A view of the new Joint Station, taken in the 1930's
The Doric Columns
The Aberdeen Railway first opened its line from the south to a temporary station at Ferryhill on 16 March 1850.
Many delays had been experience in building the railway, due to the large number of major viaducts, rock cuttings, embankments and bridges needed. Because of this the official opening was a fortnight later, on the 30th March.
Ferryhill Station was the terminus of the Aberdeen Railway entering Aberdeen from the south.
It was later closed on 2 August 1854, being replaced by Guild Street Station and then the Joint Station (opened in 1867).
Waterloo goods depot lingered on until the late 70's. The fine goods shed was occupied by Fry's, the Chocolate Company. At Kittybrewster Depot, there was a regular shunting turn which meant experiencing the heavy drop down to the docks which had you wondering if the train would manage to stop, or on return, manage to make the climb back. There are numerous records of trains failing to do either and coming to grief at the stop blocks. One incident left the wagons piled upon each other up against a tenement block. I'm sure many trainmen will recall times when they spent most of the return journey walking alongside the loco, throwing sand and grit under the wheels to finally reach Kittybrewster yard. Today little remains of the goods yard, but the single line is still used occasionally by clay wagons, from Cornwall.
View of goods shed before removal
The authority to build a passenger station at Guild Street was granted in 1850, but it was not until August 2nd 1854 that Aberdeen Railway was able to extend to the new city terminus. Once Guild Street Station opened it replaced the temporary station at Ferryhill, and was the terminus of the railway entering Aberdeen from the south.
The station building was a 2-storey 8 bay Office with round headed Ground Floor openings. This building was demolished in 1982. From 1854 to 1867, if a passenger wished to travel north beyond Aberdeen they had to change to Waterloo Station. The only connection between Guild Street and Waterloo Station (the GNSR terminus) was by rails along the Quayside, only suitable for goods wagons. Passengers either had to walk or use a horse drawn bus, and connections were not guaranteed.
Later the Railway extended through the west of this station along the Denburn Valley. In November 1867, trains from the north were able to use this line into the new Joint Station. After the construction of the Joint Station, Guild Street Station became a goods station, closing to passengers. The goods shed built before World War 1 had been converted into an office block with an associated private car park. In 2000 the yard at Guild Street was still used by English, Welsh and Scottish Railways for freight traffic. While some of its tracks remain, the vast majority of the site was cleared in 2005 nothing of the Station remains.
The Aberdeen Railway, amalgamated (1866) with the Caledonian, was opened for traffic up to Guild Street Terminus in 1848: and the Great North of Scotland was opened from Huntly to Kittybrewster in 1854, and thence extended, 2 years afterwards, to Waterloo Terminus. The break-700 yards of crowded quays between these termini had proved a great hindrance to intercommunication, when, in 1864, the 2 companies were empowered to construct the Denburn Valley line, on a capital of £190,000, of which the Great North of Scotland subscribed £125,000. The junction railway runs 1¾ mile north-north-westward from Guild Street to Kittybrewster, being carried beneath Union Bridge, and through 2 short tunnels under Woolman Hill and Maberley Street: and the Great North Company abandoned their Waterloo Branch, except for goods traffic, on the opening (1867) of the new Joint (Guild Street) Station, which, over 500 feet long by 100 wide, is one of the finest stations in Scotland, its lofty iron-girder roof being modelled after that of Victoria Station, Pimlico
Joint Station & The Denburn Valley Line
The Joint Railway Station for the Caledonian Great North of Scotland, and Deeside lines, was opened 1867, and is a very handsome erection, costing about £26,000. It is 500 feet long, and 102 feet broad, with the side walls 32 feet high. The arched roof of curved lattice-iron ribs, covered with slate, zinc, and glass, is all in one span, rising 72 feet high, and is very light and airy.
The Main Station currently standing was built as Aberdeen Joint Station between 1913–16, replacing an 1867 structure of the same name (Joint Pass) on the same site. The station and the new Denburn Valley Line enabled the main line from the south and the commuter line from Deeside to connect with the line from the North. The lines from the south had previously terminated at the adjacent Guild Street Station. Even this had not been Aberdeen's first railway station, that distinction belonging to a previous terminus a short way south at Ferryhill. After the construction of the Joint Station, Guild Street Station became a goods station. Some of its tracks remain, but the vast majority of the site was cleared in 2005. Prior to the construction of the Joint Station, lines from the north had terminated at Waterloo Quay. a short but inconvenient distance along the edge of the harbour. This too became a goods station after the construction of the Joint Station. There is no longer a station at the site, but a goods service runs approximately weekly to industrial operations there. The Waterloo tracks join the north-south connecting Denburn Valley Line in the Kittybrewster area of the city, where the very first terminus of the lines from the north had briefly been, before extension and the building of the Waterloo Station. As far north as Inverurie, these follow the route of the Aberdeenshire Canal which had been purchased and filled in by the The Great North of Scotland Railway. As a result of the grouping of railway companies Aberdeen came under the auspices of the LNER.
