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.
We now have about a mile of track in passenger service and are gradually extending the line along the original trackbed until we reach Banchory, which will give us a running line of just over 2 miles.
The Railway has three Class 03 diesel locos, one Barclay diesel loco and one 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 . Following commissioning, some additional modifications are required, and it is hoped the loco will enter service on the Deeside line before too long.
The railway also has the original 2 car Battery Railcar (BMU), known as ‘The Sputnik’, that ran on the line in the 1950s. This is presently hauled by one of the diesel engines.
Other rolling stock includes two Mk 2 coaches which are used for service with the steam engine, and also serve as the stationary railway tearoom when diesel services are operating with the BMU.
Steam loco ‘Bon-Accord’ at the platform.