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July 2015 Bulletin


On 21st April 2015 a minor slip on the track bed was dealt with. One of our Grampus wagons was loaded with ballast and propelled to the site of the slip by the service DMU, there the ballast was dropped and used to rectify the minor slip. First photo shows the Grampus, propelled by the service DMU leaving Dufftown. Second photo shows the view from the cab as the DMU propels the Grampus to the slip site.


Weed Killing is another job that requires to be done regularly on the railway at the right time of year and under the right weather conditions. Photo shows The Wee Mac, complete with weed spraying rig, at the end of the StrathMill siding having just completed a weed killing run on 23rd April 2015.


With 22 miles of fencing to maintain a constant check and maintenance of our fences is essential. Of all the animals encountered along the railway, sheep are the most likely to find a weak spot and break through onto the line. On 9th May 2015 a group of volunteers plug a gap where sheep had found a way onto the line by following the course of a burn and slipping under a fence.


The point blade leading from the main line into the Keith end of the Dufftown goods loop was badly worn and was removed for repair at the beginning of the year. The point was locked and clamped out of use until the point blade could be repaired.

First photo shows the condition of the point blade prior to removal for refurbishment, second the refurbished point blade being reinstalled, last photo the refurbished point blade in situ.

Above photos show the UDV shunter taking a works train across the refurbished point.


Like any other vehicle train brake blocks require changing when their useful service life has ended. Our UDV shunter had this work carried out on 19th May 2015. 1st photo shows a brake block being jacked and manoeuvred into position, 2nd photo shows the brake rigging being adjusted to take account of the new brake blocks.


As our Brake Van is used to give rides to school children it was decided that in the interests of safety it should be fitted with half height doors to enclose the vestibule sections. The first 2 photos above show work in progress, on 23rd May 2015 and the 3rd photo the end result.


The PW team has been working in the Douglasbrae area this season. On 23rd May 2015 they had their lunch break while the service train passed then got back to the task of sleeper changing.


By way of a change the Tuesday Work Party had an outing to the former Maud Junction Station on Thursday 4th June 2015. Maud Junction lies on the former Great North of Scotland Railway from Aberdeen to Fraserburgh and Peterhead. The line from Maud to Peterhead was lifted in 1970, followed by the line from Fraserburgh via Maud to Dyce junction just north of Aberdeen in 1980. The station building and platforms remain at Maud and part of the building is now a museum. The museum houses artefacts from the railway and has acquired some preserved rolling stock.

The Tuesday Work Party was at Maud to lay two 30 foot panels of rail to provide a display space for the preserved stock. The photo above shows the work beginning at 9:00 and by 11:00 work was complete.


The annual Pie & Pint event was held on the evening of Saturday 6th June with a good turn-out of passengers. The weather was good to us again and everyone enjoyed the accordion music of James, along with the excellent pies from Strathisla Bakery.

Pictures above from the Pie & Pint show passengers, crew and roving musician enjoying them on the platform at Drummuir. The Chirpy Chaps, in the right hand photo, enjoying a drink are from Sweden, except the chap in blue, who comes from England!


History was made (possibly...) on the Keith & Dufftown Railway on 7th June 2015 when two women crew members served together in the cab. One the Driver (furthest from camera), the other the Second (Wo) Man. There was a male Guard though! There are now enough qualified ladies to have an all-female crew. The Roster Clerkess needs to arrange this before the end of the season and maybe also notify the Guinness Book of Records!!

1940s WEEKEND JUNE 2015

The 1940s weekend was more successful than last year. On Friday 19th June we had 213 passengers including 139 from school parties. Saturday and Sunday we had 369 passengers. The weather was fine on Friday and Saturday but on Sunday we had torrential rain which is possibly why we had fewer passengers.

First photo shows some of the re-enactors, two members of the Home Guard, a distinctly Dodgy Fellow, and the guardians of the law in the form of a uniformed constable and an inspector from Special Branch. Middle photo is of the NAAFI van followed by a WWII jeep arriving for the displays at Dufftown.

