The Branch Line Society


Strathspey Railway
Sunday 23rd November 2014

A smaller party met at 10.00 after inspecting the delightful Aviemore station for a comprehensive morning walking tour on a non-operating day. The layout is due to change here with removal of the original SR platform (CP after use on 23 July 1998 since when trains have run to the more suitable NR station P3) and installation of a passing loop to increase capacity for galas and special trains. After looking at the ground frame, turntable and layout Aviemore Speyside (Garve box with Wick frame) was visited. This typical Highland box not yet fully commissioned has a 21 lever McK&H frame. A Tyers’ token instrument was in place and instruments for the railway's electronic weighbridge. The group viewed the signals (standard BR), pointwork, interlocking mechanisms, telegraph system and rolling stock in the impressive, large and modern 'Roy Hamilton* Carriage Shed.'

Aviemore Strathspey Railway looking south, (main line to Inverness to the right behind the fence). Speyside box (right) was from Garve with Wick's frame. The former Strathspey Railway platform ahead is due to be removed with remodelling of the layout to form a passing loop. The modern building on the extreme right of the picture is the corner of the Roy Hamilton Carriage Shed.

Boat of Garten (South) box has 30 levers, working telephones, a Tyers’ token instrument and a Siemens (shades of future past) foot plunger. A green lever controls interlocking with North box depending on whether it is 'switched in' or not. Unusual periscope type mirrors are fitted at one end of the box, an SR innovation so this well situated box gives an extensive view of the line both ways. Boat of Garten (North) is similar to Aviemore (SR) but is all wooden. Six of the 20 levers work, including a king lever locking it in or out of use. Outside there is a token exchange platform and a nearby interesting co-acting upper quadrant signal. The party learnt much about this lovely railway during the 5½ hour visit and were pleased to donate £100 to the signalling fund. Hopefully our next visit might be a DMU tour of the recently extended line and rare track (BLN 1216.1285). *For our newer members, Roy Hamilton (who sadly died in 2003) was a well known and popular Society Committee member who organised Scottish railtours and was a BLN Editor and Vice President; he was passionate about the SR and had a second home at Boat of Garten.