, Orenstein & Koppel 6335 of 1913 (currently undergoing rebuilding following some years of inactivity). I had met either "Luce" or "Little Clyde" before (I don't know which), when I found it working on a contract in Southampton (BR) tunnel in 1983, and, oddly one of the line's brake vans, when it was a derelict Motor Rail at Moodiesburn peat works near Glenboig. It's nice to meet old friends again! Lastly we paid a visit to the shop, before heading back for the M74 and home. This had been a most interesting and enjoyable interlude, made more enjoyable by the friendly and informative staff. Highly recommended for a stop if you're ever heading up (or down) the road between Carlisle and Glasgow during the operating season. Link: Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway 66 192 in the morning light, Forth Bridge MR "Elvan", OK 6335 & RH "Little Clyde" RH "Luce" and HC "Nith" in the loco shed Leadhills signal box Clyde and train trundle past the remains of Glengonnar mine Clyde approaches Leadhills Ready to return to Leadhills The summit, looking towards Wanlockhead Clyde and train at Leadhills station Clyde and train at Leadhills station