These photos show two members of the 51st Highland Division with their jeep, the NAAFI van and a grey Fergie driven by a Land Army girl.

These photos show the NAAFI van attracting customers, the Desert Rats encampment and members of the armed forces at Dufftown.

Some detailed shots of the Desert Rats encampment, note the Vickers machine gun in the first photo.

A police constable and member of the railway staff guard the entrance to Dufftown station. The Home Guard was in evidence and a Desert Rat has taken over the NAAFI van.

The Desert Rat has moved back to the encampment and is preparing a meal for his companion at arms who is talking to a housewife carrying her gas mask in a cardboard box. Our Desert Rat is off on patrol on his trusty motor cycle.

Two housewives sample the wares of the NAAFI van but note one of them has acquired a pair of black market stockings!

Evacuee children crowd the train while busily munching on their sandwiches.

More evacuee children eating their sandwiches, while the PC checks passengers’ papers on a quieter section of the train.

At Keithtown station there was a display of 1940s household items.

The photo of the fireplace reminds us that in the 1940s many households still cooked on an open fire.

Once again we see the evacuee children and their sandwiches.

As mentioned above the weather broke on the Sunday and the first photo is a 1940s style black and white photo showing Britain’s typical summer weather with the rain falling heavily on a deserted NAAFI van and jeep. The colour photo also illustrates the severity of the downpour.

The 1940s black and white photo and its modern colour counterpart show that the Land Army girl has abandoned her tractor and the Desert Rats have left their encampment.

A somewhat bedraggled Desert Rat, the railway guard and ARP warden shelter in Dufftown station from the deluge outside.


Over winter Driver Trailer Composite Lavatory (DTCL) 56491was in the shed undergoing painting. Due to the fact that the shed currently only has one track painting can only be done on one side, the roof and ends, the other side is too close to the shed wall to paint. In early summer DTCL 56491 was moved out of the shed and into the platform to allow the other side to be painted.

The above photos show the ends and side that were painted and lined in the shed.

1st photo above shows the platform side having received its undercoat. 2nd photo shows a bird’s nest just behind the front buffer! Fortunately the birds raised their brood and flew the nest before 56491 was moved out of the shed.


The Class 140, which lay for many years in the headshunt at Dufftown was moved to the yard in 2012 to clear space for the reconstruction of the engine shed. Since then one engine has been worked on and restarted; the other engine needs much more work and has been removed pending a decision on repair / replacement. One side of the 140 has also been repainted. The Class 140’s future at Dufftown was in doubt until one of the KDRA volunteers made an offer to purchase it and the Board has accepted that offer. The 140’s future at Dufftown is meantime secure and work is ongoing to return it to operational condition.

The first photo above shows the 140 in the shed on 26/6/15, the side nearest the camera awaits painting. Second photo, taken on 31/7/15, shows the 140 after repainting of the side. Work has also been done on the roof to prevent water ingress. Much work remains to be done but there is a reasonable prospect of the restoration of the 140 being completed at Dufftown.


The railway is laying a new siding off the Keith end of the Dufftown loop. The siding will be two 60 foot rail panels long giving approximately 120 feet of siding. This length will be sufficient to hold a 2 car DMU or about 4 or 5 wagons or both our shunter locos.

The 1st photo above shows one 60 foot panel of rails in situ and sleepers for the second panel in place. The ex GNSR van with the red tarpaulin on the roof had to be moved back about 10 feet to allow room for the siding to pass. 2nd photo shows the 1st panel of completed track and the sleepers for the second panel.

Left photo above shows the siding from what will be the buffer stop end. The right photo shows the rails in place back to the loop, with just visible in the distance a wagon and the UDV shunter parked on the start of the Dufftown loop.


The recently acquire 2nd Kubota has now been fitted with a roll cage and roof.


The Teddy Bears’ Picnic ran over the weekend of 31st July to 2nd August 2015.

Teddies were on duty at Dufftown station and scattered throughout the train.

In addition to helping out through the train a Teddy kept an eye on the Buffer Stop.

Teddies were also in both cabs of the train.

These photos show some of our passengers and their Teddies.

