Aberdeen Harbour Lines
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The railway history of central Aberdeen and its Harbour area is somewhat complicated:- 1136 Aberdeen Harbour was established near the mouth of the Dee by King David I of Scotland 1810 The Harbour Commissioners (town councillors plus businessmen) were established, meeting as the Aberdeen Harbour Board 2/8/1854 Aberdeen Guild Street railway station (centre of top map) opened to passengers as the northern terminus of Aberdeen Railway, replacing its temporary terminus at Ferryhill. It also served Deeside Railway (by agreement), which used running powers northwards from Ferryhill junction. At that time, the southern terminus of GNSR was at Kittybrewster 2/11/1855 The Harbour Commissioners - at the suggestion of GNSR - opened a standard gauge tramway link between Guild Street and Waterloo. This also linked to quaysides and was later extended in scope. Only horse haulage (with up to three wagons) was permitted. 24/11/1855 Using part of the route of the Aberdeenshire Canal, which it had purchased, GNSR extended its line from Kittybrewster to a new terminus, Aberdeen Waterloo (centre of second map). This was on the docks and closer to the city centre. Goods services began on 24/11/1855; passenger trains 1/4/1856. 1850s/1860s GNSR discouraged southbound rail transfers of goods (having links with shipping companies). It also deliberately made southbound passenger transfers inconvenient. 4/11/1867 At the behest of Parliament, the Denburn Valley Line and the new Aberdeen Joint station (left of centre, top map) were opened, connecting GNSR at Kittybrewster with Aberdeen Railway - by then a part of Scottish North Eastern Railway (later absorbed by Caledonian Railway) - and Deeside Railway (later absorbed by GNSR). Guild Street and Waterloo stations both subsequently became goods only 1870s River Dee diverted southwards, permitting extensions to Harbour 1883 The Aberdeen Extension and Improvement Act 1883 was passed, permitting inter alia the City Council to construct a gas works in the Cotton Street area (top right, second map), served by a street tramway from Waterloo, operated by GNSR. GNSR proposed steam haulage; the Harbour Board counter-proposed the uprating of the whole Harbour system at GNSR’s expense. Talks broke down and the outcome was that the Council ended-up operating steam haulage on the Gasworks branch alone. 1887 “City of Aberdeen” 0-4-0ST (Black Hawthorn of Gateshead) starts operation to Gasworks. 0-4-0ST “Bon Accord” (Andrew Barclay of Kilmarnock) added in 1897. Despite the success of steam working to the Gasworks, GNSR remained restricted to horse operation on the quaysides until 1915! 1905 rebuilding of Regent Bridge (between Victoria and Upper Docks) as a lifting bascule bridge for road and rail traffic, controlled by semaphore signals 1/1/1915 GNSR finally commenced steam operation on Harbour metals, initially using borrowed locomotives - a Caledonian 0-4-0ST and the Duke of Sutherland’s first “Dunrobin” locomotive (2-4-0T) 1926 Opening of Electricity Works Branch (shown in green, third map), from South Market Street to Millburn Street, built by Caledonian Railway. Two English Electric Battery Electric locomotives hauled coal from Guild Street or the Harbour to the works. 1947 Nationalisation of gas and electricity transferred responsibility from Aberdeen City Council to Scottish Gas Board and the Hydro Board, respectively 1954 Road/rail bridge constructed at St. Clements dock gates 1959 British Railways took over operation of coal traffic to electricity works until its closure ten years later 1960 First of a number of railtours round harbour area ( see photographs ) 1977 Gasworks closed, although its branch continued to serve the SAI Chemical Works until that closed a few years later. Regent and St. Clement’s Bridges removed, to permit larger ships to use Upper Docks 2000s Guild Street site cleared and replaced by Union Square shopping centre (opened in 2009). Much of the above text has been abridged from an article “Aberdeen Harbour and the Waterloo Branch” , by KG Jones of GNSRA
Ordnance Survey 25 inch to mile, 1st edition.  By permission of National Library of Scotland. Ordnance Survey, 6 inches to the mile, 1902.  By permission of National Library of Scotland Ordnance Survey, inch to the mile, 1955.  By permission of National Library of Scotland
Further information about Aberdeen Harbour railways may be found in this article on the Doric Columns website.