I was here on 06 may 2015
This is a railway of normal gauge (Stephenson's, 1435 mm) situated in Scotland in Cairngorms national park - this terrain is metioned in lists of British most beatiful places. Of course, the railway has its own website: strathspeyrailway.co.uk where timetables can be found and photos. They also collect money there for an important project: extention their railway to Grantown-on-Spey. This project is not on paper now, track is partly laid already and there is a bridge over the Dulnain river (Colas Rail came with their Kirow 1200 crane - the only crane in the UK capable of establishment of such long span structures). That means that only several kilometers of track and a station are to be built.
There are three stations now (from west to east):
- Aviemore - station adjoins to the «big» station. The two platforms belong toNetwork Rail and the third one - to this branchline
- Boat of Garten - double track siding
- Broomhill - it's very interesting here. There are two tracks for running the engine around train. But the passenger platform is aside from those technological facilities. That's why passengers see the platform first, then train stops in the middle of a field and returns to the platform in 10 minutes. During this time the engine runs around its train, gets coupled and pulls the coaches to the platform.
- Approaching this branchline, you see you are in the Highlands sung by
Robert Burns. Mountains (scot. Bens) are covered with
snow, in the valleys (scot. Glens) cattle pastures and
- Finally my train arrived at Aviemore station.
Platforms 1 and 2 are served by ScotRail operator,
№ 9¾ № 3- by the branchline Strathspey Railway. It can be seen that both are underwritten at the station
- View to the station from overpass. There is a fence on a platrofm, and
the way to another side is through the
customssouvenir shop and ticket office.
- Pedestrian overpass typical for small stations in the UK
- I visited the ticket office and went to platform. I also have done an
important and urgent deal that should not be discussed and needs no photos.
Afterwards I wait for the train. Finally it returns from previous journey
and we can see the youngest engine at this railway is on duty today. Engine
number 46512 was built at 1952 but it has been at a scrapyard
and was bought by engineer E.V.Cooper, who restored it. Now
there's a shield on the boiler with his name.
- Read end of the train. Painted in the British Rail epoch!
- The train departs. After the points ofAviemore station
a turntable can be seen. They have a cool thing here: it's driven by a
vacuum motor powered from the engine's pump. It would be very interesting
to watch it operating...
- Let's proceed further. We go deeper to Cairngorns national
- Speed of our train.
13 m/s- is 47 km/h
- Mist hides tops of
mountainsbens at far, engine's steam hides my view in near...
- It is May but looks like autumn!
- Here is the first station: Boat of Garten! Of course,
station points and signals are operated mechanically. Operator's office is
calledSignalbox. This is Boat of Garten
station signalbox. Point rods and semaphore ropes can be seen
in the basement of the building
- This stop has also a technological value: here is a water column and
it's possible to fill tender with water. Passenges, who would like, may go
out of their coaches and, perhaps, take several photos.
- Another photo
- The station is not in the middle of nowhere!
- Driver, fireman and the engine have had a long drink, whistled and went
further. There are great flocks at farms!
- Fields with cows replace fields with sheep.
- Spey river, fields, cows, mountains, mists - a real
- How could I skip this nice photo!
- By the way, an air link is along the railway. Judging by the amount of
wires, it seems to be a communication link. By being attended - very operating!
- We are passing Broomhill finally and stopped in the middle
of the fields. In 7 minutes a steam engine ran upon another track (our one -
there was on other engine running that day) and in 3 also minutes we were pulled
back to platform Broomhill. Just like an anecdote:
Train arrives at a station in the wild west. Sun is shining mercilessli over the praire, tumbleweeds run everywhere, a cowboy plays his harmonica. A gentleman gets off the train:
- Is the city far from the terminus?
- Six miles to walk!
- Could not you build the terminus closer to the city?
- We were going to! But then we decided to build it closer to rails!
Here is a flowerbed with a dragon. Pity that with no flowers...
- There are also dinning facilities at the station...
- The engine is ready to depart. Passengers wishing to take a photo in front
of it must hurry to their coaches.
- We return along the known places, continue to admire landscapes. We were
steamed out from scurry of big cities and now we are being returned to the
world of high speeds and noises...