Monday, 10 August 2009


Welcome to, a free database designed for anyone interested in the history of the Great North of Scotland Railway - and particularly those with queries about opening dates, station closures and numbering systems used to identify GNoSR engines as they were submerged into the LNER and British Railways fleets.
Much of the information was compiled during my time as a student at Aberdeen University, and thanks is due to friends in the university's railway society, staff at the phenomenal O'Dell Collection in King's College library in Aberdeen and to all those who accompanied me on rambles along old track beds and other "fact-finding"outings.
Those with long memories who were in the Granite City during that period may recall the chaotic student trains run to Kyle of Lochalsh in January/February 1976-80, a rail trip to Fraserburgh in May 1979, an AURS outing to Edinburgh and York in May 1980, an SRPS outing to Dufftown the same month and an AURS trip to the Forth Bridge and North Berwick in April 1980.
Later AURS trips that year included Kilmacolm in September and Muir of Ord in November, followed by Corbridge in March 1981, Falkirk in April, and the last train to Brechin in May.
There were also those who participated in the Keeping Tracks campaign, designed to encourage the reopening of former GNoSR stations around Aberdeen and which culminated in three important watersheds: the chartering of a special train, The Festival Flyer, which ran from Aberdeen to Keith Folk Festival on June 9, 1984; celebrations to mark the reopening of Dyce station on September 15, 1984; and another special train chartered to mark the reopening of Portlethen station on May 17, 1985 with a ceilidh in a local hall.
Special thanks are due to my old university friend and fellow GNoSR enthusiast John G Williamson for the use of his photographs throughout this blog - including the 1978 shot of Rathen station used above.
Contributions, corrections, comments and additional photographs are always welcome, so please feel free to contact me if you spot any errors or have any information or pictures which could be included on the site.
See also, the official website of the Great North of Scotland Railway Association.
*A parallel website on the Highland Railway,, is still under construction.

Saturday, 14 February 2009


The Deeside Railway (from Ferryhill to Banchory) was authorised in 1852 and opened in 1853. The Aboyne Extension Railway to Aboyne was authorised in 1857 and opened in 1859. The final stage of the line, the Aboyne and Braemar Railway, was authorised from Aboyne to Ballater in 1865 and opened in 1866. The lines were amalgamated with the GNoSR in 1875-6.

The line was closed to passengers in February 1966 and to goods five months later, when it closed completely.

Authorised (Ferryhill - Banchory) 28/5/1852
Leased to the GNoSR 1/9/1866
Merged with the GNoSR 1/8/1875

Authorised (Banchory - Aboyne) 27/7/1857
Merged with the GNoSR 1/8/1875

Authorised (Aboyne - Ballater) 5/7/1865
Merged with the GNoSR 31/1/1876

Ferryhill - Banchory (ceremonial) 7/9/1853
Ferryhill - Banchory (public) 8/9/1853*
Banchory - Aboyne 2/12/1859**
Aboyne - Ballater 17/10/1866

*: A section of the line was later doubled: Ferryhill - Cults 14/6/1864, Cults - Murtle 13/7/1892, Murtle - Culter 24/9/1892 and Culter- Park 28/8/1899. The entire length was singled again in March 1960.
**: MBH gives opening date as 2/9/1859.

Aberdeen (Ferryhill Junction - Ballater) P 28/2/66
Aberdeen (Ferryhill Junction - Ballater) G/CC 18/7/66

1 FERRYHILL (P/G/CC 2/8/1854)*
2 HOLBURN STREET (P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods*
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(RN PITFODELS HALT and unstaffed 16/7/26)
5 CULTS (G 15/6/64 P/CC 28/2/66)*
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(P/CC 5/4/37) no goods
(P/G/CC 5/4/37) unstaffed 16/3/31
(P/G/CC 5/4/37)
10 CULTER (P 28/2/66 G/CC 2/1/67)
11 DRUM (P/G/CC 10/9/51)
12 PARK (G 15/6/64 P/CC 28/2/66)
13 MILLS OF DRUM (P/CC 1863) no goods*
14 CRATHES (G 15/6/64 P/CC 28/2/66)*
15 BANCHORY (P 28/2/66 G/CC 18/7/66)*
16 DEE STREET HALT (P/CC 28/2/66) no goods
(G 15/6/64 P/CC 28/2/66) unstaffed 1/7/60
(G 29/3/65 P/CC 28/2/66)
(G 15/6/64 P/CC 28/2/66)
(G 1/7/60 P/CC 28/2/66) unstaffed 1/7/60
21 ABOYNE (P 28/2/66 G/CC 18/7/66)
(G 15/6/64 P/CC 28/2/66)
(P 28/2/66 G/CC 18/7/66) unstaffed 1952*
24 BALLATER (P 28/2/66 G/CC 18/7/66)*