Teddies were to be found on the platform at Keithtown and in the waiting room.

Here are more Teddies at Keithtown but this time there are some humans too.

The Help for Heroes Teddy also paid a visit to the Keith and Dufftown railway and was at both Keith & Dufftown and on the train.


The Board has agreed that the following are the priority projects:

Short Term – To complete the loco shed by laying the floor and installing a second track within the shed.

Medium Term – To provide or reinstate 4 railway halts. One of these halts, Towiemore is now operational, the remaining halts are still under discussion with all interested parties so no further details can be provided at this stage.

Long Term – To re-establish a rail connection at Keith Junction Station.


An appeal was launched in 2010 to move the modern shed then located at Drummuir to Dufftown. The shed was re-erected at Dufftown May 2012 and most of the work is now complete, indeed the shed has already proved its worth by enabling us to repaint and overhaul some stock. Installing the floor and laying a second track into the shed are now the priorities.

The Track Appeal was set up to raise funds for the second track into the engine shed. The appeal took the form of purchasing a sleeper, for £10, for the second track. The names of those purchasing a sleeper are recorded on a chart at Dufftown Station.

Progress Report

Shed Target:- £25,000

Shed Collected:- £25,556 as at 04/02/2015

Track Target:- £3850 (385 sleepers)

Track Collected:- £3850 as at 04/02/2015

A very large and heart felt thank you to all who have contributed to the appeals. The Shed Appeal and Track Appeal are now closed but any donations received will now be directed to the new Floor Appeal.

Having raised funds to dismantle, move, re-erect and improve (end doors, power and light) the shed and to purchase the necessary sleepers for the loop and shed track we now are launching an urgent appeal to raise funds for a concrete floor and service pit in the shed. We have secured a number of quotations for the work involved and estimates for the project are in the region of £25,000. We are launching an appeal for a concrete floor and service pit in the shed to be known as the Shed Floor Appeal.

Shed Floor Appeal Target:- £25,000

Shed Floor Appeal Collected:- £2,700 as at 19/9/15.

For details of the above use Appeals link to the left or click this link: Appeals


NOTE The Buffer Stop will be open on Friday 30th October and Saturday 31st October 2015, from 6pm providing hot soup, sandwiches, cakes, tea, coffee etc. These openings are primarily for passengers on the Ghost Train but are also open to the general public.

From 2015 the Buffer Stop became a franchise operation. The new operation is open for 6 days of the week, Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00am to 5.00pm for traditional home fayre, teas, coffees, cold drinks, all day breakfasts, lunches, home bakes and takeaways. These catering facilities will also be open on any Monday when the railway is operational. The buffer stop opened on Tuesday the 24th March under the new franchise operators, Angie Presly and Russell Stewart. Please note the Buffer Stop is not currently licenced to sell alcohol.

Although the Buffer Stop is under new management from Tuesday the 24th March 2015, the catering we do for our charters is being retained by KDRA and will be done in the Spirit of Dufftown under the name of KDRA Catering.


The Tuesday Work Party at Dufftown station historically tended to concentrated on “light work” i.e. smaller tasks that tend to appear further down the list of priorities e.g. painting and keeping the environment tidy etc. However, they are now involved in more major work such as the refurbishment of our rolling stock, Permanent Way and a multitude of other tasks. We can find work suited to everyone’s ability.

Works trains and training runs on our DMU also take place. This is another reason why people should not trespass on the line at any time. We do not just run scheduled services as published in our timetable but works trains on any day of the week and at any time of the day. Many people assume that if there are no scheduled services on a day then there will be no trains but this is very wide of the mark. We can and do run works trains, training runs and line inspections on any day of the week and potentially at any time of the day. Please do not trespass on the line at any time.

Anyone interested in taking part in this group is asked to contact Alistair Coull on 01542 831295. There is always work for any pair of willing hands from weeding, painting, cleaning, joinery, electrical, plumbing, engineering, permanent way, the list is endless. Come along, learn something new or share your skills with others!


© 2007, the Keith & Dufftown Railway Association