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Glenbuchat Heritage

116 Strathdon Light Railway
The Glenbuchat Image Library
116 Strathdon Light Railway

Strathdon Light Railway.

The only railway to operate in Strathdon was the horse drawn rail system built at Auchernach by G.F. Rose to haul timber in the early 1900’s.

"In fact he brought his railway expertise to Auchernach and it is reported in a Forbes family web site about Auchernach that ‘There was also a Forest of Auchernach, complete with a narrow-gauge horse-drawn railway (stopped in 1919) to take logs.’ The track is reported to have gone from Aldachie to Torrancroy."

In 1913 plans were afoot which may have drastically changed this.

The articles above are from The Aberdeen Journal of 22nd Nov 1913 reproduced by kind permission of the British Newspaper Archive

A meeting of the Association for the Development of the Counties of Aberdeenshire, Kincardine and Banff Limited considered a number of matters relating to transport in the region including a Glen Feshie road. One of the matters for consideration was the prospect of continuing the existing railway line from Alford, up to Strathdon and over the Lecht to Speyside as shown in the above maps.

The committee only got as far as agreeing to propose the plan to the Development Commissioners. There were good prospects that a Treasury grant would be forthcoming for the Braemar extension. The project was referred to the Board of Agriculture for Scotland for report in 1914 and that body intimated to the Development Commissioners and the Light Railway Commissioners that they were unable to recommend assistance from the State.

Imagine what life in Strathdon would have been like if there had been a railway link built.

There is in fact a cottage in Bellabeg Strathdon called Railway Cottage. This was used by the GNSR (Great North of Scotland Railway) which plied an ‘omnibus’ service between Ballater and Strathdon. The Service commenced 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.

Alan Johnston has added a comment about a previous planned railway line:

There was another proposed railway which would have passed close to the Glen. There was a failed bill in 1884 for "The Speyside, Donside and Deeside Junction Railway".
There is a fair amount about it in the newspaper archive. The plan was to start from Nethy Bridge and get to Tomintoul via a 940 yd tunnel and a 225yd viaduct. From there to Corgarff by a 3190yd tunnel. Then down the Don with one of the stations at Castle Newe which "will also serve as a station for Glenbucket". Then over the Birk Hill to join the Deeside Line. It would have been a spectacular line, although I would have thought going on through to Alford would have been more sensible.

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Picture added on 28 March 2013 at 23:19
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202 Bus at Den of Kildrummy c 192088 Coach to Glenbuchat at Gartly58 Carter at Kildrummy187 Strathdon Bus Routes/Tours152 Newe Transport