Formartine and Buchan Railway

Introduction

This railway is closed, it developed into a network of lines serving the area to the north of Aberdeen. 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).

Alan H. Sangster, in the superb The Story and Tales of the Buchan Line, commented

The railway had no special scenic merits to place it in the same class as better known lines, such as the West highland or Kyle of Lochalsh Railway, but it had its own local rural charm and character which gained it much affection by its users and people in the Aberdeen area.


John Thomas, in Forgotten Railway Scotland, described the route
Railway promoters found it expedient to oblige an influential landowner (and potential shareholder) by bending the railway away from his estate or bringing it closer, whichever course suited his whim. ... The finished line was not so much the fulfilment of the engineer's vision as a graph recording the whims and fancies of farmers and landowners.


This may go some way to explain the route of the line which served Peterhead, originally considered the main route, with a circuitous route, leading to its demise in the road era. The line served many castles and big houses.

There were had fine terminii with trainsheds at Peterhead and Fraserburgh. Many of the station had loops, although single track throughout - save for a section north of Parkhill which was briefly doubled.

The southern portion of the former line may re-open between Dyce and Ellon.

The route is now a long distance footpath, the Formartine and Buchan Way . This footpath, built over several years in the early 1990s, safeguarded the route after closure for potential re-opening.






Dates

  /  /    [Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Abbey of Deer Platform dates unknown.
23/07/1858[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Act receives Royal ascent. (Dyce to Peterhead, Mintlaw to Fraserburgh, branch to Ellon).
19/04/1859[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Ellon deviation authorised.
18/07/1861[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Opened from Dyce ([Great North of Scotland Railway]) to Mintlaw.
03/07/1862[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Mintlaw to Peterhead opened.
21/07/1863[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Junction for Fraserburgh re-authorised as Maud in place of Mintlaw.
24/04/1865[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Maud to Fraserburgh opened.
09/08/1865[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Peterhead harbour line opened.
30/07/1866[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
[Great North of Scotland Railway]
Formartine and Buchan Railway absorbed by Great North of Scotland Railway.
  /  /1880[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Lord Haddos Railway proposed.
  /  /1890[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Newseat Station rebuilt.
  /  /1894[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Inverugie loop removed.
  /  /1894[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Logierieve loop removed.
  /  /1894[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Rathen loop removed.
  /  /1895[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Ellon rebuilt for [Boddam Branch] opening
02/08/1897[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Ellon becomes a junction on the [Boddam Branch] opened.
16/12/1901[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Udny North signal box closed.
  /  /1914[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Peterhead Harbour Railway cut back to Roanheads.
  /  /1915[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
RNAS Lenabo opened. (Royal Naval Airship Station, for spotting German Submarines).
  /  /1917[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Railway to Lenabo opened.
05/11/1918[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Longside North signal box closed.
03/08/1919[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Esslemont loop opened.
30/05/1920[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Parkhill to Elrick signal box doubled.
07/09/1923[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Lenabo Railway closed.
  /  /1924[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Parkhill to Elrick singled.
  /  /1925[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Esslemont loop and Up platform closed.
23/10/1925[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Elrick signal box closed.
23/10/1925[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Parkhill loop and box closed.
23/10/1927[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Mintlaw North Signal box closed.
16/05/1932[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Ellon North signal box closed.
31/10/1932[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
[Boddam Branch] closed to passengers.
21/07/1935[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Maud Junction North and South signal boxes replaced by new South signal box.
  /  /1945[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
[Boddam Branch] closed to freight and used for wagon storage before dismantling.
  /  /1947[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Peterhead harbour line closed and lifted.
  /  /1948[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Fraserburgh section becomes main line and Peterhead line becomes branch.
04/04/1950[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Parkhill closed.
15/09/1952[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Esslemont closed.
  /  /1955[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Fraserburgh station roof cut back.
15/06/1959[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Mintlaw South signal box closed.
15/06/1959[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Brucklay signal box closed.
18/01/1960[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Train stuck in snow North of Newmachar.
05/01/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Arnage signal box closed.
05/01/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Lonmay signal box closed.
04/05/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
[St Combs Light Railway] closed completely.
04/05/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Peterhead to Maud Junction closed to passengers. (Alternative date 3/5/1965).
17/05/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Peterhead signal box closed.
02/10/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Fraserburgh to Dyce Junction closed to passengers. (Alternative date 4/10/1965).
09/12/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Newmachar signal box closed.
10/12/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Longside South signal box closed.
27/06/1966[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Strichen signal box closed.
27/06/1966[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Fraserburgh signal box closed.
27/06/1966[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Udny South signal box closed
06/07/1966[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Auchnagatt signal box closed.
18/10/1967[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Ellon south signal box closed.
05/03/1969[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Maud Junction south signal box closed.
04/09/1970[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Peterhead to Maud Junction closed to freight. (Alternative date 4/9/1970).
06/10/1979[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Closed to freight between Dyce Junction and Fraserburgh.
23/10/1979[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
Wagons and fixed assets recovered from line by train.

