Great North of Scotland Railway
The Great North of Scotland Railway was one of the two smallest of the five major Scottish railway companies. The railway operated its main line between Aberdeen and Keith and two routes west to Elgin. It was the only railway company in the north-east of Scotland at the time, and it was the second largest in the UK after the Glasgow and Edinburgh.
About Great North of Scotland Railway in brief
The Great North of Scotland Railway was one of the two smallest of the five major Scottish railway companies. Formed in 1845, it carried its first passengers the 39 miles from Kittybrewster, in Aberdeen, to Huntly on 20 September 1854. The railway operated its main line between Aberdeen and Keith and two routes west to Elgin. In 1923, it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway as its Northern Scottish area, passing on 333 1⁄2 miles of line and 122 steam locomotives. Its eventual area encompassed the three Scottish counties of Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Moray, with short lengths of line in Inverness-shire and Kincardineshire. There were other junctions with the Highland Railway at Boat of Garten and Portessie, and at Aberdeen connections for journeys south over the Caledonian and North British Railways. The Royal Family used the Deeside Line for travel to and from Balmoral Castle and when they were in residence a daily special ‘Messenger Train’ ran from Aberdeen; for most of the railway’s life this was its only Sunday service. In the 1880s the railway was refurbished, express services began to run and by the end of that decade there was a suburban service in Aberdeen. The company suggested at a meeting in November 1849 that whereas £650,000 was needed for a double-track railway from Aberdeen to InvernESS, only £375,000 would be need for a single-track railway from Aberdeen to Keith.
In 1867 it owned 226 1 ⁄4 route miles of line and operated over a further 61 miles. The railway had several branches, but only its main line remains today as part of the Aberdeen to Inverness Line. It also had branch lines to Banff, Portsoy, Garmouth and Burghead, and a network of feeder bus services was developed in the early 20th century. The line took over the Aber deens Canal, which delayed construction as it was necessary to settle the claims of each shareholder individually. Between Inverurie and Aberdeen the line tookover the Aberdeen Canal, the railway opened in 1854 and approval for the carriage of goods was given two days later. There was a single track with passing loops at the termini and at the Kintorei and Inschi stations at the following day. The following day public services began at 1:12pm, with the number of passengers growing to about 650 by the time the train arrived at Huntly at 12:30pm. It was the only railway company in the north-east of Scotland at the time, and it was the second largest in the UK after the Glasgow and Edinburgh Railway. It had a fleet of 122 steam engines, most of them 4-4-0 tender locomotics, and was the largest in Scotland at that time.