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]
Peterhead to Maud Junction closed to passengers. (Alternative date 3/5/1965).
04/05/1965[Formartine and Buchan Railway]
[St Combs Light Railway] closed completely.
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.

This is a two platform station.
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Night time view south alongside Dyce signal box in 2007. ...
Ewan Crawford 28/01/2007
Having the world's busiest heliport on its landward side means Dyce fairly thrums with the sound of helicopters going to and from North Sea platforms; ...
David Panton 20/09/2018
Edinburgh (right) and Inverness services pass at Dyce on 20 September 2018. The line from Aberdeen had been closed for months for redoubling, so I was ...
David Panton 20/09/2018
A Class 170 DMU heading to Inverness arrives at Dyce on 19 October 2012. ...
John McIntyre 19/10/2012

This is a disused three arch single track viaduct over the River Don.
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View west showing a DMU forming a down Buchan line train crossing the River Don on Parkhill Viaduct, north of Dyce, in the summer of 1960. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/08/1960

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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Ballast on the trackbed at the former Parkhill station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Taken just north of Dyce where the new Aberdeen western bypass crosses the Buchan line formation, Pleased to see a bit of forward planning as the ...
Alan Cormack 14/05/2017
View looking north. There is a tremendous amount of traffic going in to Aberdeen from Peterhead, Ellon etc by road, I would think it will be cheaper ...
Alan Cormack 23/10/2016
The former Parkhill station, looking south. ...
Ewan Crawford //

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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Looking south at Elrick. ...
Ewan Crawford //

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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Newmachar cutting, looking north. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The old station at Newmachar with the signal box base on the foreground. ...
Alan Cormack 03/01/2017
The southern entrance to Satan's Den on the Buchan line, just north of Newmachar station, on 14th November 2015. The location was given the satanic ...
Brian Taylor 14/11/2015
Looking north along the trackbed at Newmachar in November 2006. ...
John Furnevel 06/11/2006

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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A well preserved surfaceman's hut alongside the old trackbed of the Buchan line at the hamlet of Tillyeve looking north towards nearby Udny along the ...
Brian Taylor /11/2015
Looking north at the former Udny station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The level crossing at Tillyeve on the Buchan line, between Newmachar and Udny. The gates and posts are in surprisingly good condition given that ...
Brian Taylor 14/11/2015
Udny station had a substantial goods yard (now a football pitch). This 1997 view looks north from the former signalbox (foreground, left) towards the ...
Ewan Crawford 03/02/1997

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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Looking south over the former Logierieve station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Buchan tanks. 80111 at Logierieve on down passenger. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959

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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The 1861 station at Esslemont in May 1959 looking north towards Ellon. The station closed to passengers in 1952. [Ref query 9807] ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959
View looking north at the former Esslemont station. ...
Ewan Crawford //


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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The annual Railway Relay Race from Peterhead to Ellon took place on 6th August 2017. This is a minor road crossing and the remains of a bridge ...
Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
I spotted this old railway carriage a few years ago at the road junction of the A90 /A952 a couple of miles north of Ellon. It's on a metal chassis. ...
Alan Cormack 15/08/2017
I spotted this old railway carriage a few years ago at the road junction of the A90 /A952 a couple of miles north of Ellon. It's on a metal chassis. I ...
Alan Cormack 15/08/2017
Station hotel in Ellon. Both main line platforms are intact, hopefully passengers will be able to make use of the Hotel again while waiting for a ...
Alan Cormack 03/01/2017

This was a two platform station with the main station building on the northbound platform.
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BR Standard class 4 2-6-0 76108 brings a down passenger train into Arnage station on 15 May 1959. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959
Looking north at the former Arnage station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
The Formartine and Buchan Excursion on a photostop at Arnage on 24 May 1969. View is south towards Ellon, with D5323 at the head of the train. ...
A Snapper (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) 24/05/1969
Leaving. 80005 at Arnage on up Buchan passenger train. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959

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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BR Standard tank 80020 calls at Auchnagatt on 9 April 1955 with an Aberdeen bound train. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 09/04/1955
BR Standard 2-6-4 tank 80004 calls at Auchnagatt on 9 April 1955. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 09/04/1955
View looking north at the former Auchnagatt station from the roadside. ...
Ewan Crawford //
View looking south at the former Auchnagatt station. ...
Ewan Crawford //

