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Spring 2014 Bulletin


In February 2014 the safety rails on the Fiddich Viaduct were heightened. The first 2 photos above show the railing being installed. While the third shows the finished item.

First photo shows rail being recovered from its storage point at the current end of our track beyond Keith Town. The road rail vehicle is loading the rail onto the Salmon for transportation to Dufftown where it will be used in replacing rails on the curve over the Fiddich Viaduct and embankment. Next photo shows railway chairs being moved from Dufftown to another location on the line where they will be more convenient for future track work. Third photo shows the gang who offloaded the chairs at their storage point.

Changing the rails on the Curve

When leaving Dufftown all trains depart southbound and at the end of the yard descend a short bank then follow a U shaped curve over the Fiddich viaduct, embankment, road over-bridge and onto the foot of the Parkmore bank now heading north towards Keith. The U shaped curve is to a tight radius and is check railed throughout. The purpose of the check rail is to hold the inner wheels of vehicles against the inner rail and prevent the outer wheels climbing up over the outer rail and derailing the vehicle. Over time the outer rail of the curve has become worn due to the forces pressing wheels against it and needed replacement. The plan was to lift the outer rail and move it over to replace the inner rail and similarly move the inner rail to the outer rail. This would mean that the worn rail faces were on the outside or unused side of the track while the unworn faces were now on the inside or running sides of the track. For various reasons this was not always possible so some track was replaced from our stock of rails at Dufftown and the rails recovered from the Keith end of the line. The following pictures show the story of the work involved in replacing the rails on the check railed curve.

First photo shows some of the volunteers getting ready to remove the left hand running rail. Next photo shows the running rail removed and lying in the middle of the track. The rail remaining on the left is the check rail. Photos 1 and 2 were taken in the cutting just beyond the yard at Dufftown. In the 3rd photo the RRV has moved down onto the Fiddich viaduct and the right hand running rail is in the process of being removed.

Left photo shows the PW train sitting on newly replaced rails at the end of the cutting just before the viaduct. The PW train consisted of the Salmon wagon carrying rails, the PW van with tools required for the job and the UDV loco as train engine. The middle photo shows volunteers preparing for the RRV to lift out the left running rail. The rail in situ on the right is the check rail, the running rail having already been lifted out and is lying on its side on the ballast. Right photo shows both running rails removed, the left rail’s position is marked by the row of empty chairs while the running rail is sitting on the sleepers in the middle of the track, the rail in situ on the right is the check rail while the right running rail has been removed and is lying on its side on the ballast. The running rails here were not jointed rail but continuous welded rail all the way across the viaduct. This rail was replaced by jointed rail.

These photos show work beginning on replacing the running rails across the viaduct.

The work progresses on replacing the running rails across the viaduct.

Close ups of some of the volunteers as they work to replace the running rails across the viaduct.

These photos show volunteers manhandling rail in to position, cutting rail to length and making sure the RRV keeps running.

Work has progressed over the viaduct, embankment, bridge over the Dufftown to Keith road and is now at the foot of the Parkmore bank. First photo shows the PW train stopped just short of the over-bridge with work about to begin at the foot of the bank. Next 2 photos show the RRV and volunteers getting in to position to remove and replace the rails.

Right hand running rail being removed while the check rail remains in situ.

These are all the photos available of a major piece of permanent way work which was done over many weeks working on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Almost all the volunteers had a hand in the work at some point and a collective sigh of relief was given when the work was completed in good time for the opening of the railway for the season on Friday April the 18th 2014.


Over winter Spirit of Banffshire Dufftown car no 51568 has been in the shed being repainted.

The left photo above shows 51568 before it was moved into the shed. The right photo shows 51568 inside the shed being rubbed down, filled and primed ready for repainting.

51568 being repainted inside the shed.

51568 was moved out of the shed to the end of the platform to allow lining to be carried out. The left and centre photo show the work in progress and the right photo the completed job. We now have two fully refurbished DMUs, Spirit of Speyside which will normally be the service vehicle and Spirit of Banffshire which will be used as required either on its own or in multiple with Spirit of Speyside.

Our guards van was also in the shed for refurbishment. The work turned out to be more major than anticipated and included among other things the replacement of all running boards, complete rebuild of the veranda ends and replacement of the stove chimney pipe.

The above photos show, left the Keith end and right the Dufftown end. There is still a need for some timber replacement but the brake van has been in use on works trains during the close season. The brake van will return to the shed during the operating season to have its refurbishment completed.

Currently in the shed undergoing refurbishment is our DTLC M56491 further news of this will be posted later this year.


At a Board meeting it was agreed that the following were 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. These 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.

Progress Report

Target:- £25,000

Collected:- £28,820 as at 25/04/2014

A very large and heart felt thank you to all who have contributed to the appeal. The appeal is now closed but any donations received for the shed will now be directed to the Track Appeal.

The Track Appeal has been set up to raise funds for the second track into the engine shed. The appeal takes 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. To date (25/04/2014) £3,460 has been raised.

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


The operational DMU is now Spirit of Speyside comprised of Driver Motor Brake Standard (DMBS 53628) Dufftown car and Driver Trailer Lavatory Composite (DTLC 56224) Keith car. Spirit of Speyside is wheel chair accessible.


The Buffer Stop will open at the start of the season on Friday 18th April 2014 and will close on 28th September 2014. During the season the Buffer Stop serves tea, coffee, soup, sandwiches, cakes and scones. We enjoy serving booked parties, those using our trains or just popping in while passing. All are welcome to enjoy our good food at good prices.

Please note the Buffer Stop is entirely staffed by volunteers and its operation is dependent on sufficient volunteers being available to operate it. PLEASE NOTE THAT ON FRIDAY 6TH JUNE 2014 THE BUFFER STOP WILL NOT BE OPEN due to a shortage of qualified volunteers. More volunteers are always welcome see our Volunteers page using Volunteers link to the left or click this link: Volunteers

During the closed season the Kitchen Car of the Buffer Stop has been stripped out. New flooring is being laid and all kitchen equipment, plumbing and wiring being replaced / refurbished / reinstalled. The following photos show the work in progress, earlier this year, but the Kitchen Car is now in full operation again ready to welcome the new season’s guests.

During the closed season the Kitchen Car of the Buffer Stop has been stripped out. New flooring has been laid and all kitchen equipment, plumbing and wiring been replaced / refurbished / reinstalled. The following photos show the work in progress including the fitting of a cover, with window, to the unused corridor connection at the Dufftown end. This new cover meets two requirements 1) prevent rainwater gathering in the connection leading to rotting of the floor and 2) the window provides controllable ventilation to the Kitchen Car. Next photo shows the new flooring in the as yet empty Kitchen car and the third photo shows the final piece of catering equipment being repositioned. The Restaurant car has also been spruced up and with the Kitchen Car is fully operational again and has already welcomed the new season’s guests.


The Tuesday Work Party at Dufftown station has 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, of late they have been involved in more major work such as the refurbishment of our DMUs , the Brake Van, 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. Come along, learn something new or share your skills with others!


© 2007, the Keith & Dufftown Railway Association