History of the line

There are two excellent publications which cover the whole history of the line and within the context of the railways of the northeast.

•   The Whisky Line – a guide to the Keith and Dufftown Railway, written jointly by Alistair Coull and Ian McKenzie. It is published by the Keith & Dufftown Railway Association (KDRA) 2016 28pp and is available at the shop at Keith Town Station price £5.00.
•   The Whisky Line – Keith to Dufftown – How the Line Survived, written by David Fasken. It is published by The Great North of Scotland Railway Association 2022 95pp and is available at the shop at Keith Town Station price £9.00.

Originally the line was promoted by the Keith & Dufftown Railway Company and most of it was opened in 1862. It later became part of the Great North of Scotland Railway. It carried both freight mainly associated with local distilleries and passengers enabling journeys through to Elgin and westwards up the Spey valley to Aviemore. In 1923 it became part of London & North Eastern Railway (LNER).
But improved roads, and increased car ownership led to a reduction in usage over the years and in May 1968 regular passenger services ceased. Freight services had ceased also by the early 1980s. Fortunately after that the track was not lifted and the line was still used by the occasional excursion such as the ‘Northern Belle’, an enterprising evening extension of ‘Nightrider’ services from Kings Cross. It was even graced by the passage of an Inter-City 125!
Those services ended in 1991 and two years later saw the formation of the Keith and Dufftown Railway Association whose aim was to restore the line between the two towns as a heritage railway. In 2001, just 10 years after BR bowed out, the KDRA began running its first passenger services over the full route.

Here is a video sent us recently by an admiring visitor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4dR5AKwAjw

This page last updated: 18/02/22