RAILSCOT Logo
A History of Britain’s Railways
Search: 

Great North of Scotland Railway

Home Home   Mail me Contact

This page
Introduction
Local area
Chronology

Locations

This site
Highland Railway
Aberdeen Railway
Morayshire Railway
Deeside Railway
Inverury and Old Meldrum Junction Railway
Banff, Macduff and Turriff Junction Railway
Alford Valley Railway
Banff, Portsoy and Strathisla Railway
Deeside extension Railway
Formartine and Buchan Railway
Keith and Dufftown Railway

Morayshire Extension Railway
Strathspey Railway
Aboyne and Braemar Railway
Banffshire railway
Moray Coast Railway
Denburn Valley Line
Boddam branch
St. Combs Light Railway

Other sites
ScotRail


Great North of Scotland Railway

Portions of this railway provide a passenger and goods service operated by ScotRail between Aberdeen and Keith. The service extends from Keith to Inverness by the former Highland Railway. An intact branch to Dufftown exists but is currently unused. The station yard at Dufftown is used by the Keith and Dufftown Railway Association. The goods yard at Elgin was originally a Great North of Scotland Railway terminus 

The company owned and purchased a number of other local lines. All these lines are now closed. Some remain as long distance footpaths. The company is often referred to as the GNSR 

Survey To be entered
Engineers To be entered
Act To be entered
Contractors To be entered
Opened 19 September 1854
Closed No, save the branches

Keith and Dufftown Railway Formartine and Buchan Railway Alford Valley Railway Inverury and Old Meldrum Junction Railway Banff, Macduff and Turriff Junction Railway Banff and Strathisla Railway Buckie and Portessie Branch Denburn Valley Line Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway Clickable map of the Great North of Scotland Railway

Local area 

Top 

The line runs through mostly farmland between Aberdeen and Keith. Aberdeen is a large affluent city with a close association with the North Sea oil industry. There were a number of suburban stations here, all closed save for Dyce (which was re-opened). Dyce is where Aberdeen Airport is located. This airport sees much helicopter activity taking men to the off-shore oil-rigs.

The line continues to Inverurie which is a busy little town. The town was used by the GNSR for their works which were opened there at the beginning of the twentieth century on a greenfield site. Previously these had been based in Kittybrewster, Aberdeen but this site was fairly cramped. Some of the works buildings still stand but they no longer see use by the railway.

Insch is a pleasant small town with a 10th century vitrified fort on a nearby hill. The town is fairly sleepy only seeing activity when trains rumble across the level crossing here.

Huntly is another quiet town set in farmland.

Keith is a larger town which once had a sizeable railway station. There are a number of Distilleries here.

Chronology

Top

Description of route 

Top 

The Railway ran between Aberdeen Waterloo and Keith. The line was opened as single track, was gradually doubled and is now single track again with semaphore signaled passing loops.

Aberdeen Waterloo 

Top 

The original terminus of the GNSR was at Kittybrewster. This site proved inconvenient for the city and for transfers to the Aberdeen Railway. The line was extended to Waterloo (by Aberdeen Harbour) from Kittybrewster one year after initial opening. The original terminus at Kittybrewster was closed and a new station built on the extension. A horse operated tramway existed from Aberdeen Waterloo to Aberdeen Guild Street Transfers between the stations were inconvenient and connections often missed. The Denburn Valley Line was opened to ten years later to provide a railway connection between Kittybrewster and Aberdeen Joint station (by Guild Street) 

Kittybrewster (Old) 

Top

Today the branch for Waterloo (goods) leaves the railway at this point. The station is closed. 

When the line to Aberdeen Joint opened (the Denburn Valley Line) the station was reconstructed further to the West on the new line. There were locomotive sheds and goods handling facilities at this site. Latterly a set of Oil sidings existed but these have now been removed. Much of the trackbed surrounding the existing single track is now build on. 

Kittybrewster (Original)

Top 

This was the original Eastern terminus of the line. It was replaced when the line to Waterloo was opened and a replacement was constructed on the Waterloo extension. 

Don Street 

Top

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Woodside

Top

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Persley

Top

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Bucksburn

Top

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Bankhead 

Top 

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point.

Stoneywood

Top

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point.

[Photograph may show Bankhead]

Dyce 

Top 

This is the second station to bear the name of "Dyce". Dyce was the junction for the Formartine and Buchan Railway. Please see the entry for the F&BR. There were Carriage sidings to the south of the station and a second signal box on the F&BR to the north of the station. Today the station is used as a passing place.  

Pitmedden 

Top 

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Kinaldie 

Top 

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Kintore 

Top 

Kintore was the Junction for the Alford Valley Railway. The station consisted of three platforms; two through platforms and a bay platform for the branch trains. The station is now closed. The formation of the junction is currently still visible as is the goods yard (3/2/1997) however the site is soon to be redeveloped for housing. The railway is single track at this point. 

Port Elphinstone 

Top 

Port Elphinstone is still open for freight (1990). 

Inverurie 

Top 

This is the second station to be called "Inverurie". The older station was further south. Inverurie station is still open. The station was the junction for the Inverury and Old Meldrum Junction Railway. The track of this branch used to run parallel to the main line until reaching the station. Much of the station still remains although the up platform building has been demolished, the bay platform is disused and the platform canopies cut back. Today the station is used as a passing place. 

