Timeline of the GNSR
1845, 31st July Act of Parliament passes to create the "Aberdeen Railway"
This is planned to connect an Aberdeen - Inverness railway, to a line to the south.
1846, 3rd July Great North of Scotland Railway incorporated
1847 Act passed for the Amalgamation of the GNSR and the Aberdeen Railway
Amalgamation only becomes active when both expend half of their capital in construction.
1850 Amalgamation Act of 1947 repealed
This is caused by the end of the 'Railway Mania', and various financial troubles at the Aberdeen Railway.
1852, November 25th Construction of the GNSR finally starts
1853, 13th October Queen Victoria uses the GNSR for the first time
The Queen departs Balmoral, using the terminus at Banchory Station.
1854, 12th September Line opens from Kittybrewster (near Aberdeen) to Huntley
1856 Line extends from Huntley to Keith.
1855, 29th September Canal branch from Kittybrewster to Waterloo Quay opens
The branch is initially only open to goods traffic, but it opens for passenger traffix six months later.
1858 The Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway opens between Inverness and Keith
This completes the through line from Aberdeen to Inverness.
1865 Highland Railway formed
The Highland Railway is formed by the amalgamation of the Inverness and Aberdeen Junction Railway and the Inverness and Perth Junction Railway. GNSR/HR are very strained.
1866, 1st September Deeside Line leased to the GNSR
1866, 17th July Deeside Line opened to Ballater
Ballater becomes the new station for royal traffic to Balmoral.
1866 The GNSR does no pay a dividend
This is due to the GNSR's precarious financial position caused by the GNSR's through route being bypassed by the Inverness to Perth route, combined with the cost of expensive branchline expansion.
1867 GNSR Directors all resign
The Directors resign in early 1867. Six are re-elected, including Mr. John Duncan who becomes the new chairman. One of the new directors is William Ferguson who later becomes chairman and is responsible many of the GNSR's improvements over the next few decades.
1867, 4th November The Aberdeen Joint Station and the Northern Junction Line opens
The GNST finally gains a terminus in central Aberdeen and a connection with the Scottish North Eastern Railway.
1875 GNSR's financial position is restored
Floating debt has been paid off, and unpaid dividends had been put to debentures. The GNSR starts to pay a dividend again.
1880, June Double tracking of the main line reaches Kintore
This is a part of a programme of major infrastructure upgrades.
1880-5 Main lines are doubled to Inveramsay and Cults
Over 142 miles of track are relaid with steel rails, replacing the original iron rails which often lacked fishplates.
1881 The Morayshire Railway amalgamates with the GNSR
This provides the GNSR with a line to Elgin. This increases competition with the Highland Railway.
1886, 3rd May Central section of the Coast Line opens
This completes the Coast Line from Portsory to Elgin.
1887, July Aberdeen's first real suburban services are started
These serve Don Valley to Dyce. Additional stations are opened in 1887/8, the number of trains quickly increased on this popular service. The Don Valley services would survive until 1937 when motor bus competition becomes too great.
1889 Manson demonstrates his Tablet Exchange Apparatus
This was widely used by both the GNSR and its arch-rival the Highland Railway, and continued to be used by the LNER.
1890 GNSR applies to Parliament for powers to build a line from Elgin to Inverness
This would have crossed the Highland Railway near Elgin Station, and is defeated by the Highland Railway.
1891 The GNSR enters the hotel business with the purchase of the Palace Hotel in Aberdeen
This is reopened with electric lighting, hydraulic lifts, and a covered way to the station.
1893 The GNSR starts to build a hotel and golf course at Cruden Bay
Located 20 miles north of Aberdeen, this venture is prompted by the great success of the Palace Hotel. The new hotel requires ten miles of new branch line to connect to Ellon on the Buchan line.
1896, 2nd August The line to Cruden Bay opens
An electric tram covers the third of a mile from the hotel to the station. Despite a very comfortable hotel and having one of Scotland's best golf courses, the project proves to be a financial disaster. The season is too short, and the new branch line passes through relatively poor country.
1898 Construction starts for the new locomotive and engineering works at Inverurie
When completed, these works will replace the cramped site at Kittybrewster.
1901 Carriage Department moves into the new works at Inverurie
1902 Locomotive Department moves in at Inverurie
1903, 1st July The short branch from Fraserburgh to St. Combs opens
This is the last section of the GNSR to open.
1904, May The GNSR stars a motor omnibus service between Ballater and Braemar
1905 Inverurie is completed with the arrival of the Permanent Way Department
1914-8 The GNSR sees a huge increase in wartime traffic, out of proportion to its small size
The Grand Fleet is concentrated at Scapa Flow and requires extensive supply traffic. Thurso is the nearest harbour, but it is very small and the Highland Line to Thurso is single track. Aberdeen Harbour is chosen instead. The GNSR takes responsibility for working the traffic from the North British and Caledonian sidings in the south, to the docks at Aberdeen. The GNSR also supplies bunker coal to Peterhead Harbour for minesweepers and other vessels, and carries supplies to a new Airship Station at Lenabo (on the Buchan line). The GNSR also sees greatly increased timber traffic which was being cut locally for wartime use. 609 GNSR staff members fight in World War 1, and 93 never return.
1922, 31st December The GNSR runs its last trains and becomes a part of the newly formed LNER.