Maud Junction Station 2003. On the left are the Peterhead platforms and on the right the Fraserburgh Up platform.
The former station buildings are divided into small business units. Unit 3 is the home of the Maud Railway Museum.
There was a very pleasant 'privately run' station buffet in this building.
A Pair of NBL Locos approach Inverurie Station with an Inverness-Aberdeen express in 1964. The Old Meldrum
branch ran in front of the signal box. The starting signal can be seen. The loco works were on the far left.
A 158 Sprinter from Inverness almost at the same spot in 1997. Along with the signal box and old
oil/coal storage shed the two electric wire posts are about the only original items still existing.
Inverurie Loco Works
As the loco works came under Kittybrewster there were times when Kittybrewster crew would be set out on loan when short of staff.
As a 'passed-cleaner' I was sent to the works a number of times. usually to clean a few locomotives and fire lighting of a steam engine
or two. One two occasions I managed to get out on trains as second man. One trip was to Old Meldrum, which was a nice experience
and I enjoyed seeing the branch and looking around the station area. Trains were quite short usually consisting of a '35' shunter and
four or five wagons and brakevan, which included at last one whiskey wagon. We also visited the works with locomotives with light
locomotives that required servicing or repairs.
The second trip was on the Turriff tripper, again, which consisted of a '350' shunter and half a dozen wagons. I remember it as being
quite an undulating line with some nice views from embankments and most of the stations still having their platforms and fittings.
One interesting thing was that a lady staff worker was picked up along the way (I think Rothienorman) and traveled with us in the cab.
I was disappointed that the line didn't go right through to McDuff, but that closed two years before I joined the railway. There was a
stop block just past Turriff Station. The signal box was interesting as it had a wooden walkway that connected at road level.
I remembered too, a large crane on the down platform.
I always regret not having a camera with me on those occasions but usually you had these turns on an early booking when thoughts
of taking photographs would occur to you.
Another interesting experience while being on lone to the works was having my only 'firing' turn while at Kittybrewster. Kittybrewster
was virtually an all diesel depot. The 03.25 Elgin goods was booked a steam loco, but that usually went by seniority, and beside, I was
never trained on steam. However I did travel on the loco a couple of times when being sent out on lone to Inverurie and found that an
interesting experience. I never dreamed that within the year I would actually be promoted to fireman and having to work steam on a
regular basis when I moved to Didcot. But that is another story!!!
My experience of firing was when asked by the foreman at Inverurie if I was prepared to fire a steam engine into Aberdeen, being just
16 miles he considered that I could manage that, with some guidance from the driver. I found the idea interesting and accepted, besides
it was getting me back to Aberdeen nice and early as he said I could book off when I got there. I nervously met the driver and walked
to the station to pick up this 'train', well light locomotive, as it turned out I had no idea about steam engines so one was the same as the
other. But I enjoyed the experience, albeit another driver who hitched a ride tried to take over the firing and I did give in a for a few
miles and relaxed and watched the working of a steam engine from the footplate. It was many years later when reading a railway
magazine that I learned that the loco was in fact off the Banff Branch.
The only time I was booked on the complete 03.25 turn was when it had a Class 8000 English Electric loco (later Class 20) and was
teamed with the last Jimmy Gallespie who wasn't far off retirement. Jimmy was a jolly chap and talked all the way to Elgin. These
locomotives have single cabs and a long nose like a steam engine. We were running cab first, which gives you a very good forward
view, but you see very little looking back. Like their Class 37 counterparts they make a lot of noise but don't go anywhere very fast!!
But they are a good steady and comfortable ride. Our route was via Keith and Mulben. After some shunting at Elgin we left the train for
it's forward working and enjoyed a break before our return journey. It was around 5am and I found a bakery where the smell of baking
bread and rolls made you feel even more hungry. We enjoyed some rolls and bacon in the mess room.
We arrived at Elgin (Highland) Station which is a normal two platform design, but the departure was from the more grand ex G.N.S.R
. station which was almost a miniature of Aberdeen, albeit, it was looking a bit shabby at that time, which isn't surprising in that it was
earmarked for closure and the Highland station rebuilt as the main station for Elgin. The G.N.S.R also had more signals, crossings and
sidings and looked very much a railway.
The back working was the 6am passenger via the 'coast road'. Station over this route were; Calcots, Urquhart, Garmouth, Spey Bay,
Port Gordon, Buckpool, Buckie, Portessie, Findochty, Cullen, Tocheneil, Glassaugh, Portsoy, Tillynaught Junction, Cornhill, Glenbarry,
Knock, Carnie North Junction, Joining the main line at Carnie Junction and all principle stations to Aberdeen. Quite a full night's work.
However it is a very interesting and beautiful run. Following the coastline all the way to Portsoy before turning south and inland to
Carnie. Our train was a single NBL Locomotives and five or six Mark One coaches. On departure you pass the junction for the
Craigellachie, Dufftown and Keith line, and pick up the first token. The first point of interest was the short distance between stations
from Garmouth and Spey Bay and the magnificent arched girder bride over the river Spey.
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