Thurso: 158702 waits to form the last departure of the day from Thurso, the 1629 to Inverness. Compared to a similar view five years earlier See image 16892, the goods shed has now been demolished but not yet replaced although the passenger trainshed still forms an impressive backdrop.
Mark Bartlett 06/07/2012


Location type


Name and dates

Thurso (1874-)

Station code: THS National Rail ScotRail
Where: Highland, Scotland
Opened on the Sutherland and Caithness Railway.
Open on the Far North Line.


This is a two platform station and is the furthest north station in Britain. The main platform, on the west side of the station's loop, is partly covered by the all-over timber roof of the station, a remarkable survivor, all the more remarkable that Wick has also survived. The other and shorter platform, without a loop, is on the west side of the island platform.

To the west of the passenger platform was the new cattle dock and coal siding of 1943, the line bordering the cattle market (which has relocated).

There main goods yard is to the east of the trainshed and loop. It is now out of use and taken over by a buildings supply company. From west to east the lines were:
- the line closest to the trainshed was an end-loading siding
- the goods shed, which was to the south and east of the trainshed, has been demolished
- the coal siding
- original cattle bank siding
- fish dock

To the south of the goods yard was the locomotive shed, Thurso Shed. It was approached from the south via the turntable. Having survived intact after withdrawal of steam it was disappointingly demolished in recent years.

The station's signal box was on the west side of the line at the south end. It closed in 1936 when replaced by a ground frame.

A railway cottage still stands, in private ownership, to the west of the station.


The Sutherland and Caithness Railway obtained the contract for carriage of mails to the Orkneys via Thurso. An order was placed with Gourlay Bros & Co of Dundee for a vessel, the 1877 S.S. 'John o'Groat'. This vessel operated out of Scrabster Harbour. She carried the mails until 1882.


John O' Groats is 19 miles east of Thurso station.

Scrabster Harbour , port for the Orkneys is 2 miles north west from the station.


Station Terminus

External links

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

Nearby stations
Georgemas Junction
Welsh^s Crossing Halt
Parkside Halt
Thurso Shed
Scrabster Harbour
River Thurso Viaduct [Todholes]
Georgemas Snowblower
Georgemas Trolley Shed
River Thurso Viaduct [Halkirk]
Dounreay Power Station
Balloch Railway Cottage
Spittal Mains Quarry
Olgrinbeg Peat Powerstation (here?)
North Coast Visitors Centre
Thurso Bay
Dunnet Bay
St Mary^s Chapel Crosskirk
Cnoc Freiceadain Long Cairns
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.

Chronology Dates

28/07/1874Sutherland and Caithness Railway
Line opened from Helmsdale (Duke of Sutherland's Railway) to Wick with stations at Salzcraggie (Private), Kildonan, Kinbrace, Forsinard, Altnabreac, Scotscalder, Halkirk, Georgemas Junction, Hoy, Thurso, Bower, Watten, Bilbster and Wick.
07/02/1989Inverness and Ross-shire Railway
Ness Viaduct, Inverness, collapses, separating the Thurso, Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh lines from the rest of the network. Dingwall becomes the southern terminus, Muir of Ord closes (although served by a minibus) and becomes a train maintenance depot. Buses operate between Inverness and Dingwall while a new bridge is built. Oil traffic to Lairg is suspended (it does not restart until 2001).
  /11/2001Sutherland and Caithness Railway
Thurso Viaduct strengthened to allow Class 66s to reach Thurso.

News items

04/12/2023The best way to build bridges with rail giant [Scotsman]
24/11/2023Car hit by train near Invergordon sparks Highland railway line closure between Inverness and Thurso [STV]
19/07/2023Thurso pensioner's shock at lack of local interest in free train travel petition [John O Groat Journal]
05/03/2023Scenic trains with larger windows planned by ScotRail for Highland lines to Mallaig and Thurso [Scotsman]
05/03/2023West Highland Line plan for Swiss-style trains unveiled [The Herald]
18/02/2023Weather hits Inverness-Wick train services [John O Groat Journal]
28/06/2022ScotRail ramps up Highland services as temporary timetable continues [Press and Journal]
27/04/2022Railway station linked to London so remote you can't go further north [MyLondon]
03/02/2022Michael Portillo takes far north line to Thurso in latest railway TV series [John O Groat Journal]
05/10/2021Hydrogen train could be 'trialled' on Caithness line [John O Groat Journal]


Highland Survivor