Dalmunzie Hotel Railway -- information requested

Calthrop

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In pursuance of a different train of thought, there came to my mind the narrow-gauge Dalmunzie Hotel Railway -- near Spittal of Glenshee, Scotland -- of which I was aware that it existed, or had done so; but very little more. Resorting to Google furnished a small amount of information, but less than hoped. I register that the line was essentially created (inaugurated in the 1920s) to convey shooting parties between "base" -- the hotel -- and the moors; and that some decades later, it ceased to carry out that function. There is however some material which would suggest that at least part of the line stayed active until decidedly recent years -- quite smartly equipped and turned-out -- just "for the fun of the ride"; but it would appear if I understand rightly, that the whole thing is now no more.

I would be most grateful to anyone who might be able and willing to supplement my above-set-out very meagre total knowledge, about this railway. (Attempted use of this site's search facility, entering the word "Dalmunzie", yielded nothing.)
 
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Steamysandy

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I worked for a number of years with a guy who was a bit of an eccentric.Craig had what would now probably be described as Autism.
However he had a kinda side interest in obscure railways and the Dalmunzie Hotel Line came into that category.
I believe it was built by the Motor Rail company and had a small diesel loco .I can't remember the full details but it runs in my head that an item about it appeared in a vintage Railway Magazine.
My connection with Craig was more than Forty Years ago but he was a larger than life character.
Since writing the above I checked and it's the Da!munzie Castle Hotel and in the images of the Google entry are some shots of the railway rolling stock-.
A full account is on the Google site as Dalmunzie Castle Railway.
The Estate was sold in 2015 and the line was withdrawn thereafter with the rolling stock- being returned to the manufacturer.
Hope this is of use
 
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pdeaves

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the line was essentially created (inaugurated in the 1920s) to convey shooting parties between "base" -- the hotel -- and the moors
According to Michael Quick's chronology of passenger stations:
line from Dalmunzie Lodge, in the Highlands of Scotland, for deer hunting; 2’ 6” line laid out 1920 for Sir Archilbald Birkmyre;
by time of RM January 1934 was in hotel use for guests. Ran to Glenochsie Lodge; closed April 1978.
So, not much information, but maybe a little more then you already had.
 

Steamysandy

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It's a very obscure line.If it hadn't been for Craig in the late 1960s,I would never have heard of it.
It was in a location ,a fair distance from the nearest main line railways ( Blairgowrie and Ballater) so I would say it wasn't on the radar of most enthusiasts and by it's very nature ,a true hidden gem
 

47271

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I'd heard of this railway but have no knowledge of it despite being very familiar with Glenshee.

The thread has prompted me to check, and its route is very clearly marked in detail as 'dismantled railway' on both the 1:50k and 1:25k OS maps covering the area.
 

randyrippley

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https://www.my-place.org.uk/hike/dalmunzie-railway/
just found this dating from 2016, posted by a chap who walked the route. The line was clearly closed, but he said:
At the time of my visit I was informed by hotel staff that the locomotives and coaches were no longer on site, they had previously been reported as present. However, a month later another visitor to the hotel was shown them at Glenlochsie Farm. So it would seem that I was misinformed.

At the time of my visit, the only sign of the railway in the immediate vicinity of the hotel buildings is an old length of rail embedded in the ground. There were some wagon chassis, sleepers and old rails on the edge of the hotel grounds, while occasional sleepers and lengths of rail were visible periodically along the route.

The track bed is clear for the entire length of the line and it can be walked with relative ease, although there are some trip hazards on the upper part of the line, which was also quite boggy in places. Good footware is recommended.
 

Steamysandy

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Much of the Google site has a local area account of the various Estates in the area obviously written by someone who lived in the area and published by the community council.Its dated January 2016.
 

FQTV

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Crikey; I’ve just realised that I did some work at Dalmunzie about twenty years ago, and had no idea about the railway.

Thanks for bringing it up.
 

Calthrop

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Thanks, to all posters. Interesting, just how little-known this line -- although amongst such scenic splendours -- appears to be. I suspect that I first learned of it in one of the rail-hobby magazines; long enough ago, for details to have been forgotten.
 

