Two trains cross in the loop east of the (now) old Forres station. The first train was an east-bound special consisting of DRS No. 37 423 propelling No.975025, the former Southern Region General Managers Saloon (Caroline) and a former Hastings line DEMU catering car. Crossing was the Royal Scotsman on a Classic Tour with a West Coast Railways Class 47 in charge. Note the token exchange. The sleepy feeling to this location has all been swept away for a new station, station access and expanded car park.
As part of a multi-million pound upgrade of the Inverness-Aberdeen line, Forres has seen some considerable changes – more than any other location on the line between Huntly and Inverness. Here’s a few pictures, some a little surreal, of the works as it nears its climax on the 13th October. The new station was due to be opened the following week. In the meantime, Forres signal box, level crossing and semaphore signals are now history. Token exchange outside the station, a time-consuming exercise is also history, as is the signal box at Elgin West. A mound of earth now laps onto the old platform and the old yard at Forres now hosts the new station.
I caught ‘The Royal Scotsman’ on camera for the first time this year – at Forres when on the Keith to Kyle leg of the run. I am normally out for the RS sooner than this in the season. No one is quite sure how much longer the signal boxes on the Inverness-Aberdeen line will survive, with modernisation on its way.
The former Southern Region General Managers Saloon, now called ‘Caroline’ made its way to the North of Scotland this week. It ran from Inverness to Aberdeen and Edinburgh via Elgin yesterday with DRS Class 37/4 No. 37 423 providing power. The train paused at Nairn and Forres to allow passing moves with west bound trains, allowing plenty of time to take pictures. At Forres, it met 57 001 hauling the Royal Scotsman. Thankfully the weather was good and photography was a breeze!
At last, the Royal Scotsman season kicks off with the first tour of the year, a ‘Classic’ tour of five days’ duration which takes in the Aberdeen-Inverness line, a run to Kyle of Lochalsh and down the Highland line too. West Coast Railways has the contract for haulage and crews once again, offering 47 787 Windsor Castle as traction for the first run. It should be another excellent year with Class 47s regularly diagrammed for the Kyle line once again!
Dull weather greeted the train’s arrival in Nairn this morning (not normally this dull as the sun always shines in Nairn – honest!).
A brief pause to surrender the Forres – Nairn single line token before continuing west to Inverness and kyle of Lochalsh. The Class 158 on the other line formed the 11.15hrs Nairn – Aberdeen service which started in Inverness.
31 601 pauses at Nairn for a token to Forres with the ‘Structure Gauging Train’ on the evening of 5th March 2009. The train runs primarily at night so the special light measurement instrumentation can be used. For the record, 31 602 brought up the rear of the train.
Interesting redeployment of an former ScotRail and Anglia DBSO… The istrumentation vehicle is next in the rake. The train only remained stationary for a few minutes, offering limited time for long exposure photography.
I followed it to Forres where it met a west bound Inverness service. Another shot was obtained at the old crossing gates.