Full steam ahead for Deeside railway work

Lifting operations as the new Deeside Railway platform is put in place. Picture: Royal Deeside Railway
Lifting operations as the new Deeside Railway platform is put in place. Picture: Royal Deeside Railway

Volunteers are marking a major advance in the Royal Deeside Railway project.

The new platform at Crathes West Lodge - the former A93 layby - is taking shape.

The new platform is taking shape. Picture: Royal Deeside Railway

The new platform is taking shape. Picture: Royal Deeside Railway

A group of volunteers recently completed the lifting of base units on to the foundations. Work will now continue to complete the decking surface, build the public access ramp, steps, associated path work and fencing.

It is intended this be accomplished in time for the railway’s main summer season, which starts in June.

The platform will provide passengers with the option of combining the rail visit with walks to or from Banchory, and connecting to the various local walking trails.

Volunteer Bill Halliday told the Piper: “The railway is greatly indebted to McIntosh Plant Hire Ltd and Aberclean Plant and Sweeper Hire Ltd for the very valuable assistance they have provided in connection with the foundation works.

“The platform is the first element of the railway’s Heading West Plan.

“As soon as it is completed, attention will then turn to the last remaining major infrastructure challenge – the construction of a bridge over the Burn of Bennie to take the traffic which currently uses the rail bridge as part of the Deeside Way.

“That in turn will enable the laying of track to the ultimate destination, near Platties Park.”

To achieve these projects, the railway group is keen to attract new volunteers not only in connection with the construction work, but also to assist with the operational activities of running the trains.

The team is looking to recruit drivers, guards, shop and catering staff for a busy season ahead.

Mr Halliday added: “No prior experience is required as in-house training will be provided and even if people can only give part of a day, they will be made most welcome.”

Further information can be found on the Royal Deeside Railway website www.deeside-railway.co.uk or by contacting Mr Halliday, who is volunteer co-ordinator, at billhalliday32@btinternet.com.