Tam's Tall Tales

- Ballater Station Devastated by Fire

Ballater Station Before the Fire
Graphic © Shaun Ferguson via Wikimedia Commons

Queen Victoria's Railway Station for Balmoral to Be Rebuilt
Royal Deeside is one of the most glorious parts of Scotland and it is a dreadful shame that its historic railway station has been devastated by a fire.

The former station at Ballater, 10 miles from Balmoral Castle (graphic here of the castle via Wikimedia Commons ), was a unique and delicate timber relic of the steam age. Opened in 1866, it was remodelled 30 years later to welcome Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

Balmoral Castle remains a favourite country retreat for the Queen and the rest of the royal family. They use it as a base for most of the summer.

A local said:."The fire brigade were on a hiding to nothing, with a high wind and wooden buildings 160 years old. It was just devastating to watch. I am born and bred in Ballater. It is so sad to see something like that, a bit of history going up in a puff of smoke."

The fire burned out of control for four hours. About 50 firemen from five stations battled through the night, and saved part of a museum on the site. They were unable to save a royal waiting room designed to host the tsar.

Fortunately some artefacts survived. A replica of Victoria's train carriage was intact (graphic shown here is © Nigel Corby via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page, along with a horse-drawn carriage on loan from Balmoral. So, too, was a figure of the queen, dressed in mourning for Prince Albert, and, beside her, still pristine in his ghillie's kilt and jacket, John Brown, her beloved manservant.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2015

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