Saturday, 14 February 2009


The Great North of Scotland Railway was formed in 1845 with the ambition of building a double-track main line from Aberdeen to Inverness. In the end, the railway only got as far as Keith, with a separate line - later part of the Highland Railway - being built to form what was to become the main line to Inverness.

The section from Kittybrewster to Huntly was authorised in 1846 and opened in 1854. The Keith extension was authorised in 1855 and opened in 1856. The final link in the chain, the Denburn Valley line to Aberdeen Joint station, was authorised in 1864 and opened in 1867.

The line was doubled in various stages between 1861 and 1900, but reduced to single track in 1971.

It remains open throughout for passengers and goods, although only a handful of the original stations survive.


Formed 4/2/1845
Kittybrewster - Huntly authorised 26/6/1846
Keith extension authorised 25/5/1855
Denburn Valley line authorised 23/6/1864

Kittybrewster - Huntly 12/9/1854 (goods) 19/9/1854 (official) 20/9/1854 (regular traffic)
Huntly - Keith 10/10/1856
Kittybrewster - Aberdeen Joint station 4/11/1867

The line was doubled from Kittybrewster - Dyce 18/7/1861, Dyce - Kintore 1/6/1880, Kintore - Inveramsay 1/5/1882, Inveramsay - Insch 27/10/1888, Insch - Kennethmont 9/8/1896, Kennethmont - Gartly 20/9/1896, Gartly - Huntly 30/11/1896, Huntly - Avochie signalbox 19/1/1898, Avochie SB - Rothiemay 30/4/00, Rothiemay - Keith 17/1/1898 and Grange (North Jn - South Jn) 17/1/1898. The line was reduced to single track in 1971.

The Denburn Valley line was jointly financed by the GNoSR and the Scottish North Eastern Railway, which had been formed in July 1856 with the amalgamation of the Scottish Midland Junction Railway and the Aberdeen Railway. The SNER was in turn amalgamated with the Caledonian Railway on 10/8/1866.

26 SCHOOLHILL (P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
28 KITTYBREWSTER* (P 6/5/68)

(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(P/G/CC 5/4/37)
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goodS
(RN PERSLEY HALT and unstaffed from 16/7/26)
32 BUCKSBURN* (P 5/3/56 G/CC 22/4/68)
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
35 DYCE (1st station)* (P 17/7/1861)
36 DYCE (2nd station) (G 10/8/64)
37 PITMEDDEN (P/CC 7/12/64) no goods
38 KINALDIE (G 3/10/60,
P/CC 7/12/64)
39 KINTORE (P 7/12/64 G/CC 7/11/66)
40 PORT ELPHINSTONE (G/CC 2/11/64)* no passengers
41 INVERURIE (1st station)* (P 8/2/02)
42 INVERURIE (2nd station)
43 INVERAMSAY (P 1/10/51 G/CC2/11/64)*
44 PITCAPLE (G 20/4/64 G/CC 6/5/68) unstaffed from 27/2/67
(G 20/4/64 G/CC 6/5/68) unstaffed from 5/10/59
46 BUCHANSTONE (P/CC 1/2/1868) no goods*
47 INSCH (G 7/11/66)
48 WARDHOUSE (P/CC 5/6/61) no goods*
49 KENNETHMONT (P 6/5/68) unstaffed from 27/2/67*
50 GARTLY (G 7/11/66 P/CC 6/5/68) unstaffed from 27/2/67
52 ROTHIEMAY (G 2/5/60 P/CC 6/5/68) unstaffed from 2/5/60
53 CAIRNIE JUNCTION (P/CC 6/5/68) no goods*
54 GRANGE (G 4/12/61 P/CC 6/5/68) unstaffed from 27/2/67

*25: The opening of the new Aberdeen Joint station meant the transfer of passenger services away from the two former termini of the GNoSR and SNER, at Waterloo and Guild Street respectively. Both stations remained opened for goods services, along with carriage sidings at the Joint station and an engine shed at Ferryhill. The joint station was rebuilt from 1907 and work finally completed in 1920. The Guild Street station had opened on 2/8/1854 when the Aberdeen Railway extended its line from a temporary terminus at Ferryhill which had been opened in April 1850.
*28: Originally Aberdeen (Kittybrewster) in timetables until 4/1856. Resited 1856. A coal concentration depot from 1969, open for coal and private sidings traffic.
*32: Buxburn until 1/1/1897.
*35: Resited a quarter of a mile further south to serve Peterhead line.
*40: G/CC except private sidings, oil terminal.
*41: Opened as Inverury, spelling changed 1/5/1866. Replaced by new station half a mile north.
*43: G except private sidings, since closed.
*46: Official closure date - timetables indicate 9/1866 was the actual date.
*48: Built for Mr Gordon of Wardhouse.
*49: Distillery sidings remain open.
*53: Exchange platforms only until 14/6/65 when it was advertised as a regular station.
*55: Distillery traffic, coal, grain and fertiliser traffic in bulk train loads.

Disputed dates: Vallance gives the closure of stations 37-39 as being 12/12/64, but Clinker and Daniels & Dench give 7/12/64. Vallance gives 10/2/02 for the resiting of 1B 41.

Station openings
20/9/1854: Kittybrewster, Bucksburn, Dyce (1st station), Kintore, Inverurie (1st station), Pitcaple, Oyne, Insch, Kennethmont, Gartly and Huntly.
1/12/1854: Kinaldie, Buchanstone, Wardhouse.
10/10/1856: Rothiemay, Grange, Keith
5/9/1857: Inveramsay
1858: Woodside
18/7/1861: Dyce (2nd station)
4/11/1867: Aberdeen
1874: Pitmedden
1887: Hutcheon Street, Don Street
7/1887: Bankhead, Stoneywood
1893: Schoolhill
10/2/02: Inverurie (2nd station)
1903: Persley
not known: Port Elphinstone, Cairnie Junction

The original station in Dyce closed in 1861 when a replacement was opened to serve the Peterhead line. Inverurie also had a new replacement station, opened in 1902. Buchanstone closed completely in 1868.
Passenger services were withdrawn from Schoolhill, Hutcheon Street, Don Street, Woodside, Persley, Bankhead and Stoneywood in 1937, when all closed completely. Only Woodside boasted a goods service.
Inveramsay closed to passengers in 1951 and Bucksburn in 1956.
Kinaldie and Rothiemay lost their goods service in 1960 and Wardhouse closed completely in 1961, when Grange closed to goods.
In 1964 Dyce, Port Elphinstone, Inveramsay, Pitcaple and Oyne closed to goods. The same year saw passenger services withdrawn from Pitmedden, Kinaldie and Kintore, the first two closing completely.
Kintore, Insch and Gartly closed to goods in 1966, when Kintore closed completely.
Kittybrewster closed to passengers in 1968, when Bucksburn lost its goods service and closed completely. Pitcaple, Oyne, Gartly, Rothiemay, Cairnie Junction and Grange closed completely with the withdrawal of passenger services. Kennethmont also closed to passengers.
The closures left six stations remaining - Aberdeen, Dyce, Inverurie, Insch, Huntly and Keith, with no goods services at Dyce or Insch. Private sidings remained open at Port Elphinstone and distillery sidings at Kennethmont.

PICTURE: A Class 27 locomotive hauling refurbished Mark I stock through Inverurie station in Spring 1981, with the remains of Inverurie locomotive works in the background, the site now mostly occupied by Tescos (John G Williamson)

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