Georgemas Junction railway station

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Georgemas Junction National Rail
Scottish Gaelic: Snaidhm Georgemas[1]
Georgemas Junction August 2012.jpg
Looking west towards Halkirk village and the line to Thurso (right)
Local authorityHighland
Coordinates58°30′49″N 3°27′06″W / 58.5135°N 3.4518°W / 58.5135; -3.4518Coordinates: 58°30′49″N 3°27′06″W / 58.5135°N 3.4518°W / 58.5135; -3.4518
Grid referenceND155592
Station codeGGJ
Managed byAbellio ScotRail
Number of platforms1
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2012/13Increase 1,906
2013/14Decrease 1,652
2014/15Increase 1,696
2015/16Decrease 1,572
2016/17Decrease 1,502
Original companySutherland and Caithness Railway
Pre-groupingHighland Railway
Post-groupingLondon, Midland and Scottish Railway
British Railways
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Georgemas Junction from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG UK Railways portal

Georgemas Junction railway station is a railway station serving the village of Halkirk and its surrounding areas in the Highland council area, northern Scotland. The station is on the Far North Line, within the historic county of Caithness. Georgemas Junction is the junction of the Thurso branch from the Inverness-Wick line, the most northerly railway junction in Scotland.


The station was built by the Sutherland and Caithness Railway (S&CR). The station buildings were designed by Murdoch Paterson and it opened on 28 July 1874[2] and on that date the Highland Railway absorbed the S&CR and operated the newly completed line from Helmsdale to Thurso and Wick. A wrought-iron turntable of 45 feet (14 m) diameter built by the Railway Steel and Plant Company of Manchester was installed at the station.[3]

In 1902, Donald Mackenzie, station master was appointed first station master of Dornoch railway station.[4]

From 1 January 1923 the station was operated by the London Midland and Scottish Railway.

At the end of February 1937 trains were stuck at Georgemas Junction because of heavy snow. A goods train from Inverness got stuck in a drift 9 feet (2.7 m) deep. An engine with a snow plough was also stuck at the same location.[5]


Georgemas Junction station in 2007, before removal of the footbridge and second platform in connection with provision of a new freight handling facility

Until diesel multiple unit trains were introduced by British Rail in the early 1990s, all trains on the Far North Line were locomotive hauled, initially by Highland Railway steam locomotives, then by LMSR steam locomotives and latterly by British Railways steam and finally Class 37 diesel locomotives. Northbound passenger trains would divide at Georgemas Junction, with the rear portion for Thurso and the front portion for Wick. A locomotive was stabled at Georgemas Junction to haul the Thurso carriages.

Following the introduction of Class 156 diesel multiple units on the line, trains were always composed of two trainsets (four cars) and at Georgemas, these would split in half with the front portion heading to Wick, the rear to Thurso.

This practice was halted with the introduction of Class 158 sets which operate as single sets. On arrival at Georgemas Junction from Inverness, trains reverse to reach Thurso, and then reverse again from Thurso back to Georgemas Junction (stopping a second time) and on to Wick. An easement to the National Routeing Guide allows passengers for Wick to stay on the train between Georgemas Junction and Thurso, which would otherwise technically be off-route.[6]

Georgemas Junction station has been used for several freight services. In the early 2000s, EWS operated a freight train for Safeway supermarket, running from Mossend to Georgemas. Containers were unloaded at Georgemas, then transported by road to Wick and Thurso, and by ferry to Orkney.[7]

In 2012, Direct Rail Services constructed a new freight terminal at Georgemas, which led to the removal of the former southbound platform and footbridge. This has been used by trains taking nuclear material from Dounreay to Sellafield.[8]

The station is 147 miles 20 chains (237.0 km) from Inverness, and is the zero point for the line to Thurso. It has a single platform which is long enough for a six-coach train.[9]


There are four trains to and from Inverness each weekday - each northbound one travels to Thurso first before returning here and continuing to Wick, before performing the procedure in reverse on each southbound journey (so calling at the station twice per trip). There is one service each way between Inverness & Thurso/Wick on Sundays.[10]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
or Forsinard
  Abellio ScotRail
Far North Line
  Historical railways  
station closed; line open
  Highland Railway
Sutherland and Caithness Railway
station closed; line open
station closed; line open



  1. ^ Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
  2. ^ "The Sunderland and Caithness Railway". The Scotsman. British Newspaper Archive. 27 July 1874. Retrieved 14 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  3. ^ "The Sutherland and Caithness Railway". John o’Groat Journal. Scotland. 9 July 1874. Retrieved 15 July 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  4. ^ "Opening of the Dornoch Light Railway". John o’Groat Journal. Scotland. 30 May 1902. Retrieved 30 August 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  5. ^ "Trains delayed". Aberdeen Journal. British Newspaper Archive. 1 March 1937. Retrieved 15 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Supermarket containers being unloaded at Georgemas Junction, 2001". Am Baile. Highland Council.
  8. ^ "Rail terminal is a major boost". John O'Groat Journal. 27 June 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  9. ^ Brailsford 2017, map 20E.
  10. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 239


  • Brailsford, Martyn, ed. (December 2017) [1987]. Railway Track Diagrams 1: Scotland & Isle of Man (6th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. ISBN 978-0-9549866-9-8.
  • 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.

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