Royal Deeside Railway
The Royal Deeside Railway operates trains from April to mid-October, recreating the original Deeside Line from Aberdeen to Ballater. Steam and diesel services start from Milton of Crathes and provide splendid views over the River Dee and the hills to the south. Refreshments are available on board.
For special events, services are hauled by resident steam locomotive ‘Salmon’, built by Andrew Barclay in 1942. On other operating days, services are hauled by diesel D2094.
The station building at Milton of Crathes was originally at Oldmeldrum on the Great North of Scotland Railway. Under threat of imminent collapse, Deeside Railway applied for the station’s dismantling and removal to Milton of Crathes. The re-build was completed in 2015 and the station is now a flagship for the railway, housing the ticket office, shop, waiting room and conveniences.
The original Deeside Line opened in September 1853 between Aberdeen and Banchory, reaching Ballater some 13 years later. The railway was regularly patronised by the Royal Family and other VIP visitors to Balmoral until it closed in 1966. Thirty years later, the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society was formed and, after a great deal of hard work, passenger services re-started in 2006. Today, the railway hosts thousands of visitors who enjoy a trip on the ‘friendly line’ by the River Dee.