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Formartine and Buchan Railway

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Introduction
Local area
Chronology

Locations
Dyce
Strabathie Light Railway
Parkhill
Elrick
Newmachar
Udny
Logierieve
Esslemont
Ellon
Arnage
Auchnagatt
Maud Junction
New Pitsligo Light Railway
Mintlaw
Longside
Lenabo
Newseat
Inverugie
Peterhead
Peterhead Harbour
Peterhead Quarry Railway
Brucklay
Strichen
Mormond
Lonmay
Rathen
Philorth
Fraserburgh

This site
Great North of Scotland Railway
Boddam branch (GNSR)
St. Combs Light Railway

Other sites
ScotRail
Buchan Countryside Group


Formartine and Buchan Railway

This railway is closed. The railway provided a service to Fraserburgh and Peterhead from Aberdeen (Dyce). Typically this consisted of three trains in each direction daily. Further lines were built to St Combs (closed) and to Boddam (also closed). Below is shown the locomotive shed at Fraserburgh.

Survey To be entered
Engineers To be entered
Act 23 July 1858
Contractors To be entered
Opened 18 July 1861
Closed 6 October 1979
Clickable map of the Formartine and Buchan Railway

Local area 

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This line runs through farmland to the north of Aberdeen. Fraserburgh and Peterhead were, and are, major fishing ports leading to tremendous fish traffic travelling by rail.

Chronology

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Description of route 

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Ballast near ParkhillThe main line of the Formartine and Buchan Railway left the Great North of Scotland Railway at Dyce Junction, just south of Dyce station. The line ran from thence to Peterhead. A branch was provided from Maud Junction to Fraserburgh. Trains to Peterhead and Fraserburgh used to divide in the sidings to the south of Maud Junction. In later years a further line, the Boddam branch was built from Ellon and the St. Combs Light Railway was built from Fraserburgh to St. Combs. A long siding was provided to RNAS Lenabo during the Great War period.  

Until British Railways were created in 1948 the line to Peterhead was the main line and the Fraserburgh section was the branch. After 1948 this was reversed. 

In 1880 Lord Haddo's Railway was proposed. This line was never built. The route would have been from Udny to Maud via Tawes and New Deer. 

Today the remains of the railway have become the Formartine and Buchan Walkway. The picture to the right shows a remaining section of ballast just to the south of Parkhill. The rest of the route will soon be surfaced and suitable for walking and cycling. 

Dyce Junction 

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This station was the junction for the Formartine and Buchan Railway. This station has been re-opened on the Aberdeen to Inverness railway. Orginally this station had four platforms has now only two, the Formartine and Buchan platforms now forming the car-park. On of the station buildings remains, in use as a shop, on the remains of the eastern-most platform. The lines of the closed platforms can be detected underneath the gravel of the car-park and at the south end the ends of the platforms are visible by the signal box. Please also see the entry for the GNSR main line. 

Strabathie Light Railway 

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This line was also known as the "Murcar Railway". 

The line ran from Bridge of Don to the Seaton Brick and Tile Company's Blackdog brickworks. It was used for both Passengers and freight. The line was used by the Murcar Gold Club. The line was opened in 1899 and closed North of the Murcar Golf Club clubhouse in 1924. It closed completed in 1949. 

Parkhill 

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This station was closed in 1950. As a result its remains are not in a good state of preservation. Two staggered platforms and a loading bank can be found. The tracks were double from here to Elrick Signal Box. The trackbed has been converted into the Formartine and Buchan Walkway. There is a car-park provided to the west of the station remains. From the carpark one enters facing the up platform. The down platform is a little further north. The goods yard is now part of a house's garden to the west of the line behind the down platform. The photograph to the left shows the view looking North and the photograph to the right the view looking South. 

Elrick Signal Box

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This was closed in 1925 when the track between Parkhill and Elrick was singled. I am unsure of the exact location of the box. (To the south of the now removed road bridge at Elrick?) This box was named after a local "big house". From this point on the track was single. The formation of the track is still visible. The photograph shows the trackbed near to the probable site of the signal box. The bridge passes over a farm-road and is single track width. 

Newmachar 

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This station still has its building. This building is shown in the photograph to the left. The down platform has screens placed along it to stop walkers from getting a full view of the old buildings.  The down platform has been hollowed out to enlarge the gardens of the neighbouring houses. The up platform is in a good state of repair, although rather overgrown. The up platform still has lamp standards. 

There is a car-park to the north of the station for access to the Formartine and Buchan Walkway. Further to the north you can walk through the cutting where a number of trains became stuck in deep snow-drifts. It's not difficult to see why. A photograph of the cutting is shown to the right. 

