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Deeside Railway

Holburn Street Station
On the east side of Holburn Street.  The original Railway Bridge was demolished in the 1980s. Holburn Street Station was closed to passengers in April 1937 with the ending of the Suburban Services and the line itself closed in 1968.

Originally the line from Aberdeen to Banchory (which opened in 1854) was a single track with passing loops but between 1884 and 1899 a double track was laid enabling a frequent suburban service between Aberdeen and Culter.  In 1894 the Deeside suburban railway line was opened, calling at Holburn Street, Ruthrieston, Pitfodels, Cults, West Cults, Beildside,  Murtle, Milltimber and Culter. The Deeside Suburban Line was immediately popular, taking 20 minutes to travel the 7.375 miles. The original service of 8 trains doubled in 1900Holburn Street was renovated in 1906 for King Edward VII's opening of Marischal College. His Royal Train ran from Ballater to the decorated Holburn Street Station from where Edward went in procession to Marischal College.  In 1928 the suburban railway began to operate Sunday services to Culter from 1928 to 1936.  On 28th January 1937, it was announced that after April 1937 the suburban service was to end. Holburn Street was one of the fourteen stations closed as a result of rivalry from bus services and the waning popularity of the train service. This marked the end of a chapter in transportation history for Aberdeen.  Portions of the route have been surfaced for cycle and walking routes.  Some platforms survive.

Ruthrieston Station
Opened in 1856, the station at Ruthrieston followed the standard style of many stations introduced at that time, only this one was relatively small and the facilities basic. The station was constructed of wood with a hipped roof, on the opposite platform was a simple waiting shelter and a wooden footbridge linked the 2 platforms. 

Pitfodels Station
Opened in 1894 and the station building followed the standard style of many other stations. Constructed of wood the roof was ''hipped'' or ''piended''.  The building consisted of a booking office, general waiting hall, staff accommodation and toilets. On the opposite platform was a simple waiting shelter.  Pitfodels Station was downgraded to a halt in 1927 because passenger numbers were insufficient to justify the retention of full facilities. Suburban stations and halts could only give passengers tickets to stations served by the suburban train service,  The platform and main station survive intact

Cults Station - followed the standard style of many stations introduced at that time, constructed of wood with a hipped roof. The building on the Aberdeen bound platform, consisted of a booking office, general waiting hall, staff accommodation and toilets.  The construction of a 2nd platform was completed in 1880 but The Board of Trade said a shelter must be provided. The Deeside Railway Board's Minutes from the 24 July 1884 show that the cost of constructing the verandah (the official name for the waiting shelter) was £106. 15. 0.  A wooden footbridge connected the two platforms (cost not to exceed £150) was replaced in the 1930's by a metal one when the wood had rotted.  Originally the Deeside Railway had been authorised to construct their line on 16 July 1846. The scheme was re-authorised on 28 May 1852.  At 1st the Deeside railway used the terminus at Ferryhill but when Aberdeen Railway opened their extension in to Guild Street Station in 1854, the Deeside line went with them and used that station.  The Deeside Railway that had opened in 1853 amalgamated with the Great North of Scotland Railway by 1876 (the latter had leased the line since 1862).  In 1923 the Great North of Scotland Railway became absorbed into the Northern Scottish area of London and North Eastern Railway.  On 28th January 1937 it was announced that after April 1937 the suburban service was to end.   However, Cults station continued to be used for the Aberdeen to Ballater railway service.  The building which survives dates from the early 1890s, altered to fit its present industrial role.

West Cults Station
The Deeside Railway Board's minutes record that on the 11 January 1893 it was agreed to provide a station at West Cults at a cost of £1777. The station opened in 1894, the building followed the standard style of many stations introduced at that time, constructed of wood with a hipped roof. The 2 platforms were connected by a wooden footbridge, which was replaced by the 1930's by a metal one. In 1894 the Deeside suburban railway line was opened, calling at Holburn Street, Ruthrieston, Pitfodels, Cults, West Cults, Murtle, Milltimber and Culter

Bieldside Railway Station
The station at Bieldside was opened in 1897 and followed the standard style of many stations, only this one was relatively small in scale. The station was constructed of wood and had a roof that in architectural terms was called ''hipped'' or ''piended''.  The building consisted of a booking office, general waiting hall, staff accommodation and toilets. On the opposite platform was a simple waiting shelter and a wooden footbridge linked the 2 platforms. The Deeside Railway Board's minutes record that on the 11 January 1893 it was agreed to provide the station at a cost of £1363.  The Suburban Deeside line opened in 1894 but it was not until 1897 that Bieldside Station opened.  Lower Deeside had to wait for a local residential service while the double track from Aberdeen was built as far as Culter in 1892.   The coming of the service encouraged well-off Aberdonians to have houses on the Deeside Valley and Bieldside grew as a result of the station there.  In 1928 the suburban railway began to operate Sunday services to Culter, with 9 trains in the summer and 8 in the winter. The Culter service was then increased to 1/2 hourly services for the following 2 years. The Sunday service finally ceased running in 1936Nothing visible of the railway building, but the platform survives.