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.

Dyce to Maud

Dyce to Maud.

Dyce

This is a two platform station.
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Parkhill Viaduct

This is a disused three arch single track viaduct over the River Don.
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Parkhill

This was a single platform station, with the platform on the east side. There was a goods yard to the north of the station on the west side, approached from the south. The GNoSR had a sand pit in the goods yard.
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Elrick Box

This was the northern end of double track section which started to the south at Parkhill. This was used during periods of high traffic, but only for a few years.
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Newmachar

This was a two platform station to the north east of Summerhill, now known as Newmachar. The main station building was on the northbound platform, the town side.
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Udny

This was a two platform station with a passing loop. The goods yard was on the east side, approached from the south.
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Logierieve

This was a single platform station on the east side of the line. There was a goods siding on the west side, approached from the south, which served a loading bank almost giving the appearance of a two platform station.
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Esslemont

This was a single platform station for much of its existence, a loop and second platform being added in 1919. The station was around 1 km south east of Esslemont itself.
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Ellon

Ellon was a three platform station. Until 1897 it was a two platform station with a loop and afterwards it was a junction for the Boddam Branch (Great North of Scotland Railway) with a new building built on the former southbound platform with glazed canopies.
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Arnage

This was a two platform station with the main station building on the northbound platform.
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Auchnagatt

This was a two platform station with a passing loop. The stone station building, on the northbound platform, remains in use as a house. The southbound platform had a timber building.
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Maud

This was a four platform station. There were two platforms on the line east to Peterhead and two platforms on the line north to Fraserburgh.
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Maud to Peterhead

Maud to Peterhead. When first opened this was considered the main line, the line to Fraserburgh the branch.

Maud

This was a four platform station. There were two platforms on the line east to Peterhead and two platforms on the line north to Fraserburgh.
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Abbey of Deer Halt

This halt was barely even a halt - just a small wooden platform a few feet long....

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Mintlaw

This was a two platform station with a passing loop. The main station building was on the westbound platform. The goods yard was on the south side of the station and approached from the west. There were both east and west signal boxes.
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Longside

This was a two platform station with a passing loop on a single track railway. There was a goods yard at the east end, north side of the line, approached from the east.
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Newseat Halt

This was a single platform station on the north side of the line.
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Inverugie

This was a single platform station on the north side of the line. There was a siding at the east end, approached from the east.
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Peterhead

This was a terminus with an island platform with two faces. One ran into a trainshed. The trainshed was extended out onto the platform with a canopy.
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Peterhead Harbour

The branch to the harbour served Port Henry, the west side of the North Harbour (with a timber yard and line onto the centre pier, Scotts Pier, accessed by turnplates) and the west side of the South Harbour.
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Maud to Fraserburgh

Maud to Fraserburgh.

Maud

This was a four platform station. There were two platforms on the line east to Peterhead and two platforms on the line north to Fraserburgh.
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Brucklay [2nd]

This was the second station named Brucklay. Brucklay [1st] ultimately became called Maud. Both stations were named for Brucklay Castle which was to the south west of the second station, slightly further north west of the original.
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Strichen

This was a two platform station with a passing loop on a single track line. The main station building was on the east/north bound platform, on the town side of the station. There was a goods yard on the north side, approached from the west.
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Mormond Halt

This was a single platform station.
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Lonmay

This was a two platform station with a passing loop on a single track line. The main station building was on the southbound platform.
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Rathen

This was a single platform station, although it may briefly have had a second platform in 1894. There was a signal box in 1894 and loop, which may predate the box.
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Philorth Halt

This was a single platform station south of Fraserburgh on the line south to Dyce.
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Fraserburgh

This was a three platform station with an overall roof over two the platforms and canopies over the third. The roof was cut back in 1955.
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Fraserburgh Shed

This two road shed was to the immediate west of Fraserburgh station. The shed still stands, in other uses, but the station site has been completely cleared....

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