A view of the new Joint Station, taken in the 1930's
When the Joint Station opened in 1867, it was thought to be of grand design. The original station was built by John Morgan and consisted of three through tracks with one long through platform and two bay platforms at each end. John Morgan, 1844-1907, became an apprentice builder in 1862. In his long and varied career he was responsible for a number of notable buildings, including the frontage to Marischal College, Canada House, the Central Library and the Northern Insurance Building (known locally as the monkey house). He was also a councillor from 1885-1892, during which time he was involved in planning Rosemount Viaduct. The Joint Station consisted of a main booking office in the centre, with the booking offices for the Caledonian Railway and 'jointly the Great North of Scotland Railway at either side. The tracks had been widened on the approach from the south. An early criticism was that the station acted as a form of wind tunnel, making it draughty for passengers. By the 1860's there were a number of rival routes serving Aberdeen's stations. The Deeside Railway had opened in 1853 and amalgamated with the Great North of Scotland Railway by 1876 (the latter had leased the line since 1862). Its route was one of the region's most scenic railway lines stretching from Aberdeen to Ballater. The Caledonian Railway had absorbed the Aberdeen Railway in 1866. In order to connect the Caledonian and Great North of Scotland systems it was proposed that a line should run from Kittybrewster, joining with the Caledonian Railway line near Ferryhill. The construction of a railway from Kittybrewster to a new station on Guild Street, the Joint Station began in 1864.
The Foundation Stone of the new Joint Railway Station building was laid on 28 May 1913 and by July the following year all the new platforms were in use. 190 men worked on the demolition of the old building and construction of this one. The bulk of the material is Freestone from Northumberland but some Kemnay granite is used. The concourse has a glass and steel roof measuring 245 by 97 feet. Either side of the train indicator board stairs provided access to the suburban lines. Behind the main bookstall, were the stationmaster and telegraph offices. There were separate parcel offices for the Caledonian Railway and the North British Railway. A modern feature was an electric dock system synchronized from a master dock in the booking office.
The station was officially renamed Aberdeen in 1952 although local people continued to refer to it as the Joint Station for many years. The north end of the station was drastically cut back in 1973, platforms were demolished and the dated ticket hall with its varnished woodwork and small windows was closed in 1978 to make way for the new travel centre. The station was further modernised in the 1980's, with marble tiling and big glass screens, and television monitors provide arrival and departure information. A further upgrade saw the station roof rebuilt in 1998, as part of a £3 million renovation programme. Today at the north end of the station there are only the two through platforms still in operation for passengers.
Joint Station was always worth a visit by a wee lad to see the baskets of homing pigeons awaiting despatch to far flung release stations while being scrutinised by their feral kin pecking at discarded food.. A coin operated model of George Stephensons 'Rocket' could be made to work for free by back heeling the base of the money box and it would whir into action repetitively. The vast airy echoing chamber would hold mysteries of far off destinations and the smell of Royalty en route to Balmoral by train. A draughty old hole at times.
Schoolhill Station, before its closure in 1937
In 1893 after several years negotiation with the Town Council, Schoolhill Station was opened. It was located within sight of the Joint Station, but was more convenient for George St, Rosemount and Woolmanhill areas. Schoolhill Station was a granite building with entrances from both Schoolhill and the Denburn levels.
The station was also used as a bus terminus for the Great North of Scotland Railway bus service. The station restaurant survived until the 1970's, and the station was demolished in 1973. Current Status: The railway is now single track at this point. Traces of building remains in the car park beside the theatre.
The was indeed a Tearoom in my time and looked like a a complete folly as a freestanding structure with a footbridge to the Viaduct as its original use had long since faded from memory.
The building on Hutcheon Street was a basic brick structure at street level. The suburban stations could only book passengers to other stations served by the suburban line. In 1887 Hutcheon Street and Don Street were added to the section, Station was converted into a house.
The suburban stations
could only book passengers to other stations served by the suburban line. The
locomotives used for the Suburban service from 1885 were 3 Manson design 0-6-0
Tanks, fitted with Westinghouse brakes to allow passenger workings. The
Westinghouse brakes were operated by compressed air and worked on every vehicle
in a train, replacing the simple hand brakes on the tank and allowing it to haul
the new passenger service. They were to cover the 6 miles in 20 minutes, from
the Joint Station at Guild Street, stopping at Kittybrewster, Woodside, Bucksburn
View from Kittybrewster station looking north, showing the station and depot. On the extreme right Kittybrewster South Signal Box. The tracks behind the signal box form the branch line to Waterloo Station.
In 1854 the Great North of
Scotland Railway opened a line from Kittybrewster to Huntly. The terminus at
Kittybrewster proved inconvenient for the city and for transfers to southbound
train services at Guild Street. Therefore the line was extended to Waterloo Quay
in 1855, using much of the old Aberdeenshire Canal bed. Once Waterloo Station
was opened, Kittybrewster Station was closed in 1856 and was replaced by a
station of the same name constructed on the line to Waterloo Station. In
construction began of a railway line from Kittybrewster through the Denburn
valley to a new station at Guild Street. At this time Kittybrewster Station was
reconstructed further west on the new line. Locomotive sheds and goods hauling
facilities were at this site. This depot became the main workshop of the Great
North of Scotland Railway until the works were removed from Kittybrewster to Inverurie in
1898. From 1887 the station was used by the local service of
suburban trains that ran to and from Dyce. Trains ran from the Joint Station: as
well as calling at Kittybrewster, they stopped at Woodside, Bucksburn, Bankhead
and Stoneywood Stations, terminating at Dyce. In 1923 the
North of Scotland Railway became absorbed into the Northern Scottish area of
London and North Eastern Railway. Little changed on the suburban routes. The
development of road traffic saw a decline in railway operations in the 1930's.
On the 28th Jan 1937 it was announced in the Press and Journal that after April
1937 the suburban train service was to end. Fourteen stations closed as a result
of rivalry from bus services and waning popularity of the train service.
Kittybrewster remained open for through traffic and finally closed in May 1968.
Current Status: Single railway track.
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