Scottish Midland Junction Railway
|Scottish Midland Junction 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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
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 Dunalastairs were an immensely successful and influential class, rebuilt to superheated form in 1914 and not withdrawn until 1937.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. 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 On 5 September 1966 No 60024 Kingfisher the last of the class on the run was withdrawn. The stopping trains on the main line connected with branch line services.
The line was very well used. On a weekday in 1910 153 passenger trains were moving on the main line and its branches. 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.
Connections to other lines
- Dundee and Perth Railway at Perth
- Scottish Central Railway at Perth
- Perth, Almond Valley & Methven Railway at Almond Valley Junction
- Bankfoot Railway at Strathord
- Perth and Dunkeld Railway at Stanley Junction
- Alyth Railway at Alyth Junction
- Forfar and Brechin Railway at Forfar West Junction
- Arbroath and Forfar Railway (latterly the Aberdeen Railway) at Forfar North Junction
Current operations and closure
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. 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. 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.
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- Jowett, Alan (1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (first ed.). Sparkford: Patrick & Stevens Ltd. ISBN 1 8526 0508 1.
- Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick & Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1 8526 0049 7.
- Thomas, John (1976). Forgotten Railways Scotland. David & Charles. pp. 144–156. ISBN 0 7153 7185 1.
- RAILSCOT on Scottish Midland Junction Railway
- RAILSCOT on Bankfoot Railway
- RAILSCOT on Blairgowrie Branch of the Caledonian Railway
- RAILSCOT on Newtyle and Coupar Angus Railway
- RAILSCOT on Newtyle, Eassie and Glamiss Railway
- RAILSCOT on Kirriemuir Branch of the Caledonian Railway