Montrose and Bervie Railway
|The Montrose & Bervie Railway|
The main line between Montrose and Aberdeen, on the east coast of Scotland, took an inland route going via Laurencekirk and Stonehaven. The coastal farmers and fishermen wanted a line nearer the sea to transport their produce and catch to market. In 1860 the locals, therefore, promoted this 13 mile line. It was always intended that it would join up with the main line at Stonehaven but this never happened. The major engineering feature on the line was the 11 arch North Water bridge crossing the River North Esk which still stands today. Only steam hauled trains operated on this line.
The promoters had difficulty raising the capital for the project. However, in order to compete with the Scottish Northern Junction Railway, the Great North of Scotland Railway invested in the scheme. The plan was to build a main line. However, Parliament would not allow this and a much simpler branch line was built. At this point the GNoS lost interest in the scheme. The line did eventually open in 1865 five years after it had been promoted. The Scottish North Eastern Railway worked the inaugural train on 1 November 1865. Six months later this company was absorbed by the Caledonian Railway. In 1881 it was absorbed into the North British Railway network. However the Caledonian had running powers on the line. Consequently, from August 1867 till September 1868, passenger trains were provided by both companies. A duplicate freight service also persisted until June 1899 when the two companies finally settled their differences. Following the grouping in 1923, it became part of LNER. On nationalisation, in 1947, LNER itself was taken over by British Railways.
Hawthorn Leslie and Company quoted a price for a locomotive. However, finances were low and to save money the Scottish North Eastern Railway was asked to provide a locomotive and rolling stock. The Montrose & Bervie Railway had several domestic problems. One of the directors wanted the engine shed at Bervie moved as it was too near his castle. Farmers complained that weeds on the track were spreading into their fields. The stationmasters at Broomfield and Gourdon embezzled a considerable amount of cash. Unsurprisingly finance was always a problem for this railway company. The Caledonian wanted a large sum for the use of Montrose station. To counter this it was decided to make Broomfield the end of the line. However, after a few weeks, Caledonian reduced the sum they were asking for and Montrose station became the terminus again. Broomfield station was then closed.
The line opened in winter and there was not much traffic. The company's directors were most disappointed that some of the farmers and fishermen continued to cart their goods inland to the main line instead of using the new branch line. A timetable from 1938 shows that there were three trains per day running on the line and it took around ¾ of an hour to travel the 13 miles from Montrose to Bervie. This town was renamed Inverbervie in 1926.
This line was always fairly quiet. By 1951 road had become the favoured method of transport and the line was closed to passengers. Freight continued until 1966 when the railway was closed completely and the rails lifted. In many places the track bed can still be seen. The northern section is now a well surfaced footpath and is part of the National Cycle Network.
- Thomas, chapter 9
- Holland, pages 91 - 98"
- Thomas & Turnock, Page 167
- Thomas, John (1976) Forgotten Railways Scotland Chapter 9 pages 146 - 154 David & Charles ISBN 0-7153-7185-1
- Thomas, John & Turnock, David (1989) A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume 15 North of Scotland Chapter 5 pages 157 & 168 David & Charles ISBN 978-0-71538-365-0
- Holland, Julian (2010) Discovering Scotland's Lost Local Lines pages 91 – 99 Waverley Books ISBN 978-1-84934-018-2