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From the CR web page:
The original Caledonian Railway, founded in 1848, was one of the major rail operators in Scotland, cooperating with the London and North Western Railway in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to create new, high-speed links between the English capital and the key centres of population on the western side of Britain and over a large part of Scotland.
Trains operated by the Caledonian Railway (or the Caley as it was fondly called) took part in the fiercely competitive `Race to the North' in the 1870s. At the height of the railways' role in the British economy, the companies running trains on the two principal routes between England and Scotland, the East Coast and West Coast main lines, strove to outdo each other in the time taken by their services to reach the cities of Scotland.
The West Coast trains passed through Bridge of Dun, which was then an important junction. Another couple of miles further east was the famous Kinnaber Junction where the two routes met. The competitors' trains were obliged from there on to use the same tracks to reach Aberdeen and beyond. There were often tense moments as the local signalman was obliged to decide which of the two expresses rapidly approaching the junction he should allow through first, the West Coast or the East Coast.
The present Caledonian Railway (Caledonian Railway (Brechin) Ltd), uses four miles of a branch line formerly operated by the original Caledonian Railway. Originally established as the Brechin Railway Preservation Society, it was very much in its infancy when we visited in 1986, but they already had some trains running in a delightful Scottish setting, with a wonderful Victorian era station. Judging from their current web page, they have moved on a bit since I was there. Nevertheless, these photos will show something of the early days of restoration.
Simon Hickman of the Caledonian Railway wrote to me, having seen the above photos, pointing out that the railway has moved on a little since 1986, and perhaps it was time to update my site.
As it happened, I was planning to visit Scotland in the (northern) summer of 2004, and wrote back to him to see when the CR might be running, so that I could catch up with things. Simon replied, and generously suggested that when I came, I make myself known to him (he was firing that day), and he'd organize a cab ride for me. This bunch of photos details the fun I had on that day, catching up with progress at CR. Thanks, Simon!
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