Scottish Midland Junction Railway

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Scottish Midland Junction Railway
Locale Scotland
Dates of operation 31 July 1845 – 29 July 1856
Successor Scottish North Eastern Railway
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Arbroath and Forfar Railway
Forfar North Junction
Forfar - Broughty Ferry branch
Forfar
Forfar West Junction
Forfar and Brechin Railway
Kirriemuir Junction
Kirriemuir
Glamis
Eassie
Meigle Junction
to Newtyle
Alyth Railway
Alyth Junction
Newtyle, Eassie and Glamiss Railway
Ardler
Coupar Angus
Stormont Loch Halt
Rosemount
Blairgowrie
Woodside and Burrelton
Cargill
Ballathie (Goods)
Perth and Dunkeld Railway
Stanley Junction
Stanley
Bankfoot
Bankfoot Railway
Strathord
Luncarty
Perth, Almond Valley & Methven Railway
Almond Valley Junction
Dundee and Perth Railway
Perth
Scottish Central Railway

The Scottish Midland Junction Railway was authorised on 31 July 1845 to link Scottish Central Railway at Perth to the Aberdeen Railway at Forfar.[1] It opened on 4 August 1848, having incorporated the Newtyle, Eassie and Glamiss Railway and Newtyle and Coupar Angus Railway between Coupar Angus and Glamis.[2] The railway subsequently merged with the Aberdeen Railway on 29 July 1856 (which had absorbed the Arbroath and Forfar Railway in 1848) to form the Scottish North Eastern Railway prior to becoming absorbed by the Caledonian Railway in 1866.[3] In 1923, with the grouping, the CR amalgamated with several other companies to form the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) which, following nationalisation in 1947, became part of British Railways.

Construction[edit]

The line left the railway from the Perth to Inverness at Stanley passing through fertile farmland to run through Strathmore and reach Forfar. The largest towns are Coupar Angus and Forfar. Timber viaducts were initially constructed to cross the rivers. By the 1890s these had to be replaced to enable trains to proceed at speed on what was the main line between Aberdeen and the South. The Tay Bridge disaster in 1879 caused much stiffer regulations to be enforced for railway bridges.[4] The Forfar to Broughty Ferry branch had to climb the eastern end of the Sidlaw hills to a summit of 500 feet before descending to the Tay estuary to join the coastal railway running between Aberdeen and Dundee.

Running[edit]

Model of Caledonian Railway Class "769" or "Dunalastair II". At the Museum of Transport, Glasgow, 03/07.
In 1954 the express 09.50 Aberdeen - King's Cross is headed by Gresley A4 streamlined Pacific No. 60005 'Sir Charles Newton'.
No 73002 Black 5 passing through Water Orton in 1964

The early passenger engines used on the line were 2-4-0s. At the end of the 19th century and, after the line had been upgraded, these were replaced by the very successful 4-4-0 Dunalastair class of locomotives. Both these types were built by Neilson and Company. Dunalastairs were an immensely successful and influential class, rebuilt to superheated form in 1914 and not withdrawn until 1937. At the time they had the largest locomotive boilers in the UK. In the 1950s the line became a speeding ground for the fast 3 hour Glasgow to Aberdeen expresses using Gresley A4 Pacifics. In the 1960s Black 5s and diesels took over. On this line ran the last regular steam hauled trains averaging 60 MPH.[4] Many enthusiasts travelled long distances for their last experience of a steam powered train. On 5 September 1966 No 60024 Kingfisher the last of the class on the run was withdrawn.[4] The stopping trains on the main line connected with branch line services.

Using[edit]

The line was very well used. On a weekday in 1910 153 passenger trains were moving on the main line and its branches.[4] As well as this there were very many freight trains transporting goods to and from Aberdeen and the north east to the central belt of Scotland and destinations in England.

Track gauge[edit]

Main article: Scotch gauge

Some of the incorporated lines were built to a track gauge of 4 ft 6 12 in (1,384 mm) but were converted to standard gauge.

Connections to other lines[edit]

Current operations and closure[edit]

Trackbed of the railway looking towards Stanley

The branch lines became uneconomic and were the first to close: Forfar to Kirriemuir in 1952, Coupar Angus to Blairgowrie and Broughty Ferry to Forfar in 1955.[4] British Railways considered the main route between Perth and Aberdeen was the coastal line running via Dundee and Arbroath. The considered the line through Couper Angus and Forfar to be uneconomic and surplus to requirements. In 1967 passenger services were therefore rerouted on to this coastal route. Freight traffic continued till 1981 but by then it was a single track railway with a speed limit of 30 MPH.[4] The only section of the line that remains open (in 2007) is between Perth and Stanley Junction as part of the Highland Main Line operated by First ScotRail.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Butt, R.V.G. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Pastrick & Stevens Ltd. ISBN 1 8526 0508 1. 
  2. ^ Jowett, Alan (1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick & Stevens Ltd. ISBN 1 8526 0508 1. 
  3. ^ Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick & Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 8526 0049 7. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, John (1976). Forgotten Railways Scotland. David & Charles. pp. 144–156. ISBN 0 7153 7185 1. 

External links[edit]