The Glenbuchat Image Library
No Contributor Year: 2015187 Strathdon Bus Routes/Tours
Strathdon Bus Routes/Tours
The photos above show:
1. Bus at Bellabeg
2 ‘Three Rivers’ tour booklet and timetable
3. Bus at Cockbridge
The bus service from Bellabeg was provided by GNSR (Great North of Scotland Railway) to link with the railway at Ballater.
There is in fact a still cottage in Bellabeg Strathdon called Railway Cottage. This was used by the GNSR (Great North of Scotland Railway) which ran an ‘omnibus’ service between Ballater and Strathdon. The Service cstarted in July 1907. This charabanc service was run as part of the inclusive rail/motor tours and not available for intermediate traffic between Ballater and Strathdon until 1914. The whole route operated during the summer season only, usually July to September, but with some additional services during June and the early part of October. Ballater to Strathdon ceased 1 October 1925.
Three Rivers Tours.
From Information at The Alford Transport Museum.
From the earliest days of the line, long before the ‘motor bus’ was even invented; a ‘feeder’ service ran from Strathdon to connect with the 10.45am train to Kintore. It left Colquhonny at 7.30am am; was called the ‘Forbes Deﬁance’ - it was a horse coach! The same coach met the 4pm arrival at Alford and headed home at 6pm.
A motorbus service started on the same route on 1 May 1906. It must have been quite a relief after taking 1 hr. 55mins for the 19 1/2 miles from Strathdon to transfer to a faster, smoother and, hopefully, warmer train for the next leg to Kintore. Durkopp, Milnes-Daimler, Maudslay and Straker-Squire supplied the chassis and the GNSR built their own lorry/bus/charabanc bodies in their Kittybrewster works.
In the summer of 1907 the Strathdon route was extended to Cockbridge and direct to Aberdeen, avoiding the need for train travel altogether. Running buses and trains, sometimes as ‘integrated’ and as separate entities was innovative at the time. The Cockbridge ‘extension’ service must have been such a success with day trippers and locals alike that the GNSR were soon running their own tours for tourists.
The ‘Three Rivers’ tour was inaugurated on 31st my 1907 and the ‘Two Rivers’ from July 1907. The Three Rivers tour(s) either started by rail from Aberdeen to Dinnet or Aberdeen to Alford, then motor coach or charabanc to Strathdon (Newe Inn/Hotel), then both followed the same route over the Lecht to Tomintoul (with a possible overnight stay), then charabanc to Ballindalloch and then train via Craigellachie to Aberdeen. The tours might also run in reverse. Despite the attraction of using ‘state of the art’ buses the journey over the Lecht remained entrusted to horse drawn coaches for some years. Sadly the river tours had both ceased to run by 1923 when the GNSR were taken over by the LNER. The company’s timetable from 14th July 1929, show that their own buses were now quicker to Aberdeen than their own trains!
The photo shows the same bus as in the Newe Castle Outing with Sir Charles Forbes with family and staff. Presumably they had hired the bus for the day and taken them around the area. The picture shows them at the foot of the hill at the Lecht in front of the Allargue Arms Hotel Briggies)
Picture added on 27 May 2015 at 17:35
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