Strathspey Railway (preserved)

Strathspey Railway (preserved)

The Strathspey Railway (SR) in Badenoch and Strathspey, Highland, Scotland, operates a 10 mile (16 km) preserved railway from Aviemore to Broomhill via Boat of Garten, part of the former Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (later part of Highland Railway) which linked Aviemore with Forres.

The route

The Strathspey Railway operates from Network Rail's Aviemore railway station. Until 1998 the railway's southern terminus was "Aviemore Speyside" about 300 yards further north. Aviemore Speyside is no longer in regular use, though it has been retained as a fallback in case of problems with Network Rail.

From Aviemore, the line passes the four road locomotive shed which was constructed by the Highland Railway in 1898. The original purpose of the shed was to house locomotives for the Speyside line and for the lines to Perth and Inverness (via Carrbridge). It was common for original Highland Railway engines to be allocated to the shed and in London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) days it housed Stanier Black Fives, Pickersgill Bogies (Caledonian Railway), Caley 439 tanks, Caley 812 classes, and Fairburn tanks. In British Railways days the shed was allocated the shed code '60B'. These days the engines that are in traffic on the Strathspey Railway (SR) bear the 60B shedplate on their smokebox. There is also a carriage maintenance shed which was erected and opened for use in 2005. This shed allows the railway's volunteers and staff to work on the railway's fleet of coaches indoors.

The former enginemens' hostel called 'Spey Lodge' also stands at this location. This building has now reverted to its original use of housing locomotive crews and other railways volunteers. This building was erected by the LMS during the Second World War to allow railway crews a safe and cheap option for accommodation after they had finished working on their trains for the day. It was saved by the Strathspey Railway Company during the 1970s.

After Spey Lodge, the railway crosses Dalfaber Level Crossing. This level crossing was not originally part of the railway but was installed after the development of the Dalfaber Estate in the 1980s.

Boat of Garten

The extensive Boat of Garten station features its original buildings. It was originally a parallel junction between the Highland Railway's main line from Perth to Forres and the Great North of Scotland Railway's (GNSR) branch to Craigellachie - this was the original Strathspey Railway, the company being a subsidiary of the GNSR. Today there are two passenger platforms and the yard stores the majority of the SR's rolling stock.

From Boat of Garten northwards, track had been lifted and structures demolished by British Rail in the 1960s. The tracks to Craigellachie and Grantown had left the station extending in a double track formation as far as Croftnahaven, where the GNSR line turned sharply South-East and crossed the River Spey. This curious arrangement was adopted because a signal box for a junction here was deemed too expensive.

Leaving Boat of Garten, trains cross the road on the new single track box-girder bridge and pass the site of the original GNSR engine shed, long demolished it is now the site of a permanent way depot. The railway passes though mainly farmland on the re-laid track, which was mostly recovered from Kincardine power station in Fife in the 1990s.

Boat of Garten also has the railway's only water column where the locomotives stop to take water on their way north through the station. Locomotives are normally coaled during the morning, on the south side of the station. This is currently the only station with operational signalling and has two signal boxes: Boat of Garten North and Boat of Garten South. It uses traditional British Railways mechanical semaphore signals.

Most of what visitors to the railway see today is original from the days of British Railways. The main layout of the station has not been altered significantly, with the exception of two new coal sidings which have been installed on the east side of the station and the creation of an extensive yard behind the signal box. One turnout was removed that would have allowed access to the yard without having to access the headshunt, there are no plans to re-install the turnout.


The line reaches its current terminus at Broomhill, in countryside roughly half-way between the villages of Nethy Bridge and Dulnain Bridge. The replica station building has been reconstructed on the foundations of the original. The run-round loop is beyond the station. It is anticipated that this will be removed when the extension to Grantown is complete. Broomhill is used as the station for Glenbogle, in the BBC series "Monarch of the Glen".

Future extension

In July 2006, the Scottish Executive made a firm commitment to re-aligning the A95 at Gaich, near Grantown. This move would allow the extension of the SR to Grantown along the former line to Dava and Forres. Track has been gifted for this project from the lifted Stirling to Alloa railway that is currently being relaid for a new passenger service. []

The BBC reported that the £2.9m road scheme would involve the rail line going under the A95. Transport Minister, Tavish Scott, said the project would be ready for construction by 2008/9 and funding had been allocated for 2009/10. Strathspey MP, Danny Alexander, speculated that the proposed rail link between Aviemore and Grantown would be good for tourism. []

By May 2007 the trackbed had been cleared north of the Broomhill loop as far as the bridge over the River Dulnain. New fencing, mileposts and drainage works were progressing and it was hoped for track laying to start later in 2008. Travelling by road along the A95 from Grantown towards Aviemore, new fencing marking the new track alignment could be seen.

Strathspey Railway Association

The role of the Strathspey Railway Association is to provide funding and volunteers to run the Strathspey Railway. It is the biggest shareholder in the Strathspey Railway Company, the organisation which owns the light rail orders and operates the railway.