*1: Closed completely on 2/8/1854 when all traffic was transferred to the Aberdeen Railway's new terminus at Guild Street
*3: Temporarily closed 4/1876, reopened 1/6/1885.
*5: New station 1855. Unstaffed 1/7/60.
*13: Closed in 1863 and replaced by new Crathes station on site of private platform built to serve the castle.
*14: Originally a private platform serving Crathes Castle. Replaced in 1863 by new Crathes station. Unstaffed 1/7/60.
*15: Original terminus P/CC 2/12/1859 (no goods) and replaced by new station on the extension.
*23: Also known as Cambus o' May Halt.
*24: About 1.25m of track was laid beyond Ballater as part of an original plan to take the railway as far as Bridge of Gairn, where a tramway was planned to exploit the timber in Ballochbuie Forest. But construction was suspended and the tramway plans shelved In August 2000 the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society submitted plans for a reinstated railway between Banchory and Milton of Crathes. The scheme was authorised on 10/6/03 and work started at the Milton end shortly afterwards.

Station openings
Cults, Murtle, Culter, Park, Mills of Drum, Crathes and Banchory opened with the line in 1853. Glassel, Torphins, Lumphanan, Dess and Aboyne opened with the extension in 1859. Dinnet and Ballater opened when the line was completed in 1866.

Between Aberdeen and Banchory, Ferryhill opened in 4/1850, Milltimber and Drum in 1854, Ruthrieston in 1856, Holborn Street, Pitfodels and West Cults in 1894, and Bieldside in 1897. Elsewhere on the line, Cambus o' May opened in 1876 and Dee Street Halt in 2/1961.

Ferryhill closed completely on 2/8/1854 when all traffic was transferred to the Aberdeen Railway's new terminus at Guild Street. Mills of Drum closed completely in 1863 and was replaced by Crathes station.
Holburn Street, Ruthrieston, Pitfodels, West Cults, Bieldside, Murtle and Milltimber all closed completely in 1937 when passenger services were withdrawn. Only Murtle and Milltimber had goods services.

PICTURE: Class 03 diesel shunter D2134 on the preserved Royal Deeside Railway in 2007 (John G Williamson)


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)


The GNoSR's Waterloo branch was authorised in 1854 and was the original Aberdeen terminus of the line. It opened to goods in 1855 and passengers in 1856, but shut to passengers with the opening of Aberdeen Joint station in 1867.


Authorised: 24/7/1854

Kittybrewster - Waterloo
24/9/1855 (goods)*
1/4/1856 (passengers)

*: MBH gives the opening date as 29/9/1855

Kittybrewster - Waterloo
4/11/1867 (passengers)

56 WATERLOO (P 4/11/1867)

PICTURE: Class 66 no 66101 is an overnight visitor at Waterloo goods yard on April 17, 2008 (John G Williamson)


The Formartine & Buchan Railway was authorised to build the Peterhead line from Dyce in 1858 and an alternative route via Ellon was authorised the following year. The line opened between Dyce and Mintlaw in 1861 and extended to Peterhead in 1862. It merged with the GNoSR in 1866.

The Maud to Peterhead section closed to passengers in May 1965 and the Dyce to Maud section five months later. Goods were withdrawn from the Peterhead branch in 1970, although goods trains continued to run through Maud to Fraserburgh until 1979, when the line closed completely.


Authorised: 23/7/1858
Altered route via Ellon authorised: 19/4/1859
Merged with the GNoSR: 1/8/1866

Dyce - Old Deer (Mintlaw) 18/7/1861
Old Deer (Mintlaw) - Peterhead 3/7/1862

Maud - Peterhead
3/5/65 (passengers)
7/9/70 (goods/completely)
Dyce - Maud
4/10/65 (passengers)
6/10/79 (goods/completely)

57 PARKHILL (P 3/4/50 G/CC 7/8/61)*
58 NEWMACHAR (G 23/3/64 P/CC 4/10/65)**
59 UDNY (P 4/10/65 G/CC 28/3/66)
60 NEWBURGH ROAD (G 7/11/60 P/CC 4/10/65)
(RN LOGIERIEVE 10/1862. Unstaffed from 7/11/60)
61 ESSLEMONT (P/G/CC 15/9/52)
62 ELLON (P 4/10/65 G/CC 11/9/67)
(G 23/3/64 P/CC 4/10/65)
64 AUCHNAGATT (P 4/10/65 G/CC 28/3/66)
65 BRUCKLAY (P 4/10/65 G/CC 6/10/79)
(RN NEW MAUD JUNCTION 24/4/1865, MAUD JUNCTION 5/1866, MAUD 21/9/25)
66 OLD DEER (P 3/5/65 G/CC 19/6/67)
(RN MINTLAW 1/9/1867. Originally known as Old Deer and Mintlaw)
67 LONGSIDE (G 23/3/64 P/CC 3/5/65)***
P/CC 3/5/65) no goods****
69 INVERUGIE (G 7/11/60 P/CC 3/5/65)
70 PETERHEAD (P 3/5/65 G/CC 7/9/70)*****

* The section between Parkhill and Elrick signalbox was doubled on 31/5/20 and singled again in September 1924.
** Originally New Machar.
*** A 2.5-mile long branch line was constructed to serve the Royal Naval Air Service airship base at Lenabo, which was in use from 1916. The branch, which left the Maud - Peterhead line east of Longside station, is thought to have been in use between 1918 and 1923, although the base was declared redundant in 1919 and was demolished in 1920-1. The tracks were removed on 7/9/23.
**** New Seat until 5/1884. RN Newseat Halt and unstaffed 22/9/30.
***** Peterhead Harbour extension, authorised 23/7/1858, opened 9/8/1865. Mostly fell into disuse by 1938. Remainder fell out of use during World War II.

