Nostalgia: Miniature railway

Ettrick Bay's miniature railway. (Contributed by John Watson)
Ettrick Bay's miniature railway. (Contributed by John Watson)

For this week’s trip into the archives we continue the recent theme of island transport with a picture contributed by reader John Watson showing the miniature railway which once ran behind the old pavilion at Ettrick Bay.

The railway started running, on a circular track which included a tunnel, in June 1936, just four months before the last Bute tram services ran to and from the beach - the railway presumably being seen as an added attraction to persuade visitors to go to Ettrick Bay even without the excitement of a trip on a tram - though the outbreak of the Second World War and the resulting impact on tourism on the island led to the attraction being closed and dismantled in 1943. R

emarkably, though the railway itself was fairly short-lived, the engine, named Samson, survives, and can still be seen in the Strumpshaw Steam Museum in Norfolk.

The only person in the picture John is able to name is a John MacPhail, the gentleman in the flat cap: if you recognise any family members among the other faces, we’d love to hear from you!