Forres railway station
The station in 1997, looking eastward towards Elgin and Aberdeen
|Managed by||Abellio ScotRail|
|Number of platforms||1|
|Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Original company||Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway|
|25 March 1858||Opened by Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway|
|3 August 1863||New station opened by Highland Railway|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Forres from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Although Forres is still serving passenger trains to the east and west, it was once possible to travel south on the railway to Perth via Dava on the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway, meeting with the GNSR (via Craigellachie) at Boat of Garten station.
Prior to the Dava route opening, all services to the south began at Aberdeen (on the north-east coast). Problems occurred when connecting at Aberdeen from Inverness trains - Aberdeen was the terminus for two railway companies, and therefore had two separate stations: One served the east and the other was the starting point for services to the south (via the coast). Although they were connected by a bus, connections were often missed and passengers remained stranded after missing the daily connection south.
Plans for a more direct route via Carrbridge had been rejected by parliament as too ambitious. Engineer Joseph Mitchell planned an alternative route via Dava and work was completed on the line by August 1863.
Forres was chosen as the junction for the new mainline south, since it was the half-way point on the Inverness & Aberdeen Junction Railway between Inverness and Keith. Keith was also an important railway junction and the point where the line joined the GNSR and branches to the coast and Strathspey.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
Aberdeen to Inverness Line
Line closed; station closed
Inverness and Perth Junction Railway
Inverness and Aberdeen
Line open; station closed
Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway
Line open; station closed
The first railway station in Forres which was located at the end of Invererne Road. On the OS map for 1863, this road is named appropriately 'Old Station Road'.
The station building was located between the current track and signal box, and the former goods loop (which was the original main line, before the junction was constructed). This served trains from Inverness to connect with the GNSR in Elgin. The station building was demolished in the 1950s. It had been used as the stationmaster's house since the junction opened.
The opening of the junction required a new 'triangular' station to be constructed to allow all trains entering Forres, from either the East or West, to access the new line directly on a curve. The three curved platforms, and three junctions, gave the new Forres station its distinctive layout.
The location of the new station was south-west of the existing Inverness-Aberdeen line. The original line was retained as a goods loop, with trains now leaving and re-joining the line (east-west) on a curve. Services from Inverness to Perth curved to the south on a junction at the west of the station, to arrive at the southbound platforms.
Both Inverness-Keith and Inverness-Perth trains had double platforms for trains travelling in both directions. Since it was the mainline south, generous platforms were constructed to accommodate the expresses.
Trains travelling from the east to the south had a single platform at the east of the station. This was not used for normal passenger services. The station was originally accessed from Tytler Street (originally 'Station Road'). Since the line and platform crossed the road, there was a gap in the east platform to allow the road into the station. The level crossing gates closed the entrance to the station, when the curve was used by trains.
Three individual signal boxes controlled the junctions and each point of the triangle:
- Forres East
- Forres West
- Forres South
During 1954-55, the station building was replaced with the current red brick building. This included a new ticket office, toilets and waiting rooms.
The original 1863 building was constructed out of wood. The current building is located directly in front of the site of the 1863 station.
Forres once had an extensive goods yard. Whisky from the Dallas Dhu distillery was moved from the distillery sidings in wagons, and coke used by the distillery was delivered via the yard. Locomotives were stored in a two-road engine shed equipped with coaling facilities and a turntable.
Closure and remains
The Inverness-Perth (via Forres) had become a secondary route following the eventual construction of the Inverness-Aviemore direct route by 1884. The Dava lines and platforms at Forres was eventually singled and a wall erected in its place of the down platform (now demolished).
The Dava route closed to passenger traffic on 18 October 1965 (as a result of the Beeching Axe) and goods services ended completely by 1968. A short section of the southbound platforms remains, whilst the trackbed is partially in use as a station car park.
The exit from the station building to the Dava platforms still exists. The original gates protect a now abandoned corridor, with all waiting rooms and facilities now bricked-up.
The east platform existed until the mid-1970s following closure of the junction to passengers in 1965 and to goods in 1967, after which the once extensive layout of Forres station was simplified to single track operations (with a passing loop to the east, at the former Forres East signal box). All traces of the part of the station has been obliterated by the construction of the Forres by-pass. For many years (until construction of the by-pass), one of the level crossing gates was retained for use as fencing beside the Royal Hotel.
The Inverness-Aberdeen down platform was closed in 1965 and exists abandoned in-situ, although the track was lifted at closure. The standard Highland Railways over-bridge was removed, but the concrete bases remain and indicate its location.
The signal boxes that controlled the west and the south junctions (Forres South, Forres West) have long gone, and no trace remains. The box at Forres East still remains. It was renamed to 'Forres' and is still in use, operating semaphore signals. Token exchanges still take place here.
The goods yard is now completely demolished and track lifted. The site is now overgrown and awaits development. However, the semaphore signal, and a short section of access track from the east, still exists.
Other demolished features
The Nairn road crossed the railway on an over-bridge. This was located near to 'Old Bridge court' which was named in memory of the former railway bridge. No trace remains.
The Grantown road also crossed the railway, on an over-bridge at the foot of Mannachie Road. The line emerged just to the right of the road to Thornhill farm. Another over-bridge remains further up Mannachie rise, where the trackbed can be found in a cutting. The is part filled as part of a housing development. The trackbed can be easily found out of Forres as part of The Dava Way.
There have been discussions in Scottish Parliament about removing the curve at Forres and remodelling the station to speed up services. The frequent Inverness-Elgin services would benefit from double platforms. This would mean the passing loop located east, outside the station, would be closed as trains could pass within the platforms.
Transport Scotland confirmed in 2014 that a £170 million route upgrade will include a re-sited station and extended loop, along with signalling improvements, two additional stations and redoubling of the southern end of the line by 2019. The plans for the new station were revealed at a public meeting in March 2016.
There are thirteen daily departures from the station westbound and twelve eastbound (Mon-Sat). Most are through trains between Aberdeen and Inverness, but two westbound trains start from Elgin in the morning and one evening train (which runs through from the Kyle of Lochalsh) that terminates there. The first departure to Aberdeen each weekday and Saturday continues south to Edinburgh Waverley and there is a return working in the evening.
- Butt (1995), page 98
- "Past The Tracks - The Aviemore to Forres line" www.imagine.fm; Retrieved 2013-12-19
- Parliament mentions station developments
- Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Improvement Project, ScotlandRail-technology.com; Retrieved 19 August 2016
- "Plans for new Forres station get public airing"Forres Gazette new article 7 March 2016; Retrieved 19 August 2016
- "‘Rail revolution’ means 200 more services and 20,000 more seats for Scots passengers"Transport Scotland press release 15 March 2016; Retrieved 19 August 2016
- GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 240 (Network Rail)
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.
- Sinclair, Neil T. (2005). Highland Railway: People and Places - From the Inverness and Nairn Railway to Scotrail. Breedon Books Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 1-85983-453-1.
- Vallance, H.A. The Highland Railway.
- "RAILSCOT - Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway".
- "RAILSCOT - Inverness and Perth Junction Railway".
- "Regional Transport Strategy for the Highlands & Islands" (PDF).
- "Moray Development Plan, Forres Settlement Statement" (PDF). from 2001, with station developments mentioned as part of a flood protection scheme.
- "Aberdeen to Inverness Rail Improvements Project" (PDF).
GRIP 3 – Phase 1 Enhancements