Since medieval times, Crianlarich has been seen as an important crossroads. It was originally built around the meeting place of two military roads, but more recently it has become a major railway crossing as well as the crossroads where the A82 and A85 roads meet. Despite the many sign posts around the country, Crianlarich has remained a small village with a population of just under 300.
In the past 50 years, many railways in Scotland have sadly closed, but Crianlarich remains one of the major crossing points in the Scottish rail network. At one point there were two stations in Crianlarich; the Upper Station for the West Highland Line which ran from Glasgow to Fort William, and the Lower Station for the Callander to Oban line.
The Upper Station was opened in 1894 fully equipped with a stylish dining room on the platform. The original platform buildings were destroyed by a fire in 1962, but the 13 berth engine shed still remains and is protected as a listed building. Trains still pass through this station today, travelling from Glasgow to either Oban or Fort William. A small tearoom now serves the station and is very popular with passengers.
Unfortunately, the lower station no longer exisits, and the village hall now stands in it’s place on the Main Street. This station originally opened in 1873 to serve the Callander to Oban line which passed through nearby Killin. It once boasted two platforms, but only one was in operation as of 1921. Many railway stations were under threat of closure throughout the 20th century, and unfortunately this lower station was closed down in 1965 after the Callander to Oban line was put out of operation due to a landslide in Glen Ogle.
As a result of the village’s rail history, Crianlarich is home to some great feats of engineering such as the two viaducts which run through it’s centre. The Glenbruar viaduct was opened in 1894 and was built to carry the West Highland Line across the newer Callander- Oban line. The A85 now runs underneath it, but the viaduct is still in use to carry trains to Fort William. The stones used to build it were obtained from the nearby Ben Cruachan quarry and transported along the Callander- Oban line. The Fillan viaduct was also opened in 1894 and is very similar in style to the Glenbruar viaduct and carries trains across the River Fillan and towards Oban.
There are also some fine examples of traditional architecture in the village. The parish church is a beautiful red sandstone building with a pitched roof and traditional interior. There is also a stunning War memorial in the centre of the village, which commemorates the loss of local soldiers, mainly form WW1. The designer, Alexander Carrick (1882 - 1966), worked on buildings such as Eilean Donan Castle and St. Conan's Kirk beside Loch Awe. Nearby places such as Killin, Lochawe and Oban also feature similar War Memorials by the same artist. A smaller granite monument also exists in the village to commemorate a plane crash on nearby Ben More in 1973. The aircraft was on a routine test flight with no passengers on board, but sadly the captain and three crew members of BEA G-AOH all perished.
One of the most remarkable events in Crianlarich’s history is told by the Times from 1st January 1964, "The first crossing of the Irish Sea from west to east has been made by a young RAF navigator. Flying Officer Dmitri Sotov, a New Zealander aged 24, flew the 130 miles from RAF Ballykelly, co. Londonderry to Crianlarich, Perthshire, in an Olympic Two sailplane."