Caledonian Railway - A

Caledonian Railway - A

Caledonian Railway. Is an entirely volunteer run charity (SC012714) that restores, maintains and operates a heritage railway based in the heart of Angus in Scotland. We run steam and diesel hauled trains along the 4 mile branch line between the town of Brechin to the countryside stop of Bridge of Dun, which dates back to 1848.

Caledonian Railway History

During the 19th century, the small town of Brechin began to grow and become known for its produce, namely textiles and whisky. To allow the town to continue growing, a method of moving large quantities of materials in and out of the town was required.

Two methods of transport were suggested for the job, canals and railways. Due to the geography of Brechin and the River South Esk, building a canal was not feasible and so a railway line was constructed.

On 1st February 1848, the Aberdeen Railway Company opened the branch line between Brechin and Bridge of Dun which connected to the new mainline between Friockheim and Dubton. During the 1880’s, a proposal to upgrade the branch line to a mainline route between Forfar and Brechin was proposed. However, due to the orientation and location of Brechin station, this plan was soon abandoned.

Traffic along the line was expected to increase towards the end of the 19th century. Subsequently, Brechin station was expanded in 1885 to accommodate more passenger and freight trains.

Due to financial issues in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s, the Aberdeen Railway company sold the Brechin branch line to the Caledonian Railway company on the 31st July 1894. After alterations were made, the line was reopened to goods trains on 7th January 1895, with passenger services commencing on the 1st June the same year.

After the first world war, the Railways Act of 1921 was passed. This act condensed the vast number of individual railway companies operating in the country into four large ones in an attempt to curve spiralling operating costs. Subsequently, the Caledonian Railway was absorbed into the London, Midland, and Scottish (LMS) Railway in 1923.

The LMS operated the branch line from 1923 to 31st December 1947. On the 1st January 1948, the LMS was nationalised by the Transport Act of 1947 and became part of British Railways (BR).

British Railways (British Rail from 1965) continued to operate trains along the four-mile branch line for many years. Unfortunately, due to increased competition from motor vehicles and declining passenger numbers, the line closed to passenger services in 1952 but remained open to freight traffic until 1981.


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