Most of the people who work on the railway are volunteers belonging to the Association.

= Locomotives and rolling stock cite book | last = Sinclair | first = Neil T | coauthors = | title = Strathspey Railway Guide Book | publisher = Strathspey railway Company Ltd., UK | year = 2008] =

Diesel locomotives

*Andrew Barclay & Son, Kilmarnock 0-4-0DH (works no. 517 of 1966) "Power of Enterprise"
*BR 0-4-0 North British shunter no. D2774. Operational.
*BR 0-6-0 Class 08 no. D3605. Operational.
*BR 0-6-0 Class 97/6 no. 97651. Operational.
*BR Bo-Bo Class 26 no. 26002 (D5302) requiring repairs and currently in the yard at Boat of Garten.
*BR Bo-Bo Class 26 no. 26025 (D5325) requiring repairs and currently in the yard at Boat of Garten.
*BR Bo-Bo Class 27 27050 (D5394) (away for repairs at Bo'ness)
*BR A1A-A1A Class 31 31327 (D5862). In traffic following a repaint into BR green.
*North British Locomotive Co 0-4-0 DH shunter. Works no 27549 of 1956. Stored at Boat of Garten awaiting overhaul.
*Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 DM shunter. Works no 265618 of 1948. Queen Anne whisky livery. Stored out of use at Aviemore.
*Ruston & Hornsby 0-4-0 DM shunter. Works no 260756 of 1950. Stored out of use.

Diesel Multiple Unit Cars

*BR Class 107 DMBS Sc51990. In service.
*BR Class 107 MBS Sc52008. In service.
*BR Class 107 DMS Sc52030. Awaiting restoration.
*BR Class 114 DTC E54047. Out of service.
*BR Class 117 DMBS W51367. In service.
*BR Class 117 DMS W51402. In service.
*BR Class 117 TC W59511. Out of service.

Steam locomotives

*BR 2-6-0 Class 2MT no. 46512 "E. V. Cooper, Engineer". Built Swindon 1952. Out of service awaiting a heavy boiler overhaul and a general overhaul of the axleboxes/frames; boiler ready to be lifted but more funds required, work planned to start once 828 is finished.
*Wemyss Private Railway 0-6-0T no. 17, built by Andrew Barclay & Son, Kilmarnock 1935 (works number 2017). Out of service, needs new tyres fitted and work carried out on the motion; planned to be back in traffic sometime in 2008, boiler ticket expires in 2015.
*Caledonian Railway 0-6-0 812 Class no. 828 (17566, BR 57566). Undergoing overhaul with the engine recently becoming a rolling chassis, planned to be in service in 2008.
*LMS 4-6-0 Class 5MT no. 5025 (45025). Stored at Aviemore awaiting overhaul, but funds being raised.
*WD 0-6-0ST Austerity no. 9. Built Roberts Stephenson Hawthorn 1943 (works number 7097). In service, boiler ticket expires in 2018.
*WD 0-6-0ST Austerity no. 48, built by Hunslet in 1943 (works number 2864). Stored at Aviemore awaiting major overhaul.
*WD 0-6-0ST Austerity no. 60, built 1948 by Hunslet (works number 3686). Dismantled for major overhaul.
*WD 0-6-0ST Austerity no. 75008, built 1943 by Hunslet (works number 2857). Out of use - needs firebox repairing.
*Hunslet 0-6-0ST no. 3777, running in pseudo-BR livery as 68030. In service; on hire from the Churnet Valley Railway.
*Andrew Barclay & Son, Kilmarnock 0-6-0ST (works no. 1833 of 1924) no. 6 "Niddrie". Currently on display at Broomhill.
*Andrew Barclay & Son, Kilmarnock 0-4-0ST (works no. 2020 of 1936) no. 2 "Balmenach". On display at Boat of Garten.


*Aviemore railway station
*Aviemore (Speyside) railway station (closed)
*Boat of Garten railway station
*Broomhill railway station

Special events


August - City of Truro visit to the Strathspey Railway.


* 21/22 July - Steam Fair at Boat of Garten and Tractorfest at Broomhill
* 27/28 October - Wizard Weekend EventTwo train services in 2007 operate on 5/6, 26/27 May; 21/22/29 July; 5/12 August and 27/28 October.


* 28 March - Marie Curie Cancer Care Charter
* 24/25 May - Teddy Bears Weekend (2 train service)
* 14/15 June - Forties Weekend (2 train service)
* 1 July to 15 September - 34070 Manston visit to the Strathspey Railway - cancelled
* 19/20 July - Steam Fair at Boat of Garten and Tractorfest at Broomhill (2 train service)
* 25/26 October - Wizard Weekend (2 train service)Two train services also operate on 3/4 May, 27 July, 3/10 August.


External links

* [ Strathspey Railway website]
* [ Caledonian Engine 828's website]
* [ Strathspey Railway Association website]
* [ BBC News] BBC News article on the proposed extension

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