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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A short (Very!) wheel base wagon, built in Rotherham by Harrison and Camm in 1913, awaiting restoration at Maud station on 6th August 2017. ...
Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
Maud station on 6th August 2017. A couple of wagons are on display here and I believe this was used for taking prisoners to and from Peterhead jail.
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Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
View north on 15 May 1959 as BR Standard Tank 80113 pulls away from Maud with a freight from Peterhead following a water stop alongside Maud signal ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959
BR standard 2-6-4 tank 80005 photographed at Maud in the spring of 1959 in the process of dividing the Fraserburgh and Peterhead portions of a recent ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959




Maud to Peterhead

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

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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More details
A short (Very!) wheel base wagon, built in Rotherham by Harrison and Camm in 1913, awaiting restoration at Maud station on 6th August 2017. ...
Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
Maud station on 6th August 2017. A couple of wagons are on display here and I believe this was used for taking prisoners to and from Peterhead jail.
...
Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
View north on 15 May 1959 as BR Standard Tank 80113 pulls away from Maud with a freight from Peterhead following a water stop alongside Maud signal ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959
BR standard 2-6-4 tank 80005 photographed at Maud in the spring of 1959 in the process of dividing the Fraserburgh and Peterhead portions of a recent ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959

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

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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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The remains of Mintlaw station, on the Peterhead line, photographed in 1977. Mintlaw and the other branch stations had closed twelve years earlier in ...
Bill Roberton //1977
D40 4-4-0 62272 leaving Mintlaw with an up train on 4 July 1951. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
Up platform of Mintlaw Station on the Maud to Peterhead section of the Formartine and Buchan railway. ...
John Williamson 01/09/2007
The front of Mintlaw Station on the Maud to Peterhead section of the Formartine and Buchan railway. ...
John Williamson 01/09/2007

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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Scene at Longside, midway between Maud Junction and Peterhead, on 4 July 1951. Ex-GNSR D40 4-4-0 no 62272 is entering the station with a down train. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
The station, signal box and goods yard at Longside on the Peterhead line, photographed on 4 July 1951, looking west towards Maud. Longside station ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
Looking east at the former Longside station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Not the station, but called Station House, Longside - view north in November 2006. It was not the station itself, this was to the west of station and ...
John Furnevel 06/11/2006

This was a single platform station on the north side of the line.
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The fine building at the former Newseat halt on the Maud to Peterhead line has been restored as a private dwelling. The mile-post finishes it off ...
John Williamson 01/09/2007

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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Scene at Inverugie, Aberdeenshire, first station out of Peterhead, on 4 July 1951. View is west towards Maud Junction with an unidentified coach ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
View looking east at a former level crossing to the east of Inverugie. ...
Ewan Crawford //

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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Ex-GNSR D40 4-4-0 no 62272 standing alongside the signal box at Peterhead on 4 July 1951. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
Looking back towards the buffer stops at Peterhead on 4 July 1951. Waiting with a train in the background is D40 4-4-0 no 62272. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
B12 4-6-0 61511 on the turntable at Peterhead in the summer of 1951. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951
Ex-GER B12 4-6-0 no 61511 arriving at Peterhead on 4 July 1951 with a train from Aberdeen. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/07/1951

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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In the left background members of the GNoSR Association stand on the trackbed of the South Breakwater railway at Peterhead Harbour of Refuge on 20 ...
Brian Taylor 20/06/2015
The South Breakwater at Peterhead Harbour of Refuge on 20 June 2015, showing clearly the position of the rails used in construction and early ...
Brian Taylor 20/06/2015
What the Peterhead Prison Railway was used to build; the breakwaters of Peterhead Harbour. ...
Ewan Crawford //




Maud to Fraserburgh

Maud to Fraserburgh.

