No, the photographs above are not of our railway layout - good though I like to think that is - hahaha!
They were, in fact, taken at Newtonmore Station in Scotland from where I have just returned, having spent last week there on holiday. We stayed in the old station buildings, seen in the top picture, which were sold as a private residence when the station became unstaffed in, I believe, the 1980s.
The station is on the Highland Main Line and is served by trains between Inverness and Glasgow/Edinburgh; plus there is also a weekly service to King's Cross (on Sundays) as well as a nightly Caledonian Sleeper service to and from London Euston.
Many of the trains (including quite a few freight trains) do not stop at this station and since, as you can see, the accommodation is situated rather close to the line, you definitely feel and hear them as they thunder by.
This might alarm many people but it is actually great fun to live so close to a railway line and, personally, I would much rather live here than beside a road since, in between the infrequent trains, it is a very peaceful location indeed.
The train in the lower photograph is the Highland Chieftain which runs daily between King's Cross and Inverness. This train stops at Newtonmore on Sundays but, on every other day of the week (as here), it races through non-stop. The route of The Highland Chieftain is one of the longest in Britain at 581 miles and the journey takes around eight hours. Each day the north-bound Highland Chieftain departs King's Cross at 12:00 (12:30 on Sundays) while the south-bound train departs Inverness at 07:55 (09:40 on Sundays).
As for Newtonmore itself it is only a small town set amidst the mountains just south of Aviemore and, being fairly central, it is conveniently located for easy access to most places of interest in Scotland.
To be honest, the holiday proved to be something of a rail fest for us since we also took a trip on The Jacobite Steam Rail Tour, between Fort William and Mallaig, as well as a ride on a (more boring) Class 158 between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh. Both of these rail journeys are amongst the best in the world with amazing scenery and, if you have not travelled along either route already, I can highly recommend that you do so. The steam journey to Mallaig is especially awesome!
I will cover these trips, as well as other rail-related holiday items, in future postings.