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Strathspey Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by steam_mad, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Railboy

    Railboy New Member

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  2. Railboy

    Railboy New Member

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    Here I will list up all the facebookpages covering the activities around the Strathspey Railway.
    Official Facebookpage: https://www.facebook.com/Strathspey...MMNrlZb9RHSkQDedDs220oWUrk6MjNe_kso61j1O1onlw
    Page of the Strathspey Railway Association: https://www.facebook.com/Strathspey-Railway-Association-652156741521358/
    Facebook of the Boat of Garten Railway Station: https://www.facebook.com/Boat-of-Garten-Railway-Station-313483999062978/?ref=page_internal
    Rail to Grantown (group which wants to extend the railway): https://www.facebook.com/RailsToGrantown/?ref=py_c
    DMU Group of the Strathspey Railway: https://www.facebook.com/BlueSquareHeritage/?ref=py_c
    LMS Black 5 restoration: https://www.facebook.com/black55025/?ref=py_c
    Aviemore Engine shed (documentation of ongoing works): https://www.facebook.com/Aviemore-E...f059pjNcVhR_ZeIv7jfX13Qs&fref=nf&__tn__=kCH-R
    Caledonian Railway 828: https://www.facebook.com/812ClassMc...Qi7BB54zGzW1EH7fmh5-Y-N15WhkS1gL&__tn__=kCH-R
     
  3. burmister

    burmister Member

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    Thanks for this did not appreciate so much info was available. Highlight for me was the microlight film on the Association page of the entire length railway plus the bit into Grantown on a cloudless day . Really shows up the Scenery all around. The old Speyside trackbed showed up well and did not veer off across the Spey for quite some distance after BofG and you have bags of yard space to erect sheds for storage and maintenance. Green with envy.
    Brian
     
  4. W.Williams

    W.Williams Member

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    Latest News


    April 2019
    The start button has been pushed on the process of getting Government approval for the extension to Grantown. Before the formal application for a Transport and Works (Scotland) Order is submitted, a pre application consultation process with the Scottish Government and various bodies such as SNH and the National Park has to be undertaken and this is now under way. A community consultation event is to be held in late Sprng as part of this pre application process.



    Historical background

    The original railway linking Perth and Inverness, completed in 1863, ran from Aviemore through Grantown and over Dava Moor to Forres. Even after a more direct route from Aviemore to Inverness via Carrbridge was opened in 1898 train services continued to operate to and through Grantown bringing holidaymakers and visitors to the town.

    In the early 1960’s, when Britain’s railways started to operate at a loss, the Government of the day directed the railways to return to profitability by closing the lesser used parts of the network. One of the first lines in Scotland to be closed as part of this programme was the one between Aviemore and Forres.

    People could, and did, object to railway closures. Few of these objections were upheld at the subsequent public inquiries but objectors to the Grantown route closure won a recommendation that a train service be continued between Aviemore and Grantown. Unfortunately, the Government was not obliged to follow such recommendations – and didn’t. Train services to the town ceased in October 1965.

    Retention to restoration

    Even before the track was lifted, a multi agency working group on the future of the Cairngorms (a distant precursor of today’s National Park Authority) had endorsed retention of the line and its development as a tourist attraction.

    As well as rail closures the 1960s saw the end of steam locomotive operation on the national railway network (British Rail – BR), whose managers made it clear that any such locomotives preserved in working order would not be welcome on BR metals. So, inspired by volunteer enthusiasts’ revival of a number of moribund narrow gauge railways in Wales, rail enthusiasts began to buy and restore locomotives and to look for closed lines on which they could be operated. Thus was born what is now a UK-wide network of over 100 preserved railways. The opportunities to restore such railways arose in a random fashion and only a few arose on lines which could act as transport links and not just working museums and tourist attractions.

    The Highlands and Islands Development Board tried to develop this concept as a way of keeping a railway to Grantown going but their efforts were sabotaged by BR’s sudden removal of track and bridges south of Grantown. This would also have been the first such project in Scotland. Established enthusiast bodies in Scotland feared that a preserved railway far from the Central Belt would not be viable so they pulled out of the project. The Strathspey Railway was founded by a group who thought otherwise.

    The Strathspey Railway’s founders shared the vision of a railway between Aviemore and Grantown, but with bridges missing and no track left north of Boat of Garten, restoration of trains to Grantown had to become a very long term ambition.

    One step at a time

    It took six years, from April 1972 to July 1978, for the volunteer enthusiasts to restore the line between Aviemore and Boat of Garten to working order and restore the engines and coaches needed to run a train service for the public – though some of the delay arose because of disputes over the construction of a level crossing on the line at Dalfaber Road in Aviemore. (This was a new road serving new housing and holiday developments, built after the line had closed but over part of the track which had not been lifted)

    The following decade saw a slow process of building up traffic and skills culminating in the first appointment of full time paid staff in 1987 and creating the conditions which would let the railway tackle the much bigger challenges of going north. In 1988 the railway formally committed itself to extending to Grantown in stages.

    In the decade commencing in 1992 the first four miles of overgrown trackbed were cleared and drainage repaired, track acquired from various sources and laid and ballasted, a missing bridge over the road in Boat of Garten replaced,and the demolished station at Broomhill rebuilt in replica form to serve as an interim northern terminus. Train services began running to Broomhill in May 2002.

    During this period, as well as extending north, the railway had also extended south from its temporary separate station at Aviemore (Aviemore Speyside) into the island platform of the BR station. Although a more modest project, this southern extension adds value to the railway as a potential transport link since it allows cross platform interchange of passengers with trains on the national network.

