The Strathspey Railway has been an integral part of the Spey Valley for over one hundred and fifty years. Originally built as part of the Highland Line the line’s main source of income came from transporting timber and whisky from the local Speyside distilleries to the conurbations in the south.
The line closed in 1965 as part of the infamous Beeching cuts, however, in 1971 a group of enthusiasts got together to form the Strathspey Railway Association and seven years later the first timetabled service departed from Boat of Garten to Aviemore.
Forty years the later the Strathspey Railway continues to enthral tens of thousands of passengers, both young and old, every year. The railway is operated predominantly by Volunteers, who perform many tasks including running the trains and restoring and maintaining the heritage steam and diesel locomotives, rolling stock and infrastructure. Aviemore is now the main station and engineering base for the railway, where the rolling stock is maintained and stabled in large purpose built carriage sheds.
Broomhill Station, which featured in the popular Monarch of the Glen television series as “Glenbogle Station”, was rebuilt in the late 1990’s and opened in 2002. Broomhill, served as the nearest station for the village of Dulnain Bridge. It also handled much timber traffic from the surrounding forests, replacing the previous method of floating logs down the Spey.
It has always been the ambition of those who run and support the Strathspey Railway to restore the original route to Grantown on Spey and in 2014 a major hurdle was overcome when one of the largest rail cranes in the UK assisted our volunteers to erect a railway bridge across the River Dulnain.
Today the Strathspey Railway runs three services on seasonal operating days, so you can travel to the Osprey village of Boat of Garten or to Aviemore on the first train and take the last train back to Broomhill or indeed, as Broomhill Station is only a short distance from the Speyside Way, cycle back.
The railway’s catering team provide Light Luncheon and Afternoon Tea services throughout the season and our Traditional Sunday Lunch service, served on our dedicated dining carriage set, departs and returns to Aviemore and is very popular with locals and visitors alike.
If you wish to enjoy a couple hours relaxing from the hectic pace of modern life then consider travelling back in time with the Strathspey Railway ……….. back to an era when steam whistles blew, carriage doors slammed shut and there was the familiar click-clack, rhythm of the rails, as the Steam Train takes the strain out of travelling alongside the River Spey.
Photos by J Gourlay, provided by The Strathspey Railway.