Inveramsay

Top

This station is now closed. The station was the junction for the Banff, Macduff and Turriff Junction Railway. Two platforms remain on the still open railway. There may be some platform remains on the branch. The railway is single track at this point. 

Pitcaple

Top

This station is closed. The platforms remain, some station buildings and a disused signal box. The railway is single track at this point.  

Oyne 

Top 

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Buchanstone 

Top 

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point. 

Insch 

Top 

This station is still open. The buildings on both platforms remain intact. The signal box is also still present and used. The goods yard is now closed but the formation is still visible. The building is of a similar design to Aberlour on the Strathspey Railway. 

The track is still double from this point to Kennethmont. A long siding exists to the south of this station which was once the down track. 

Wardhouse 

Top 

The station is closed. The platforms have been demolished but the up platform building remains. The railway is double track at this point. 

Kennethmont 

Top 

This station is closed. The platforms remain along with the station building and signal box. Some of the goods yard remains by the William Teachers distillery. 

Gartly 

Top 

This station is closed. The platforms and down platform building remain. The railway is single track at this point. 

Huntly

Top

This station is still open. This was the original Western terminus of the line. The station had a wooden train-shed which has been cut back. The goods yard and station buildings remained until 1999 when a new station building was built. The signal box has been severed from the rest of the station by the construction of the Huntly by-pass road; the signal box is to the South of this and the station to the North. The station is used as a passing place. (See also night-time view at the top of this page). 

Avochie Signal Box

Top

 

The signal-box was on the far side of the viaduct shown here. There was also a siding here. When the line was doubled the track across the viaduct was left single track until the viaduct could be replaced the boxes at Rothiemay and Avochie controlled the single track section. The siding was used in connection with the viaduct re-building.

Rothiemay 

Top

The station is closed. The railway is single track at this point.

Cairnie Junction 

Top

This station is closed. The station consisted of a broad island platform. This was the junction for the Banff, Portsoy and Strathisla Junction Railway and Moray Coast Line (GNSR) following the opening of the Coast Line route - the original junction was at Grange. The track from here to Grange North Junction (where the line from Grange joined) was doubled, the formation is still visible (especially at Grange North Junction but not from the mainline) although overgrown. The station was opened in 1898 at the same time as the double-track section. This saved dividing trains at Huntly. The station has been completely demolished and the track re-aligned. The railway is single track at this point. The photograph view looks East towards the actual junction. The location is the former station. 

Grange

Top

The station is closed. A building remains on the site which appears to be the station building converted into a house. The platforms have been removed. The Banff, Portsoy and Strathisla Junction Railway left the GNSR at this point. The junction faced Keith. When the GNSR Coast Line was opened the the junction was converted into a triangle with the addition of a double track line between Cairnie and Grange North Junction. The railway is single track at this point. The view given here looks East towards the former junction. 

Keith Junction

Top

This station is still open. The station was an end-on junction between the Great North of Scotland Railway and the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway (later the Highland Railway). The GNSR later bought the Keith and Dufftown Railway, the Speyside Railway and the Morayshire Railway which gave the GNSR access to Elgin. The Keith and Dufftown Railway platform remains at Keith (although out of use) at the south side of the station. The two GNSR bay platforms at the east end of the station have been infilled (and the site is now occupied by portacabins) whilst the through platform is still in use. The Highland Railway bay platform at the West end of the station is now out of use and the site  levelled. This platform was used by trains for the Buckie branch which joined the GNSR Moray Coast Railway at Portessie.  

A substantial goods yard remains at this station alongside the Dufftown platform. The GNSR Locomotive shed (to the East of the station) was converted into a depot for Chivas Brothers - this may now be out of use. The sidings to the East of the station are used as a passing place. 

The site of the former MPD here is now a building used by Chivas Brothers. The through platform for exchange between the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway and the Great North of Scotland Railway is the only platform of the original five currently in use. The eastbound bay platforms are in-filled and the removed westbound bay platform partly infilled.

Ordnance Survey Grid References 

Top 

1. NJ.941.057ABERDEEN JOINT (X Miles)
2. NJ.939.063 Schoolhill
3. NJ.933.073 Hutcheon Street
4. NJ.933.080 Kittybrewster
5. NJ.932.085 Don Street
6. NJ.917.092 Woodside
7. NJ.908.094 Persley
8. NJ.897.097 Bucksburn
9. NJ.894.104 Bankhead
10. NJ.892.108 Stoneywood
11. NJ.884.128 DYCE
12. NJ.883.132 Dyce (Old)
13. NJ.864.150 Pitmedden
14. NJ.833.154 Kinaldie
15. NJ.791.166 Kintore
16. NJ.780.194 (Port Elphinstone)
17. NJ.779.207 Inverurie (Old)
18. NJ.776.218 INVERURIE
19. NJ.776.218 Inveramsay
20. NJ.723.256 Pitcaple
21. NJ.673.258 Oyne
22. NJ.655.263 Buchanstone
23. NJ.630.276 INSCH
24. NJ.579.296 Wardhouse
25. NJ.554.294 Kennethmont
26. NJ.523.322 Gartly
27. NJ.535.296 HUNTLY
28. NJ.531.461 Rothiemay
29. NJ.504.298 Cairnie Junction
30. NJ.496.505 Grange
31. NJ.430.516 KEITH JUNCTION

Page created on 22/01/1997
Page last edited on: 11/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford