MAJOR disruption to rail services between Fort William and Glasgow on the West Highland Line is expected to last into next week.
Replacement bus services are in operation between Fort William and Glasgow’s Queen Street Station after torrential rain caused a freight train derailment near Tulloch and a landslip at Arrochar last Thursday.
First Scotrail say the busy line will not open fully until Tuesday, July 10, at the earliest.
The driver of the 24-wagon freight train, which left the tracks on the banks of Loch Treig in north-east Lochaber, had to be airlifted to safety by an RAF helicopter. He was shaken but uninjured and was taken to Fort William’s Belford Hospital to be checked over.
The Network Rail-led operation to recover the loco engine, which plunged about 30ft down an embankment, is continuing at the remote site between Tulloch and Corrour stations which has no road access. It is understood the engine may have to be completely broken up before it can be removed from the hillside.
The replacement road transport will operate between Queen Street and Fort William in both directions.
First ScotRail say passengers travelling to Tulloch, Roy Bridge and Spean Bridge from the Central Belt should stay on the coach to Fort William where a minibus will take them to their final destination.
Passengers travelling from Tulloch, Roy Bridge and Spean Bridge stations should use the station platform telephones to enable alternative transport arrangements to be arranged.
No alternative transport is being provided to or from Corrour and Rannoch stations and passengers are advised not to travel to or from either of them.
A ScotRail spokesman said: "Journey times may be extended by approximately 90 minutes due to the use of replacement road transport.
"Disruption is expected to last until 11.45pm on Tuesday, July 10.
"Journey times will be extended therefore passengers are advised to allow extra time for their journey."
The spokesman said the company was doing everything possible to assist customers and have extra staff on hand to help at stations.
Passengers, including those intending travelling on the Fort William-London Euston Caledonian Sleeper service, are advised to get up to date journey information via the First ScotRail website www.scotrail.co.uk