NJ2945 : Causeway to the Heathery Isle

taken 4 months ago, near to Craigellachie, Moray, Great Britain

Causeway to the Heathery Isle
Causeway to the Heathery Isle
This concrete causeway is used for vehicles to access the Heathery Isle, from which this view is taken. It was slippery with water weed today, when the water level is low, and if the river is high it will be a ford rather than a causeway. On either side of the far end of it are two of the four surviving abutments that carried the Morayshire Railway to the vanished viaduct that carried the line across the River Spey.
Morayshire Railway
The Morayshire Railway connected Lossiemouth, Elgin and Rothes with the Strathspey Railway at Craigellachie. There was also a branch from Rothes to Orton that connected with the Highland Railway at Orton.
Strathspey Railway
The Strathspey Railway ran from Dufftown to Aviemore, mostly alongside the River Spey.

It was supported by the Great North of Scotland Railway, who subscribed 100,000 towards it as well as guaranteeing its debentures, principal and interest.

The idea of such a railway was mooted in about 1860, and a Bill was presented to Parliament for its construction. The Bill received its third reading in the House of Commons on 21 March 1861, its second reading in the House of Lords on 22 April 1861, and the Royal Assent on 17 May 1861.

The line was to meet the Keith and Dufftown Railway at Dufftown and connect at Craigellachie with the Morayshire Railway.

Work had commenced by December 1861. From November 1862, tenders were invited for the construction of stations along the route.

Construction went well until April 1863, when three men were killed in two separate accidents. Angus McQueen, 45, from Skye died when, misunderstanding a warning from a colleague in another waggon, he leapt from his waggon and was crushed beneath its wheels. William Watson, 43, from Perthshire, and James Lemon, 26, from King Edward, died when they were trapped by a fall of earth in a cutting at Knockando. A third man, Angus McKay, from Skye, was injured but survived.

The Strathspey line, and the viaduct at Dandaleith linking it to the Morayshire line, were completed in June 1863, and an opening celebration was held on Thursday 27 July 1863, when a train carrying directors, shareholders, contractors and friends ran the 34 miles from Dufftown to Abernethy, where a banquet, accompanied by many speeches, was held in an engine shed, before the train took the passengers back to Elgin, Aberdeen or intermediate points.

In 1866 the Strathspey Railway became part of the Great North of Scotland Railway network.

Two new bridges were built near Nethy Bridge, one over the River Nethy and one over the River Spey, to connect the Strathspey Railway to the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway (later Highland Railway).

The line continued to serve Speyside until 1965, when it became one of many victims of Dr Beeching's cuts. Freight services continued until 1968.

In the 1980s the sections of the line between Dufftown and Ballindalloch were incorporated into the Speyside Way long distance path. South of Ballindalloch, most of the landowners exercised their entitlement to take the railway land back into their own possession when the railway no longer required it, so it was a couple of decades before the route of the Speyside Way to Grantown-on-Spey, and later to Aviemore, could be developed.

Note that the present-day heritage railway from Aviemore to Boat of Garten, which uses the name Strathspey Railway LinkExternal link does not in fact run over any part of the original Strathspey Railway which is described in this article.
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NJ2945, 66 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Tuesday, 26 February, 2019   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 26 February, 2019
Geographical Context
Rivers, Streams, Drainage  Railways  Woodland, Forest 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NJ 2911 4537 [10m precision]
WGS84: 57:29.5789N 3:11.0574W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NJ 2910 4536
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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