Royal Deeside Railway Visit
Sepember 14th 2008
Milton Of Crathes is on the Ex Great North Of Scotland branch from Aberdeen to Ballater, which closed in 1966 after 100 years service. The branch was used by the Royal Family whenever any of them were staying at Balmoral Castle and the Royal Train was a regular vistor at Aberdeen and on the branch.
In the early 60's a trial battery-electric multiple unit was ran up until closure. The unit has been preserved and
work continues at Crathes to get it fully working once again.
The Royal Deeside Railway's plan is to reopen as much of the branch at possible but for the moment starts at Milton Of Crathes 13 miles west of Aberdeen and are progressing towards Banchory where they will have a terminal station and visitor facilities. Banchory station, which has completely gone once had goods sidings and a locomotive depot. The depot building still exists and is in private use.
The original Crathes station, which still has platform remains and a signalbox but is privately owned. Therefore a new station had to be built at Milton Of Crathes a little to the west. As shown here the new station is starting to look very worklike and train rides using a small diesel locomotive and a brakevan rus on Saturday and Sunday through the Summer months and on special holiday weekends. Vintage passenger coaches will appear in the near future.
Another historical feature will be the actual Ex Great North Of Scotland Railway station building from Old Meldrum, which was a short branch from Inverurie, on the Aberdeen-Inverness mainline. The station will be rebuilt at Crathes Of Milton. It is an excellent example of the typical GNSR local type station building.
The Restaurant and Museum coaches stand at the eastern end of the platform. The temporary waiting room is on
the left. This will be replaced by the Old Meldrum station building when that eventually arrives on site
Meanwhile the coaches get a good clean-up. No machinery used here, just hard graft. Just look at that shine.
------ ---- and David Allan await next turn of duty
A ballast wagon, The Battery Unit and the small diesel and brakevan fill the station area of railway artifact
D9551 known as 'teddybears' by railwaymen. These were small diesel hyraulic locomotives with a top speed of 40mph
and used as either shunting or local trip working engines. They were not very successful on the mainline but
numerous private railways have found them ideal for their use, which has seen a number saved for preservation.
There were 56 built and all allocated to the Western Region of B.R. I quite liked working on them but they were just
so very unrealiable.
The locomotive and brakevan awaiting the departure
A six-wheeled diesel mechical shunter sandwiched between the battery unit and a utility van, used for parcel
and newspaper trains, or possibly as luggage vans.
A youngster is allowed to release the handbrake in the brakevan ready for departure.
The guard has given the "right Away" with his green flag and whistle and the train moves slowly away from the station
Dave looking ahead as we head towards the present end of the line
The Deeside Road on the left, which follows the railway for much of the way
The brief glimps of Crathes Castle seen through a short gap in the treeline
Running on the new track extension
Looking from the brakevan into the diesel cab.
David Allan keeps a good check out as the train reverses back towards Crathes of Milton
The new section of tracks, looking towards Milton of Crathes
About to pass over a damaged length of track at slow speed. Work is in progress for the repairs with two new lengths of rail
ready to replace the damaged ones. Notice the two red track clips. These are used to brace the track until repairs are carried
out. These are used on the mainline more than you think and are a perfectly safe method while waiting for repairs or relaying.
Note that the train is about to reach the 14½ mile post from Ferryhill Junction, Aberdeen.
Passing the field where the annual Traction Rallies are held. The 2008 rally had not long passed and a public tent
Passing an Ex GNSR Boundry Post. These marked the boundry of railway-owned land to either side of the trackbed
Running back into Milton Of Crathes station. A ganger's trolly is on the left and you can see the point
locks protecting the vehicles in the siding, which is worked from a ground frame just out of sight
A closer and wider view of the station, showing the new platform and ex Caladinian Railway lamp standards.
A local couple out for a walk. They probably never thought they would ever see a train passing this spot ever again
Passing the six-wheeled shunting loco
Passing the battery multiple unit.
Milton Of Crathes Station really looks the part. Congratulations are due to everyone who have played their
part in bringing this station to such a high standard
Great woodwork, design and paintwork makes this look very attractive
The youngster really had a special day in that he also got to wave the red flag to the driver for the train to stop
in the station and also to reaply the handbrake in the brakevan.
The locomotive waiting for the next trip
Young David on the steps of the locomotive prior to the next departure
Stop Blocks at the eastern end of the line. Hopefully awaiting future extension towards Aberdeen
However, in the meantime a loco shed is to be built at this spot for the near future.
At the western extremity of the line the crane and forklift vehicle wait for th next tracklaying session.
The ballast is already laid and levelled awaiting new rails and sleepers.
End of the present clearing work, looking towards Banchory
Short sections of sleepers and track. This is used for short 'fill-ins' when longer lengths don't quite match up
The crane is in excellent condition.
Jim checks the crane for the lifting power, which is 50 tons.
This was another pleasant visit to the railway and it is nice to see how much it is progressing. It was also nice meeting
David and other staff once again.
Special thanks to Grace and Jim Marnoch for taking me out the Crathes Of Milton and the equally pleasant visit into Banchory
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