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Caledonian Railway


RCD’s Overview

This heritage railway runs for four miles over the former branch from Brechin to Bridge of Dunn, once a main line junction for Glasgow - Aberdeen express trains. The route follows attractive country side from the impressive railway station at Brechin, much of which was built in the 1890’s. The railway operates a number of former industrial steam locomotives as well as a growing number of ex-main line diesel locomotives. Its running season is quite short, from June to September, with Polar Express trains running from late November to Christmas.

The support group is the 'Brechin Railway Preservation Society' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Brechin to Bridge of Dunn

Principal Visitor Centre:

Brechin Station (DD9 7AF)

Period of Operation*

- June (Sundays)

- July and August (Saturdays and Sundays)

- September (first weekend)

- Late November/ December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Steam (usually on Sundays) and diesel (usually on Saturdays)

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Small industrial steam locomotives, ex main line diesel

Length of Line:

4 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour 10 minutes

Number of trains per day:

4 or 5 in each direction

Number of Stations:

2 stations


Adult return: £9. Senior return: £8. Child return: £7

Time to allow for Visit:

2 hours





Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Car parks available at Brechin and Bridge of Dunn stations


Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- Afternoon tea train

- Gin Tasting Train                                                           

Event Trains:

- Polar Express: Late November and December

- Day Out with Thomas: August 

Principal Galas:

None currently advertised




Telephone:                                                           01356 622992


Social Media:                                             

                                                                              Also on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

Two competing railway routes were built between Perth and Arbroath in the nineteenth century, a situation that led to intense competition epitomised by the so-called races to the north. The reason for the duplication revolved around perceived difficulties in building a line from Perth to Arbroath via Dundee alongside the Firth of Tay and North Sea coast. The first line to be built in the Brechin area therefore followed a more inland route, built by the Aberdeen Railway (1847 - 1850) which ran from Aberdeen to Forfar. That line connected at Forfar with the Scottish Midland Junction Railway built from Perth to Forfar, the completion of which allowed through traffic from central Scotland to Aberdeen. This main line ran 4 miles to the south of Brechin, and so a branch was built from its nearest point at Bridge of Dunn to the city which opened in 1848. By the 1870s an alternative route from Dundee to Arbroath had been built, resulting in intense competition between the companies that then owned these routes, the Caledonian Railway (CR) and the North British Railway (NBR). The duplication survived the 1923 grouping as the CR was absorbed by the LMS whilst the NBR was absorbed by the LNER. Upon nationalisation in 1948 however, the duplication could not survive, and the inland route (which served more sparse population) was closed to passengers in 1967. The Brechin branch has closed earlier to passengers in 1952, but remained open to freight until 1981. In anticipation a preservation group was set up in in a bid to save the entire branch line. This they did running their first trains over the branch in 1993. 


Principal Aspiration

 To extend the railway a further 3.5 miles along the former main line to Dubton.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) Barclay 0-4-0ST - No. 1863

(2) Barclay 0-6-0T - No. 2107 ‘Harlaxton’ (in Thomas guise)


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 08 - No. 3059 ‘Brechin City’

(2) BR Class 11 - No. 12052

(3) BR Class 11 - No. 12093

(4) BR Class 20 - No. 20016

(5) BR Class 20 - No. 20081

(6) BR Class 20 - No. 2017

(7) BR Class 26 No. D5314

(8) BR Class 27 No. D5370

(9) BR Class 205 DEMU - No. 1132


Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

- Peckett 0-6-0ST - No. 2153


Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

- BR Class 37 - No. 37097


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- Peckett 1889 ‘Menelaus’

- Bagnall - 2749 (no. 6) and 2759 (no. 16)

- Hunslet - 2879 (no. 447)

- BR Class 20 - 20016

- BR Class 25 - 25072

- BR Class 25 - 25083

- BR Class 26 - D5301

- BR Class 26 - 26035



Name of Support Group:

Brechin Railway Preservation Society

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £18. Senior: £14 Junior: £6. Family: £30

Own Website:



Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Three free journeys per year, on normal services

-          Newsletter ‘Caley Lines’ issued quarterly

-          Invitation to annual Christmas party


How to Join:                                                   Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

The railway is always looking out for new members to volunteer their services in helping to operate the line between Brechin and Bridge of Dun. This help could be on a regular basis or just now and again, any help is very much appreciated. Some areas of work is of a manual basis and hence volunteers should be of reasonable fitness, other not so much, but special work will require a medical. Training will be given as required.


How to Volunteer:                                               Email


How to Donate:                                                   Send an email to the railway enquiring as to donations


WHY JOIN:  Help the Railway extend along the former main line to Dubton. The railway relies heavily on its supporters, both financially and through its volunteers.



Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Caledonian Railway Association


Model Railway Clubs:

- Dundee Model Railway Club

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