Formartine and Buchan Railway
THE BUCHAN RAILWAYS
Very many schemes had to be formed, and repeated surveys had to be made before
Buchan was accommodated with railways. In 1845 the prospectus of the
Banff and Elgin Railway described a branch from the main line passing through
Ellon by Birness to Longside, with branches thence to Peterhead and
The bill for the main line failed to pass, and neither it nor its branches were
heard of again. In 1845, also, the Great North of Scotland Eastern Extension
Railway was protected, and in 1846 an Act was obtained for making it. It
was to leave the main line at Inverurie, and go by Oldmeldrum, Tarves, Ellon,
Auchnagatt, Crichie, to Old Deer, with branches thence to Fraserburgh and
Peterhead. The impecuniosities of the chief company delayed the making of the
main line for five years, and before any thing could be done to the Eastern
Extension the power to make it had lapsed.
In 1855-6 two railways to Buchan were proposed — the
Formartine and Buchan Railway, promoted by the Great North of Scotland Company;
and the Aberdeen, Peterhead, and Fraserburgh Railway, promoted by Mr John
Duncan, advocate, Aberdeen. The Formartine and Buchan line was to leave the main
line at Dyce and go on to Strichen, with the design of going to Fraserburgh at
some future time. It crossed the Ythan at Douglashead, and held up the
the Ebrie Burn towards Maud — not then begun to be built. Thereafter it followed
the route on which the existing railway was afterwards made. From Old Maud it
sent off a branch by Old Deer to Peterhead. This scheme was rejected by the
House of Commons, because it did not provide for Ellon nor go to Fraserburgh.
The proposed Aberdeen, Peterhead, and Fraserburgh Railway began with a station
at the east side of King Street, and crossed the Waterloo Railway above the
Thieves' Brig. At the west side of the Broad Hill it sent off a branch to the
harbour. It passed along the edge of the Links, and crossed the Don 230 feet
below the New Bridge. It followed the coast to Newburgh, and then kept along the
south side of the Ythan to Kinharrachie, where it crossed the river. From the
Ythan to Auchnagatt the routes of the two railways were the same. There they
parted, the Aberdeen, Peterhead, and Fraserburgh Railway following the road to
Crichie and Old Deer, whence it sent out branches to Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
This scheme was also rejected, because signatures to large sums in the contract
were not properly authenticated by witnesses.
In 1856-7 the same schemes were brought forward again, the Buchan and Formartine
now proposing to go on to Fraserburgh by the west of Mormond. It failed to pass
in the House of Commons owing to mistakes in the levels of the railway. The
other railway failed because a statutory deposit of money was not made in time.
In 1857-8 the Formartine and Buchan Railway Company again brought forward their
scheme, this time to go by the east of Mormond. The bill passed and money enough
was raised to make the railway to Mintlaw, where a halt was made for a while. In
1863 the Peterhead branch was completed ; but for want of local support the
Fraserburgh branch had not been commenced. A new Act was obtained, and the route
was changed. The railway leaves Maud as if it were to go by the west of
but at Brucklay it turns away to Strichen and curves round to Fraserburgh by the
east side of Mormond. It was finished and opened April 22, 1865.
The Formartine and Buchan Railway
Passenger services were withdrawn by in 1965 as part
of the Beeching Cuts. Freight trains continued to operate to Peterhead
until 1970 and Fraserburgh until 1979. The track was subsequently lifted
and much of the route now forms the
Formartine and Buchan Way, a long distance footpath and cycleway.