Kinnaber Junction

Location type


Name and dates

Kinnaber Junction (1881-1981)

Opened on the Aberdeen Railway.
Opened on the North British, Arbroath and Montrose Railway.


This is the famous location where the East Coast Main Line and West Coast Main Line routes met until the late 1960s.

There was only one route forward to Aberdeen and this gave rise to the railway races of 1895 - the first train to reach this point also being the first to Aberdeen. The companies which constituted the two routes would contribute to the running of the train over their section as it raced from London to Aberdeen.

This was the junction between the Caledonian Railway Strathmore main line from Perth to Aberdeen (via Forfar [2nd]) and the North British Railway main line (the North British, Arbroath and Montrose Railway) to Aberdeen (via Dundee and the Tay Bridge). The line north was owned by the Caledonian Railway as well as the approach from Forfar [2nd].

The Caledonian route was the original Aberdeen Railway. The former Caledonian route west has been closed and lifted. It remained as a single track as far as Bridge of Dun until the Brechin branch closed. The signal box was located between the two main lines and faced out over the North British line. It opened in 1880 to assist with opening the North British route. The box was paid for by the North British but the staff worked for the Caledonian.

In Caledonian Railway days there was a slight reverse "S" bend on the North British Railway route, the track alignment favouring the Caledonian route in terms of speed. The NB line had a 15 mph speed restriction and it had single sidings on both the northbound and southbound sides making trailing connections.

The North British exercised running powers over the Caledonian route to Aberdeen, not having their own route. This was instituted by the Government to prevent the Caledonian from having a monopoly of the Aberdeen traffic.

Later the North British route was realigned to allow faster running.

The main line to Forfar [2nd] closed in 1967, but the portion as far as Bridge of Dun remained for access to Brechin until 1981. Having ceased to be a junction the box closed in 1982, its last duty being the siding at Hillside [NB].

The former Caledonian route is in a deep cutting and is slowly reverting to nature. About a mile of the line, in Hillside going towards Dubton, has been obliterated.



External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

  /08/1895'Railway Races'
Trains race from London to Aberdeen Joint. The West Coast group of companies win with a timing of 512 minutes (the East Coast was 518 minutes). The effective finishing post was at Kinnaber Junction, 38 miles south of Aberdeen Joint, with whichever train reached Kinnaber first being given the route to Aberdeen.
04/09/1967Scottish Midland Junction Railway Aberdeen Railway
Perth (Stanley Junction) to Laurencekirk (Kinnaber Junction) closed to passengers.
04/09/1967Scottish Midland Junction Railway
Newtyle and Coupar Angus Railway
Newtyle and Glammis Railway
Arbroath and Forfar Railway
Aberdeen Railway
Stanley Junction to Kinnaber Junction closed to passengers. Coupar Angus, Alyth Junction, Forfar and Bridge of Dun stations closed.
04/05/1981Aberdeen Railway
Brechin to Kinnaber Junction (excluded) closed.


A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: The North of Scotland v. 15 (Regional railway history series)

Aberdeen 1900: Aberdeenshire Sheet 75.11 (Old O.S. Maps of Aberdeenshire)

Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire: 40 Coast and Country Walks

Aberdeen City Centre History Tour

Aberdeen City Centre Through Time

Aberdeen in Old Picture Postcards

Aberdeen in the Fifties and Sixties

Aberdeen Remembered: By Aberdeen City Libraries and Museums

Aberdeen, Inverurie and Pitmedden (OS Landranger Map)

Aberdeen: An Illustrated Architectural Guide (RIAS illustrated architectural guides to Scotland)

Aberdeenshire: South and Aberdeen (Pevsner Architectural Guides) (Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of Scotland)

Aberdeenshire's Lost Railways

Angus and Kincardineshire's Lost Railways

BR Steam in Colour: London to Aberdeen from the Bill Reed Collection

Bradshaw's Guide Scotland's Railways East Coast Berwick to Aberdeen & Beyond: Volume 6

Brechin 1901: Forfarshire Sheet 28.13 (Old O.S. Maps of Forfarshire)

British Railways Steam - King's Cross to Aberdeen: From the Bill Reed Collection

Bygone Montrose: With Inverkeilor, Lunan Bay, Rossie, Usan, Ferryden, Bridge of Dun, Hillside, Dubton and Craigo

Caledonian Routes 1: Aberdeen, Strathmore Line & Branches

Cock o' the North: Aberdeen to Kyle of Lochalsh - Study in Diesel Power Through Its Various Stages

Great North Memories: Aberdeen No. 2: Scenes of the North East's Own Railway

Hidden Aberdeen: History on Your Doorstep and Under Your Feet

Joint Station: Aberdeen Station, 1867-1992

Landranger (54) Dundee & Montrose, Forfar & Arbroath (OS Landranger Map)

Memories of Steam from Glasgow to Aberdeen

Memories of Steam from Glasgow to Aberdeen

Memories of Steam from Glasgow to Aberdeen

Montrose The Postcard Collection

Montrose Through Time
National Series of Waterway, Tramway and Railway Atlases: Aberdeen v. 1m
On Either Side, 1939: The Train between London King's Cross & Edinburgh Waverley, Fort William, Inverness & Aberdeen (Old House)

OS Explorer Map (389) Forfar, Brechin and Edzell (OS Explorer Paper Map) (OS Explorer Active Map)

Railways Of Scotland 4: Aberdeen And The Grampians DVD - Cinerail

Railways Of Scotland 7: Perth To Kinnaber Junction DVD - Cinerail

The Montrose & Bervie Railway: A Study of Transport in South-East Kincardineshire 1770-1966

The Montrose & Bervie Railway: A Study of Transport in South-East Kincardineshire 1770-1966

The Railways of Aberdeen: 150 Years of History: One Hundred and Fifty Years of History
The Railways of Strathmore (Perth, Forfar and Brechin)The 'Subbies': The story of Aberdeen's suburban trains 1887-1987