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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More details
A short (Very!) wheel base wagon, built in Rotherham by Harrison and Camm in 1913, awaiting restoration at Maud station on 6th August 2017. ...
Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
Maud station on 6th August 2017. A couple of wagons are on display here and I believe this was used for taking prisoners to and from Peterhead jail.
...
Alan Cormack 06/08/2017
View north on 15 May 1959 as BR Standard Tank 80113 pulls away from Maud with a freight from Peterhead following a water stop alongside Maud signal ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959
BR standard 2-6-4 tank 80005 photographed at Maud in the spring of 1959 in the process of dividing the Fraserburgh and Peterhead portions of a recent ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 15/05/1959

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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Brucklay looking to Aberdeen in 1977. Following line closure, the derelict station building has since been converted into a house and the road bridge ...
Bill Roberton //1977
BR Standard class 4 2-6-0 76108 leaving Brucklay with an up passenger train on 16 May 1959. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 16/05/1959
An up train at Brucklay on 16 May 1959 behind BR Standard class 4 2-6-0 no 76108. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 16/05/1959
Looking north over the former station at Brucklay. ...
Ewan Crawford //

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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Half a mile to the east of Strichen the railway crosses a minor road. The bridge looks quite precarious but at least it survived unlike many on the ...
Alan Cormack 15/08/2017
The BLS Waterloo and Buchan Railtour pauses for a photostop at Strichen in April 1979 with railcar 55007 on the return leg to Aberdeen. ...
Ian Dinmore /04/1979
The 'Buchan Belle' railtour makes a photostop at Strichen in June 1974. ...
Bill Roberton 01/06/1974
Drivers view approaching Strichen from the south on 01 June 1974. ...
John McIntyre 01/06/1974

This was a single platform station.
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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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The platforms of Lonmay station looking north towards Fraserburgh in February 1997. Preparations for turning the trackbed into a footpath/cycleway ...
Ewan Crawford /02/1997
Looking south west about 1 mile from Lonmay station towards Mormond Hill and Strichen in August 2013. Thanks to the vegetation this view has changed ...
John Williamson 18/08/2013
An up fish express from Fraserburgh passing Lonmay in 1945. G.N.S.R. 4.4.0 6826. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow //1945
Up passenger entering Lonmay. G.N.S.R. 4.4.0 6824. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow //1945

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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View looking north at the former Rathen station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
NBL Type 2 D6150 with a freight near Rathen on 18 August 1960. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 18/08/1960
Ex-GNSR D41 4-4-0 62229 at Rathen on 7 July 1950 with a Fraserburgh - Aberdeen train. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 07/07/1950
Not much left to go ... in February 1997 only two stretches of the F&BR trackbed were left to be converted into footpaths: Rathen to Mormond and north ...
Ewan Crawford 03/02/1997

This was a single platform station south of Fraserburgh on the line south to Dyce.
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The former Philorth station is now a house. This is the view looking north from the former level crossing. ...
Ewan Crawford 02/02/1997
The former Philorth station, looking north. ...
Ewan Crawford //
D1 4-4-0 62230 passing Philorth Halt on 12 July 1950 with a Fraserburgh - Aberdeen train. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 12/07/1950
BR Standard class 4 tank 80021 pilots Gresley K2 61782 Loch Eil near Philorth Halt on 9 August 1953 at the head of a lengthy fish train from ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 09/08/1953

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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Ex-GNSR coaches on the St Combs branch train standing at Fraserburgh in the summer of 1953. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow /08/1953
D40 4-4-0 62272 approaching Fraserburgh on 5 July 1950. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 05/07/1950
B1 4-6-0 61352 brings a fish train out of the yards at Fraserburgh on 2 July 1951. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 02/07/1951
Ex-GNSR 4-4-0 62231 brings a train into Fraserburgh in July 1948. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow /07/1948

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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The old locomotive shed at Fraserburgh in March 2017, looking north east towards the harbour from the car park of Fraserburgh leisure centre. The ...
Andy Furnevel 15/03/2017
Kittybrewster shed's palindromic Standard Class 4 tank no 80108 on the turntable at Fraserburgh in the summer of 1956. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 04/08/1956
Gresley K2 2-6-0 no 61779 on shed at Fraserburgh on 5 August 1954. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 05/08/1954
The former Fraserburgh locomotive shed in 1997. To the right was the station (now the B9033), goods yard (industrial estates and rough ground) and the ...
Ewan Crawford 03/02/1997