Udny 

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The remains of this station are located in the quiet town of Udny Station. Before closure of the line the station building, on the up platform, was demolished to make way for close-packed housing. Following closure the goods-yard has now been converted into a play park. The lengthy platforms remain and the station still bears a resemblance to its operational appearance. There is no car-park here but access can be gained by a farm-track to the north-west of the road bridge. The photograph shows the view looking North from the down platform. The fence runs along the top of the up platform. To the south of this point the remains of the signal box can be found. 

Logierieve 

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The platforms remain along with the station building (now a residence and fenced off from the line). There is no pedestrian access. There is no car-parking available in the area. The photograph show the view from a roadbridge to the north of the station. The station building is to the left of the platform. 

Esslemont 

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Since the loop at this station was removed in 1919 the up platform has disintegrated more than the down platform. The station building is now in use as a house. The garden sports a loading bank. The photograph shows the building on the Down platform. The photograph was taken from the up platform. 

There is no official parking in the area but may be found on the grass verges on the road to the north of the station. 

Ellon 

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This station was the junction for the Boddam branch. The station, at its height, had three platforms and a substancial goods yard. The main platforms have survived. The up platform was the west face of an island platform. The other side of the island was for the branch trains. Although the island is now preserved as a garden for the flats now built on the down platform its branch side is broken down and topped with a fence. The south end of the platforms is shown in the photograph to the left. Behind the fence there are industrial premises where the goods yard was. The base of the water tank exists to the north of the station. This is shown in the photograph to the right. No buildings survive. The lower photograph on the right shows the view looking South from by the Water tank at the North end. The branch was off to the extreme right. Some portions of the platform at the North end are in excellent condition and exhibit worn surfaces from use. 

There is meant to be official Formartine and Buchan Walkway parking here, but I couldn't find it. There are vistors parking places for the flats and a hotel. 

Arnage 

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The platforms at this station are now overgrown, but survive. The goods yard now forms the garden of the station building, following conversion to a house. The photograph shows the station looking North. The up platform is on the Right and a little further away, by the building, is the down platform. The loading bank is to the extreme left. 

There is no car parking available nearby. 

Auchnagatt 

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The platforms have survived well and still sport lamp stands. The station building is in use as a house. A few new buildings have been built alongside the station building. The photograph to the left shows the station from the up platform and the photograph to the right shows the station from the main road. 

There is no official car parking available nearby. Although it is possible to use the verges on a road nearby. 

Maud Junction 

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This station has been known variously as Banks, Brucklay, Maud and Maud Junction. 

This was the junction between the Peterhead and Fraserburgh sections. Trains for Peterhead and Fraserburgh used to divide and join in the sidings to the south of the station. The Westernmost platform (for Fraserburgh) was not often used by passenger trains. This station had tearooms and a buffet. 

In 1915 An electric light railway to Turriff was proposed. This line would have not had physical connection with the Formatine and Buchan Railway or the Banff, Macduff and Turriff Junction Railway. 

Until closure of the line the station retained a passing loop and there were sidings which were gravity shunted. Shortly before closure large numbers of pipes for use in the North Sea Oil Industry arrived here for dispatch by road. 

The station still has four platforms and a station building, now used as commerical premises for a number of concerns, including a railway museum. Generally the station is in excellent condition and looks as if the rails were recently lifted. The turntable pit can be found in the undergrowth to the west side of the junction. The large photograph show the turntable pit and station looking from the South-West. The photograph to the left shows the Peterhead platforms and the photograph to the right shows the Fraserburgh platforms. Also visible in the photograph to the right is the base of the Maud North Signal Box. Car parking is behind the fence to the right. 

There is plenty of official car-parking available at this station. 

New Pitsligo Light Railway 

This light Railway ran from the mosslands and was used for transporting cut peats. 

Mintlaw 

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This station was originally intended to be the junction for Fraserburgh. The station was originally called "Mintlaw and Old Deer". 

The station survives near the hotel to the west of the town of Mintlaw. The two platforms and station building are in reasonable, although uncared for, condition. Presently the station is an overgrown corner of an industrial estate. The photograph shows the building from the down platform. The building has been partially destroyed by fire since the photograph was taken.

There was a halt nearby called "Abbey of Deer".

It is possible to park in the short road which approaches the station from the south. 

Longside 

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This station has been converted into a house. This was the junction for the RNAS Lenabo. Some portions of this branch are still visable. The branch led away to the right background in the photograph. 

The two platforms survive along with the station building. The down platform has gained a number of other houses since closure.  

There is no car-parking nearby. 

Lenabo 

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The Lenabo branch was built by the Great North of Scotland Railway in connection with the Royal Naval Airship Depot at Lenabo which operated Airships (for locating enemy submarines) to protect the fleet based at Scapa Flow during the First World War. The sidings at Lenabo included a passenger platform. The Cruden Brick Company (near Cruden Bay) supplied some of the construction materials. 

This area is now forested. Some concrete bases from buildings can be found amongst the trees. 

Newseat 

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The station survives as a house. The platform also survives. The photograph shows the platform and building (the nearby building is new) looking East from the roadbridge. 

