This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Back to Latest Red Wheel Site

“Anderson's Piano”, Pass of Brander Stone Signals

A signalling system to detect rockfalls along the railway through the Pass of Brander in Argyll.


Region:
Argyll & Bute
Red Wheel Site:
Yes
Transport Mode(s):
Rail
Address:

Falls of Cruachan Stationoff A85, Argyll & Bute

Postcode:
PA33 1AN
Visitor Centre:
Yes
Website:

About “Anderson's Piano”, Pass of Brander Stone Signals

Constructor : John Anderson
Anderson was secretary of the Callander & Oban Railway, and devised this system to detect rockfalls. As subsequently expanded, a total of seventeen semaphore signal pairs are linked to a screen of wires which, if broken, will return the signal arms to danger. The nickname derives from the whistling sound which is said to be made by the wind blowing through the wires.
The first length of screen was brought into use in January 1882. It was 1,112 yards (1,017 m) in length and there were four associated signals. In April 1883, the screen was extended at both ends, bringing its total length to 5,659 yards (5,175 m). The final extension, at the west end, was made in September 1913, increasing the length to 7,054 yards (6,450 m) - just over four miles (6.5 km). The system has defied replacement because modern computerised detectors are too sensitive. There was a second smaller installation at Craignaculloch by Loch Lubnaig on the eastern section of the line that closed in 1965

Photo Credits: Gavin Morrison; Rosser1954; FelixTrain at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons; John Yellowless, James Wilkin - with thanks.

The National Transport Trust Red Wheel plaque at this site was funded by Friends of the West Highland Lines - local enthusiasts including "Station Adopter" James Wilkin, with the support of Network Rail and their contractors AMCO Giffen - seen here erecting the plaque on 18th July 2021. 20210715 1159361

 

20210718 0933241

Shortly after the plaque was erected, Michael Portillo and the "Great British Railway Journeys" Freemantle TV crew visited on 23rd July 2021 - including Series Producer, Alison Krebs - seen in the gallery photo with James Wilkin.

The plaque was formally unveiled at a ceremony on 9th September 2021 by National Transport Trust Vice President, John Cameron, at Falls of Cruachan Station.

The plaque was funded by the Friends of the West Highland Lines.

John Cameron at the unveiling ceremony

 

Red Wheel and Friends plaque

Best viewed from the platform at Falls of Cruachan Station or through the windows of a train. 

Cruachan Power Station, nearby, has a visitor centre which gives discounted admission to those arriving by public transport.

Stone signals in the Pass of Brander description and photograph
• Thomas, John (1966). The Callander and Oban Railway. Newton Abbot England: David and Charles. p. 83.
• "Boulder derails train". The Times (50525): 2. 9 August 1946.
•  Dalton, Alastair. "Train driver tells of rocks on line before crash". The Scotsman. Retrieved 8 June 2010.

AndersonsPianoRAIL30Dec20

National Transport Trust, Old Bank House, 26 Station Approach, Hinchley Wood, Esher, Surrey KT10 0SR