Journeyman

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Thanks, to all posters. Interesting, just how little-known this line -- although amongst such scenic splendours -- appears to be. I suspect that I first learned of it in one of the rail-hobby magazines; long enough ago, for details to have been forgotten.
Given that I have a very specific interest in very obscure railways, I'd never heard of this one before, suggesting it's had very little coverage anywhere. I'm tempted to go and have a look at the remains.
 

John Webb

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The Geograph website has some photos of the remains and of the line in operation (click on pictures below to go to the larger originals):
Railway bridge over Allt a' Choire Bhric

© Copyright Rob Burke and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Remains of tramway to Glenlochsie Lodge

© Copyright Ali Ogden and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

And taken 53 years ago:
The train on the Glenshee Railway approaching a bridge

© Copyright Elliott Simpson and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
 

Carron

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I've walked the line of the Dalmunzie railway from Dalmunzie House up to Glenlochsie Lodge and last Christmas received a copy of the book The Dalmunzie Railway by Roderick Dingwall (Stenlake Publishing). You'll find it on Amazon. It is a comprehensive history with lots of photos. When I last visited, loco Dalmunzie and two carriages were stored in a shed to the rear of Dalmunzie House, now a hotel.

The Motor Rail built engine Dalmunzie.JPG

Carriages sit in a shed at Dalmunzie House.JPG
 

Calthrop

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Have taken a look in Tony Dewick's Complete Atlas of Railway Station Names, which I've discovered in the past year or so (recommended by a poster on these Forums). The Complete Atlas does its best to include, pretty much, "all the railways there have ever been in Britain"; but rather quirkily, and with seemingly a fairish amount of errors and omissions. It does indeed show the Dalmunzie Hotel Railway in its splendid isolation: by a ruler-straight line covering the short distance between Dalmunzie Lodge and Glenlochsie Lodge; both marked "(private)".
 

WesternLancer

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I was browsing through a copy of the Friends of the NRM quarterly journal from 2018 the other day and chanced upon a review of this book on the subject which would seem to be the go to written source on the topic:

ISBN: 9781840337723
https://rail-books.co.uk/products/the-dalmunzie-railway-9781840337723

It was complete co-incidence that I had been reading this thread a week or so before I saw this review.
 

Tony2

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I'd done a lot of research on this railway for a Trainz simulator recreation a few years ago. The line used two named Simplex locos, sometimes double headed.

the 'zig-zag' switchback was an interesting feature to gain height and meant the train had to reverse twice on it's journey.

The book mentioned above by Roderick Dingwall is available here in downloadable format which has lots of information and is well worth a read:

https://www.mountblairarchive.org/c...d/places/dalmunzie-places/dalmunzie-railway-3
 

WesternLancer

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I was browsing through a copy of the Friends of the NRM quarterly journal from 2018 the other day and chanced upon a review of this book on the subject which would seem to be the go to written source on the topic:

ISBN: 9781840337723
https://rail-books.co.uk/products/the-dalmunzie-railway-9781840337723

It was complete co-incidence that I had been reading this thread a week or so before I saw this review.
From said review, by Frank Paterson, in his overview of the book:

"In 1920 Sir Arhibald Birkmyre a jute manufacturer with factories in India, bought the Dalmunzie Estate.....His engineer, Percival Rose, had worked for him in India and used his knowledge of the Darjeeling Railway to create a 2'6" gauge replica. It took 8 local men 2 years to lay the 2.5 miles of track over the rugged mountainous terrain. Most of the materials were sourced locally and over 2,500 concrete sleepers were cast on site. There was even a switchback section with a 1-12 gradient and 2 simplex bhp petrol driven locos provided the motive power. The prime use was to convey grouse shooting parties and stag stalking guests to the heart of the Cairngorm foothills. The railway ceased operating in 1978 and for ten years the surviving locomotive 'Dalmunzie' was on display at the Hunday Tractor Museum near Stockton on Tees."

The book is given a good review: "readable style, good selection of old photographs of equipment and people."
 

Bald Rick

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I walked up the trackbed from the hotel in 2011 on my way up Glas Tulaichean. There was the odd sleeper or rail, but it had clearly been out of use for some time.

As an aside, Glas Tulaichean is just about the easiest Munro to walk up; after the railway peters out it turns into a 4x4 track right to the top.
 

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