Rebuilt Old Royal Station to reopen later in the summer

The historic station has been rebuilt. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council
The historic station has been rebuilt. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council

Ballater’s historic Old Royal Station - destroyed by fire three years ago - is due to reopen later in the summer.

The B-listed structure has been rebuilt in a £3 million project.

Aberdeenshire Council has taken possession of the new building which will be fitted out this month before opening to the public in August.

There is expected to be an official ceremony later in the year.

Efforts have been made to complete the project in time for the community to benefit from the tourist season.

Historically used by the Royal family travelling to Balmoral, the station was ravaged by fire in May, 2015.

The exterior is virtually the same as that which was lost in the blaze and, where possible, the original fabric of the building has been reused.

The Royal waiting room interior has been carefully repaired by specialists to ensure the quality is equal to that destroyed.

As part of the repair and conservation work as much of the original fabric as possible is being retained.

Old plans and photography were used to ensure authenticity, given the project essentially started as a burned-out shell.

The opportunity has been taken to modernise the station while retaining much of its character, including the installation of new electrical wiring, fire treated timber and safety systems. It has a backup heating system to help contend with the worst of the Cairngorms National Park winters.

The recreated building will include a VisitScotland information centre, a restaurant and tearoom run by The Prince’s Foundation and an Aberdeenshire Council public library – as well as the Royal waiting room and carriage.

There will be a new space extending along the old platform and over the tracks where the Royal carriage sits, taking the form of railway sheds, mixing Royal heritage with local history.

Aberdeenshire Council’s project manager, Craig Matheson, said: “The project is at a really exciting stage - being able to see the building presented in the town is a landmark moment.

“I’m very excited - it’s been a privilege and an honour to run a project of this significance, not just in terms of the building itself, but also in terms of the connection the building has with the community, and we have tried to take them with us on this project.”

The station exterior has been changed from red to Eau de Nil, a shade of green, following a local consultation. It was a colour common around Britain’s railways at one time.

External work to form Station Square are complete, and it is reopened to traffic.