There is no parking nearby. 

Inverugie 

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The station here is mostly gone but a hump of the platform remains. The photograph shows the remains of a level crossing between Inverugie and Peterhead. The view looks to the East. The gates and posts remain in place. 

Peterhead 

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The station building had two platforms (one covered in a train shed). There was a good yard to either side of the passenger station. Sidings existed for the slaughterhouse nearby the station.  

The station was demolished completely. On the site there may now be found a school and swimming baths. The photograph shows the total destruction. The view looks East

Peterhead Harbour 

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The harbour remains busy today. One building remains in Wilson Street.  

Peterhead Quarry Railway 

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The railway was built from Stirling Quarry (Boddam) to the South Breakwater at Peterhead. A portion later took the line to the North Breakwater at Peterhead. Prison labour was used to construct the new Admiralty breakwater. The line carried both  Passengers and Freight. No connection existed between this line and the Peterhead section of the Formartine and Buchan Railway or the Boddam Branch (GNSR). Three signal cabins existed along the route and were used between 1889 and 1920 (approximately). The North Breakwater line was built around 1910. The line was dismantled between 1950 and 1958. 

This line has been largely landscaped. Portions of an overbridge survive on the main route south from Peterhead. 

Brucklay 

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The station survives, with its down platform, as a house. The up platform is now a long low mound. 

This section of the Formartine and Buchan Way was recently opened from Aucorthie. It is interesting that the Fraserburgh section should open after the Peterhead section; history repeating itself. The photograph shows the station looking from the South. 

Strichen 

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Two platforms and a station building remain at this site. The trackbed to the North end of the station has been destroyed to make an road entry to a roads depot. The photograph shows the station, looking from the South. A number of platform lampstandards remain, one shown in the photograph. 

Car parking is available in the village.

Mormond 

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The station is now used as a house. The trackbed, to the dismay of the owners, has just been converted into a walkway. The owners are likely to place a screen along the platform (which they own most of). The photograph shows the station from the south. There was quarry nearby which was rail-served.

Car parking is available near the station for one or two cars (to the south end of the station). 

Lonmay 

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Two platforms remain at this site. The photograph shows the station's remains, looking North. A number of lamp standards remain but the buildings have been demolished. The remains of a typical station driveway for turning carriages remains. 

Car parking is available in the nearby road for a few cars. 

Rathen 

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The road bridge at this station has been infilled. The trackbed walkway to the south is still undergoing construction (3/2/1997). The station building and platform remain. The building is in use as a house. The platform is used to store fishing equipment (nets, buoys etc). The photograph shows the station from the south. 

There is no parking nearby. 

Philorth 

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This was a private station for Lord Saltoun. 

The station building and platform remain in a good state of repair. The trackbed is an official walkway at this point. Part of the station name board remains. The building is in use as a house. The photograph shows the station from the south. Portions of the level crossing gates can be seen on the right. 

There is no official parking at this site but is possible on the verges of the main road nearby.

Fraserburgh 

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The station used to comprise three platforms under a glazed roof and an extensive goods yard. Trains ran from here to Dyce Junction and St Combs. The photograph to the right shows the site of the station platforms. Sidings existed to the south west of the station for the Consolidated Pneumatic Tool Company. 

The station was demolished and today a road uses the trackbed from the station site to the junction with the St Combs line. The old station yard is used by many fisheries companies for building premises. The goods handling area is shown in the photograph to the left; the area is now used as a truck park. The locomotive shed remains and is used by a fish packing company for storage space. At least the fishing industry has survived. 

Parking is available on the streets of the industrial estate occupying the station yard site. 

Ordnance Survey Grid References 

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1. NJ.884.128 DYCE (X Miles)
2. NJ.890.145 PARKHILL
3. NJ.894.180 Elrick
4. NJ.889.203 NEWMACHAR
5. NJ.907.243 UDNY
6. NJ.922.269 LOGIERIEVE
7. NJ.934.288 ESSLEMONT
8. NJ.950.309 ELLON
9. NJ.933.361 ARNAGE
10. NJ.931.418 AUCHNAGATT
11. NJ.926.479 MAUD
12. NJ.988.485 MINTLAW
13. NK.039.479 LONGSIDE
14. NK.023.479 LENABO
15. NK.078 481 NEWSEAT
16. NK.098.474 INVERUGIE
17. NK.127.467 PETERHEAD
18. NJ.926.505 BRUCKLAY
19. NJ.949.549 STRICHEN
20. NJ.985.559 MORMOND
21. NK.014.587 LONMAY
22. NK.016.625 RATHEN
23. NK.006.647 PHILORTH
24. NJ.997.667 FRASERBURGH

Acknowledgements

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My thanks to Stuart Johnson for some updates, comments and spelling corrections. You can visit his site by following this link for the Buchan Countryside Group.


Page created on 30/01/1998
Page last edited on: 11/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford