The Inverness - Aberdeen line, history, gen and phots

The 108 mile "over the top" route from Inverness to Aberdeen has perhaps always been a bit in the shadow in enthusiasts eyes compared with the Highland or Far North/Kyle lines. Scenic wise in sections it is nice enough with many crossings of the Spey and plenty green hills. After the rigours of an internal Highland line overnight many used the Inverness - Aberdeen line as 3 hours doss potential!!!.

 

Class 120 DMU's dominated services on the line from March 1960 to March 1980 with just

the occasional loco hauled substitutions. Elgin - Aberdeen services saw class 21/29, 24 and 26 operation as did Inverness/Elgin - Aviemore services via Grantown in the early 60s up to closure.

 

There was also the 0440 Aberdeen - Elgin which in the 60;s and 70's was a 4 coach paper

train back then, which again saw a good variety of power. By the mid 80's this was a passenger train getting type 2 power variety galore

From March 80 the Inverness - Aberdeen service went over to loco haulage with classes 25, 26 and 27 dominating. By 1983 47's had taken over most turns, including one mixed train with a Freightliner container tripped from Aberdeen to the Far North and back. By 1990 class 37's slowly took over most services until 1992 when 156 Sprinters took over the route.

Today mini HST's, 158's and 170's units dominate services and apart from the odd special or sleeper diversion, loco haulage has drifted into history

Part One 1960 - 1980 the DMU years

In July 1958 class 120 50676/59283/50720 was loaned to Aberdeen Kittybrewster shed

for trails on Inverness - Aberdeen services which lasted until the end of August 1958.

Deliveries of brand new 120's from Swindon followed in early 1960 with the units

operating 2 new fast services between Inverness and Aberdeen. Initially 4 sets were used

namely...

51783, 59683, 51794

51784, 59682. 51789

51785, 59684, 51790

51786, 59686, 51791

By Nov 60 the 120s were transferred South but by June 61 they were back along with

51781, 51782, 51787, 51788, 51792, 51793, 59679, 59680, 59681, 59685, 59685 with all

the 9 sets based at Lochgorm. The DMUs on these services carried green then all over blue

livery, the middle car having a popular buffet section. The guards coach, unusually for a DMU having a token catcher.

Bubbles also featured to boost the power and capacity on some services with 55002, 55005,

55007 going to Inverness for a few months, 55011 was a Lochgorm bubble for over 10 years from Oct 69 - Mar 80

 

Sample DMU workings

 

51790/59685/51781/51791/59682/51784 0830 Inverness - Aberdeen 090661

51792/59679/51783 1145 Aberdeen - Inverness 040965

51791/59680/51787 1747 Inverness - Aberdeen 160570

51793/59682/51784/51791/59679/51787 1143 Aberdeen - Inverness 210171

55011 and a 120 0840 Inverness - Aberdeen 020875

Loco hauled workings 1961-1979

 

24110 0440 Aberdeen - Inverness papers 020875

26024 0450 Aberdeen - Elgin papers 200379

 

 

6151 1555 Aberdeen - Elgin 240661

6153 0740 Inverness-Aberdeen 090963

 

6139 1015 Aberdeen - Elgin 180864

79992 (railbus) 1445 Elgin - Aviemore (Grantown) 190864

79973(railbus) 1445 Elgin - Aviemore (via Grantown) 030665

5345 0930 Inverness - Aviemore (via Forres, Grantown) 010765

 

5325 1510 Inverness - Aviemore (via Forres) 250865

5115 Elgin - Inverness 260865

6155 1352 Elgin - Aberdeen 060965

5122 1410 Aberdeen - Elgin 270766

6145 1352 Elgin - Inverness 270766

 

Loco hauled substitutions

 

26038 0747 Aberdeen - Inverness 160675

47168 2020 Inverness - Aberdeen 260675

26040 0545 Inverness - Aberdeen 140978

Dave Spencer comments "no heat, no second man, very cold!"

 

Inverness - Aberdeen DMU phot spot

 

Images thanks to Eastbank Model Railway club

 

0468Elgininvboundr.jpgA 120 DMU leaves Elgin with an Inverness bound service in April 68

 

0468Elginawebr.jpgMixed liveries as 120 DMUs cross at Elgin in April 68

 

0468Invawebr.jpgA green 120 DMU leaves Inverness in April 68

 

1075invbwebr.jpgA jumbo DMU set leaves Inverness for Aberdeen passing Welshes Bridge box in Oct 75

 

 

Part Two to follow featuring many type 2's feature!!

 

Thanks to Dave Spencer, the Eastbank Model Railway Club and the RPS for much of the gen.

 

 

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