Murtle Station
The original station at Murtle opened in 1853 with a signal platform and in 1888 a 2nd platform and passing loop was provided. The station at Murtle was destroyed by fire in 1909 and the replacement station followed the standard design being used at other stations. The station was constructed of wood and had a roof that in architectural terms was called ''hipped'' or ''piended''. Awnings were added over the door to the platform which still survives today.  Murtle Station was downgraded to a halt in 1931 because passenger numbers were insufficient to justify the retention of full facilities.  On the 28th January 1937 it was announce that after April 1937 the suburban service was to end.  The building still exists as a private dwelling.

Milltimber Station
The station at Milltimber followed the standard style of many stations introduced at that time, only this one was relatively small in scale and the facilities basic.

The station was constructed of wood with a hipped roof, on the opposite platform was a simple waiting shelter and a wooden footbridge linked the 2 platforms.  Lower Deeside had to wait for a local residential service while the double track from Aberdeen was built as far as Culter in 1892.  In 1928 the suburban railway began to operate Sunday services to Culter, with nine trains in the summer and eight in the winter. The Culter service was then increased to half hourly services for the following 2 years. The Sunday service finally ceased running in 1936One of the station buildings is now a private house.

 

Culter Station
- was opened in 1853 and followed the standard style of many stations introduced, constructed of wood with a hipped roof. The building on the Aberdeen bound platform, consisted of a booking office, general waiting hall, staff accommodation and toilets. On the opposite platform was a simple waiting shelter and a wooden footbridge linking the two platforms.  At Culter there was a long siding running north from an east facing junction to paper mills. The line was double track from here to Aberdeen, but returned to a single track before closure of the line.  Originally Deeside Railway had been authorised to construct their line on 16 July 1846 but this was delayed by the construction of the Aberdeen Railway Terminus to Ferryhill. The scheme was re-authorised on 28 May 1852 and building of the Deeside extension railway began. The line opened in 1853 from Aberdeen to Banchory, which included stations at Cults, Murtle, Culter, a private platform at Crathes Castle, and Banchory.  The Deeside Railway amalgamated with the Great North of Scotland Railway by 1876 (the latter had leased the line since 1862).  The Lower Deeside residents had to wait for a double track from Aberdeen to Culter to be built before suburban trains could run as they did at Donside. The lower Deeside Suburban Service opened in 1892 and was immediately popular, the original suburban service of 8 trains doubled in 1900
 The Deeside service ran separately from the suburban train service on the Donside and there was a minority of through working. This was mainly due to the cramped conditions of the Joint Station, which opened in 1867. At that time there was only one through platform.   In 1923 the Great North of Scotland Railway became absorbed into the Northern Scottish area of London and North Eastern Railway.   On 28th January 1937 it was announced that after April 1937 the suburban service was to end.  However, Culter station continued to be used for the Aberdeen to Ballater railway service.  The Deeside line was mentioned in the Beeching Report of 1963 as a loss-making railway which resulted in its closure to passengers on 28th February 1966. Goods traffic to the Culter Paper Mills kept the line open for freight until 30 December 1966, when Class B1 Steam Locomotive No. 61180 became the last steam train to run on the Deeside Railway.  Arnott Young Ltd. were given the task of dismantling the line and by 1972 had lifted the tracks of the Deeside Railway.


The 0-4-0 Barclay steam engine ‘Bon-Accord’.  Built in 1897 by Andrew Barclay for the Aberdeen Gas Works, this steam loco has been the subject of a major 10 year restoration project Other rolling stock includes 2 Mk 2 coaches which are used for service with the steam engine, and also serve as the Stationary Railway Tearoom. 

The original Deeside Railway opened on 8th September 1853 and reached Ballater some 13 years later.  It amalgamated with the Great North of Scotland Railway in 1876.  The line was regularly patronised by the Royal Family and other visitors to Balmoral Castle until it closed in 1966 as a result of the notorious Beeching Report.   Thirty years later, the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society was formed and the work of restoring part of the line commenced in 2003.  They now have about a mile of track in passenger service and are gradually extending the line along the original trackbed until they reach Banchory, which will give them a running line of just over 2 miles.


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Last modified: 01/09/2013