Strathheldon

In 1847, after much campaigning, an Act was passed permitting the construction of the Strathheldon &
Nearby Railway (SNR). This was to be constructed on a rising embankment from Nearby terminating in
a two platform station near the town centre of Strathheldon. A small locomotive servicing facility was to
be included but no goods facilities, there being no desire to sully the genteel town of Strathheldon with
such matters and as there were adequate facilities at Nearby and horse and cart transportation could
easily deal with this.

On the 31 st June, 1853 the line opened with great celebration, the first train reaching Strathheldon at
11.30am whereby the occupants, being the directors of the company along with local dignitaries,
followed the town’s Pipe Band to the Castle Hotel where a sumptuous repast was enjoyed along with
many toasts and speeches. The party returned to the station at 4.30pm and returned to Nearby.
Normal services of three trains each way commenced on the following day.

The success of the line was immediate and the town of Strathheldon prospered and grew. In 1868 a
new company, the Strathheldon Great Central Railway (SGCR) was formed to link the town to Much
Furtheraway giving direct access to the main cities of the country. The directors of this line were
ambitious and planned for four tracks with appropriate platform faces in the station. Strathheldon being
on a hill it was decided that the station should be built in a cutting, tunnelling under the main part of the
town itself, lower than the original station. In due course the act was passed and Strathheldon Central
Station was opened in 1878. This time the celebrations were somewhat more muted as a large number
of residents of Strathheldon objected to the influx of ‘Trade’ to the town.

Strathheldon continued to prosper and develop. The town of Little Furtheraway was fast becoming a
dormitory town of Strathheldon as those who had objected to the commercial development moved to this
leafy suburb. However they did wish a rail link to Strathheldon but as it was coming from the opposite
direction to Nearby it terminated in the cutting between the existing station and original SNR station.
Subsequently, shortly before the turn of the century the SGCR and the SNR amalgamated, the SGCR
effectively having managed the SNR for several years, and the station became Strathheldon Victoria
Station, finally becoming simply Strathheldon Station on the formation of BR in 1948.

Back to reality! Elgin MRC was wanting to build a new 00 club layout to allow members to run their
stock on a large layout, but also to be able to attend exhibitions when possible. The layout was to
include a four track main line, a loco shed and a goods yard which were all to be interlinked but which
could be operated separately if desired. With the addition of a branch line gradually rising behind all of
these, and an 18 road fiddle yard, the layout developed as it is today. This is its first major public
outing, having had its ‘maiden voyage’ in November at Elgin MRC’s own show where, as can be seen
from the photographs, it was still a ‘work in progress’ as far as scenery is concerned. The layout is wired for
both DC and DCC.

The layout is 24 feet by 16 feet with curved corners (a real joinery challenge!) to allow for sweeping
curves. It is set ‘somewhere in Scotland’ in the early 60’s with diesel traction making an appearance but
as it is a layout to allow members to run their own stock more modern, and older, stock frequently can
appear. However one member has found to his dismay that his Eurostar can’t make it through the
platforms!

It is still a ‘work in progress’. Much scenic development has still to take place, signalling has to be
installed and some track alterations have already been planned. However hopefully you will be able to
just enjoy ‘watching the trains go round’.