The installation of a bridge over the River Dulnain will enable the historic Strathspey Railway to eventually extend its heritage line from Broomhill to Grantown-on-Spey.
Thanks to Colas Rail, who provided Strathspey Railway with the only crane capable of completing such a task, the bridge was lifted and installed over a two-day period. Strathspey Railway staff and volunteers were on hand to complete some of the groundwork following the installation. The new bridge moves the ‘Rails to Grantown’ project closer to completion.
After the infamous Beeching cuts of the 1960s, the line between Aviemore and Grantown was abandoned and the track lifted. Since 1971 the Strathspey Railway has been working to restore the railway.
Says David Fraser, the chairman of the Strathspey Railway Charitable Trust, ‘By the time we reach Grantown we’ll be carrying 100,000 passengers per year. What that means to the Spey Valley Area is about £6 million income to the businesses here, and Grantown will get their share of that when we arrive there and that’s very significant.’ The railway currently runs between Aviemore and Broomhill.
Added Mr Fraser, ‘We are indebted to a number of companies, both local and national, who have been able to help at reduced or no cost at all. Colas Rail seriously discounted the cost of getting this crane transported all the way from Devon. With no road access, there was no other way of doing it – this is the only crane that can do this job and it’s the biggest one in the UK. The sight of the bridge going in resoundingly confirms that the railway is on its way back to Grantown with just one more big hurdle, the A95, and we hope that Transport Scotland can make the tunnel and road re-alignment happen soon. Our local politicians are united in support for this project to succeed.’