With a mostly single-track line twisting, rising and falling through breathtaking areas of the Highlands where no roads were ever built, it is perhaps no surprise that it was once voted the world's greatest train journey.

The West Highland Line, which starts in Helensburgh and runs to Oban and Mallaig, including stops at Helensburgh Upper, Garelochhead, Arrochar & Tarbet and Ardlui, opened in 1894 and was among the last major British railway projects as well as one of the most complex.

Highlights include the Glenfinnan viaduct, featured in the Harry Potter Movies, the magnificent Horse Shoe Curve that enters, circles and leaves the glen beneath Ben Dorain and the spectacular steep-sided Monessie Gorge that takes passengers dauntingly close to the fast-flowing River Spean.

Westward to Oban the train sweeps along the north edge of Loch Awe, in the shadow of Ben Cruachan and visitors are alerted to Kilchurn Castle, a 15th-century ruin at the head of Loch Awe.

With no shortage of passenger traffic during the Summer months and around 500,000 journeys each year, plans are afoot which it is hoped will benefit more of the businesses along the route.

An audible tour has been created for tourists offering historical insights, local stories and interesting facts about the landmarks and attractions along the way.

Helensburgh Advertiser:

As well as enriching the passenger experience, it is hoped that the tour, which is part of a national pilot, will also reap benefits for local tourism, replicating the effect of the North Coast 500 road route, which provided an additional £13.4m in sales for businesses in the first few years after it was launched.

Rail passengers will be directed to points of interest along the route including Arrochar and Tarbet for Loch Lomond cruises or Crianlarich, Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy to join the West Highland Way.

Arisaig, on the Mallaig stretch, is singled out for views of Rum and Eigg and walks along the shore of Loch Nan Ceall.

We know that stories drive footfall - Shaon Talukder, founder and chief executive of Geotourist

Created by Geotourist, which translates tours into 40 languages, audio is triggered as users walk with GPS route mapping and other tours created include one showcasing destinations used in the time-travelling drama Outlander.

 The platform also allows people to book tickets on other tours and offers business discounts. 

Helensburgh Advertiser:

The tour is available on the ScotRail website and through Geotourist's mobile app.

Those behind it said it will provide valuable insight into the activities of passengers that board the train at Glasgow Queen Street or the stations beyond. 

The results will be published in an industry report, authored by Dr Keith Dinnie of the University of Dundee and Geotourist, which will be used to direct future tourism plans for the area.

Shaon Talukder, founder and chief executive of Geotourist said: “Often people go past these places without realising what is nearby and what we are trying to do with our platform is to make visible what is invisible.

"Using the mapping that we have created with those stories that are connected suddenly you will be able to visualise what is around you and make important decisions about whether you are interested in stopping off.

"Anecdotally we know that stories drive footfall. 

"If you are using the GPS to guide you around, we will be able to measure the stories that people are engaging with in those locations."

Alasdair Smart, ScotRail Tourism Manager, added: “It’s important that we continue to work with our key partners on how we can boost tourism and bring wider economic benefits, along Scotland’s most scenic railways.

“We hope that the introduction of this tour will provide a welcome economic boost for rural communities, as tourists stop off and explore some of the sights and landmarks signposted along the way."

Helensburgh Advertiser:

"Alongside the practical and business-focused outcomes of the project, we must not forget the storytelling experience which connects visitors to the world around them.” 

The West Highland Line was built in two phases; the section from Craigendoran to Fort William was begun in 1889 and completed in 1894, while work on the extension to Mallaig began in 1897 and this section opened in 1901. 

There was once a branch from Spean Bridge to a pier at Fort Augustus but this closed in 1946. 

The line posed considerable engineering difficulties in its construction, crossing the Rannoch Moor and comprising some 350 bridges, viaducts and sheep creeps, a number of tunnels and several snow shelters. 

Helensburgh Advertiser:

The route was designed by Charles Forman (1852 - 1901), of the Glasgow-based firm of Formans & McCall, who later discovered that it almost exactly mirrored the path of a road that had been proposed by Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834) in the early 19th century but was never built.

The most significant engineering works on the line are the Glenfinnan Viaduct the Rannoch Viaduct and the Loch Treig Tunnel.

The section of track across Rannoch Moor floats on a carpet of brushwood, the engineers having found it impracticable to sink foundations through the great thickness of peat.

The contractor was Sir Robert McAlpine (1847 - 1934), known as 'Concrete Bob', who used concrete in the construction of the line, which was a novel material at the time.