The Earl of Aberdeen’s Railway, the Great North Branch that Never Was, by David Fasken. Published by the Great North of Scotland Railway Association. 56pp, 18 colour and 18 black and white illustrations, B5. ISBN 978 0902343 31 3. £8.50.

Many railways were promoted in the nineteenth century to serve rural areas but not all were actually built. Aberdeenshire was a rich rural area which needed better transport but the scattered nature of the population made it difficult to serve the whole area.

One such proposal was for a line from Udny, on the existing route to Fraserburgh and Peterhead, to Tarves and Methlick. Unlike several proposals which never got beyond the wishful thinking stage, detailed plans were drawn up for this line by its main proponent, John Campbell Gordon, 7th Earl of Aberdeen, who lived at Haddo House. It was not all plain sailing and eventually the plan was dropped.

This book describes the proposed railway in detail and recounts how the plans were put forward. The reaction which it generated is recorded. Details of the wider transport needs of the region are also provided, including the bus service which was eventually established along the route of the proposed railway. Even that was not very successful, so if the line had been built it would have likely been a financial burden on both the Earl and the Great North of Scotland Railway Company who inevitably would have ended up running it.

Copies can be obtained by post at £9.50 (or £7.50 if you are an Association member) from David Fasken, St. Margaret’s Rectory, Forgue, Huntly, AB54 6DQ. Trade orders are welcome. Cheques should be made payable to “GNSRA”.

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