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Strathspey Railway, The


(Strathspey Steam Railway)

A heritage railway which runs between Aviemore and Broomhill in the Central Highlands, the Strathspey Railway (sometimes the Strathspey Steam Railway) opened in 1978, originally only as far as Boat of Garten. It follows part of the route of the former Inverness and Perth Junction Railway which was commissioned in 1863, becoming part of the Highland Railway two years later. This line once linked Aviemore with Grantown on Spey and Forres, but closed as a casualty of the Beeching cuts in 1965.

Operated by the Strathspey Railway Association, which was founded in 1971 with the aim of reinvigorating the line as a tourist attraction, this is now the longest stretch of preserved railway in Scotland, extending to 10 miles (16 km). Services run through most of the year, with trains operating daily in the summer months.

Having been unable to use the mainline station in Aviemore, a new station was constructed on the site of nearby marshalling yards. However, a partnership was forged with Network Rail in 1998 which enabled the line to be extended into an unused platform in Aviemore station.

In 2002, a 4½-mile (7.25 km) extension from Boat of Garten to Broomhill was completed. From here, a bus service runs to Grantown on Spey, although it is intended to extend the line to that village in time, a project which has attracted support from the Scottish Government by approving the re-alignment of the A95 road to make this possible.

A range of steam and diesel locomotives are based at Strathspey, including several shunting engines. These include Locomotive No. 17 from the Wemyss Private Railway, an Ivatt-class which once ran on the London Midland and Scottish railway, an 812-class from the Caledonian Railways and a Hunslet Austerity saddle tank engine, together with Class 26, Class 27 and Class 31 diesels and Diesel Multiple Units.


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