    Enter the Trust

    Although the railway secured planning permission for the second phase of restoration all the way to Grantown in 2003, the permission had to be allowed to lapse due to mounting legal and land acquisition problems. This led to the decision in 2008 to set up a separate but related body, the Strathspey Railway Charitable Trust, to take the project forward so as to let the original Strathspey Railway Company (SRC) concentrate on running and maintaining what by now was a considerable operation. Thus, for example, the railway could concentrate on expanding its engineering facilities and in house skills for engine and carriage restoration and maintenance while the Trust got on with the challenges of developing the line to Grantown.

    [​IMG]
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    http://www.railstograntown.co.uk/history/
     
  5. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    Good to know so much info is available (even though I don't 'do' facebook myself).
    If anyone from Strathspey is on here, may I suggest that rather than the website 'News' page simply diverting readers to Facebook (without any warning), that the News page has links to all the above pages so that everyone is aware of them.
     
  6. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    I've mentioned this before, but I've always been intrigued by the thought of steam slogging up the 15 miles of 1 in 75 from Forres to Dava summit.
     
  7. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    Isn't the proposed "new" station on a slight deviation from the original route?
     
  8. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    I hope it doesn't prevent the line being extended further north at some point in the future.
     
  9. jonathonag

    jonathonag Well-Known Member

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    I think, to be realistic, Grantown Upon Spey will be the furthest North the Strathspey will extend to.

    Grantown would put the railway at roughly 15 miles, which is more than enough for most heritage railway operations. It also allows the railway to achieve their wish of both ends of the railway terminating in towns of substance, meaning there is a destination at either end of the line. Currently, the Broomhill terminus is in the middle of a field so to speak.

    Extended North, the next substantial town is Forres. That's 20+ miles to add on to the 15 proposed to Grantown. 35+ miles of heritage railway is a huge task to undertake for even any of the larger heritage railways who have several hundreds worth of volunteers to pull resources from, never mind the very small pool of active volunteers in Aviemore. Add to that, the current locomotive pool versus train length (Load 6) to manage the climb over Dava, the journey length versus what families would ideally like in journey time etc...

    Personally, I'd love to see trains over Dava, but neither the manpower, PWay, S&T and locomotive & rolling stock resources are there to justify it in my view. I'd be surprised if the railway sees differently to that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  10. Ploughman

    Ploughman Well-Known Member

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    I believe that there has been some crane working on the Dulnain bridge recently.
    Anyone say what was going on?
     
  11. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    I think any line with even a length of 15 miles is going to struggle to maintain an all-steam service with just three main line engines. I can't see their smaller locos being of much use for the longer runs, but at the same time the SR does not seem to have shown interest in building its fleet by making purchases south of the border when opportunities have arisen.
     
  12. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    Just to add that Forres has more than 2x the combined population of Aviemore and Grantown, but yes, it would be a very long railway with an awful lot of "nowt but scenery".
     
  13. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Well, the line do always seem keen to emphasise their onboard catering ...... :)
     
  14. class8mikado

    class8mikado Member

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    Perhaps in the event of a mainline steam ban the demand for a 70 mile 4/ hr round trip by steam will be pretty attractive, an eastern alternative to the Jacobite... you could cater in two sittings !

    In that event an extended Strathspey 0r Wensleydale, joined up Great central etc might have a really good selling point.
     
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  15. mdewell

    mdewell Member

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    So where would they build the 'new' Harry Potter viaduct? ;):)
    (It seemed to be a main selling point on our recent Jacobite trip)
     
  16. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    There is the Divie viaduct between Forres and Dava. I suspect the Jacobite would win in terms of scenery, but Forres is less than 100 feet above sea level, Dava Summit is 1052 feet and Grantown is at 750 feet, so I think an extended Strathspey would win in terms of sound effects from the engine. :)
     
  17. W.Williams

    W.Williams Member

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    I too think it's a stretch at this present time to think that the Strathspey will go beyond Grantown.

    On saying that however, I suspect that against the backdrop of increased interest in reopening rail lines formally mothballed that it would be premature to rule out any re-opening in a more public capacity.

    North East Scotland was disproportionally hit in the loss of its rail lines in the 60's and public appetite to put them back has arguably never been higher.

    This is going to be further driven by recent Environmental concerns.

    There are lines higher up the pecking order, but a direct line between Forres and Aviemore via Grantown is appealing.

    Never say Never.
     
  18. Allegheny

    Allegheny New Member

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    It would be tricky as a through route, because it has been built over at the Forres end, but interesting to talk about as a WIBN.
    As previously mentioned, I am just hoping that the layout of the new station at Grantown West doesn't rule it out.
     
  19. jonathonag

    jonathonag Well-Known Member

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    As a funny coincidence....

    In the latest writings from J.K Rowling on the Harry Potter Franchise, 'The Cursed Child' screenplay (and further screenplay adapted into a book) does actually state clearly that Aviemore station is the closest muggle station to Hogwarts, having been reached by two of the main characters by walking through the 'Forbidden Forest'.

    It's something I've discussed previously with the marketing manager, and we're still figuring out ways on capitalising on that (if allowed) but unsure on what the correspondence has been like between the railway, J.K Rowling and any other representatives. However, I do believe that Warner Bros hold the rights for adapting the screenplay into a movie, so fingers crossed that it eventually comes to be. Having Harry Potter film on the Strathspey would indeed be a great way to boost tourism, and it wouldn't be the first time a Great Western engine has been on the line....
     
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  20. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Indeed. And let's not forget ..... we really should leave the odd project for those who follow, once we've all fallen off our perches! :)
     
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