Station openings
All stations between Dyce and Old Deer opened in 1861, with all those from Longside to Peterhead opening the following year.

Parkhill closed to passengers in 1950 and Esslemont closed completely in 1952.
Goods services were withdrawn from Logierieve and Inverugie in 1960.
Parkhill lost its goods service and closed completely in 1961, while Newmachar, Arnage, and Longside lost their goods services in 1964.
When the branch from Maud to Peterhead closed to passengers in 1965, the stations at Longside, Newseat and Inverugie closed completely.
The remaining stations between Dyce and Maud closed to passengers in November 1965, when Newmachar, Logierieve and Arnage closed completely.
Goods services were withdrawn from Udny and Auchnagatt in 1966 and from Ellon and Mintlaw in 1967. Goods were withdrawn from Peterhead in 1970, when the line closed completely.
Maud finally closed to goods in 1979 and the line closed completely with the end of goods services north to Fraserburgh (see 1F).

PICTURE: Class 25 locomotive 25035 during a photostop at Maud on the SRPS railtour to Fraserburgh on May 12 1979 (Andrew Parrott)

Saturday, 7 February 2009


The Cruden Railway was authorised in 1893 and opened from Ellon to Boddam in 1897. It closed to passengers in 1932 and completely in 1945, when goods were withdrawn from the branch.


Authorised: 24/8/1893

Ellon - Boddam 2/8/1897

Ellon - Boddam
31/10/32 (passengers)*
7/11/45 (goods/completely)**

* The line was closed by the LNER for the winter months but service never resumed. Vallance suggests the closure date was 1/11/32. Daniels & Dench gives 31/10/32. Clinker gives 31/10/32 except Hatton 1/11/32.
** The rails were lifted in 1950.

71 AUCHMACOY (P 31/10/32 G/CC 7/11/45)
(P 31/10/32 G/CC 7/11/45)
P 31/10/32 G/CC 7/11/45)
P 31/10/32 G/CC 7/11/45)
(P/CC 31/10/32) no goods*
(P 31/10/32 G/CC 7/11/45)
(P 31/10/32 G/CC 7/11/45)

* Also known as Bullers o' Buchan Halt.

Station openings
All stations opened with the line on 2/8/1897 except Bullers o' Buchan Platform, which opened in 1900.

All stations closed to passengers in 1932, when the halt at Bullers o' Buchan closed completely. The remaining stations all closed to goods in 1945 when the line closed completely.

PICTURE: A late survivor on the Boddam branch was the GNoSR goods shed at Hatton, which closed, along with the rest of the line, in 1945 (John G Williamson)


Originally a branch of the Formartine and Buchan Railway, which ran from Dyce to Peterhead, the line from Maud to Fraserburgh was authorised in 1863, opened in 1865 and was merged into the GNoSR in 1866.

It closed to passengers in 1965, five months after the Maud to Peterhead branch, and closed completely in 1979.


Fraserburgh branch, altered route, authorised: 21/7/1863
Merged with the GNoSR: 1/8/1866

Maud - Fraserburgh 24/4/1865

Maud - Fraserburgh
4/10/65 (passengers)
6/10/79 (goods/completely)

78 BRUCKLAY (P 4/10/65 G/CC 28/3/66)
79 STRICHEN (P 4/10/65 G/CC 19/6/67)
80 MORMOND (G 1/6/40 P/CC 4/10/65)
(unstaffed and renamed MORMOND HALT 1/6/39)
81 LONMAY (G 23/3/64 P/CC 4/10/65)
82 RATHEN (G 7/11/60 P/CC 4/10/65)
(unstaffed 7/11/60)
83 PHILORTH (G 26/7/26 P/CC 4/10/65)
(unstaffed 26/7/26, also known as PHILORTH HALT)
84 FRASERBURGH (P 4/10/65 G/CC 6/10/79)

Station openings
All stations except Rathen opened on 24/4/1865.
A rebuilt and enlarged station at Fraserburgh opened on 1/7/03.
The original Brucklay station was renamed New Maud Junction with the opening of Brucklay on the Fraserburgh branch.
Philorth was originally a private station serving Lord Saltoun of Philorth House.

Philorth closed to goods in 1926, Mormond in 1940, Rathen in 1960 and Lonmay in 1964.
All stations closed to passengers on 4/10/65 when these four stations closed completely.
Brucklay closed completely on 28/3/66.
Strichen closed completely on 19/6/67.
Fraserburgh closed completely on 6/10/79 when the branch shut to goods traffic.

PICTURE: Fraserburgh station in 1982, shortly before demolition (John G Williamson)