Introducing the Dava Line: Aviemore – Forres

Introducing the Dava Line: Aviemore – Forres

Hope the New Year finds you well, although the current global situation shows no sign of abating any time soon it has provided me the opportunity to spend more time working on various projects. One of these is a new route; The Dava Line in North East Scotland.

North from Aviemore Station, with engine shed in sight.

Built to connect Inverness to the south, the Dava Line served as the main route south until 1892 when the current Highland Mainline was built via Carrbridge. From Aviemore in the south the route passes through the wide and gentle Strathspey with glorious views of the Cairngorm mountains on the right until arriving at Grantown-on-Spey. From here the hard graft begins as the line climbs to the Dava summit, some 1046 ft high.

Broomhill Station – currently the terminus of the Strathspey Steam Railway

The moorland here is epic with vast swathes of heather that blooms a brilliant purple in summer. In winter the exposed landscape changes dramatically with deep snowdrifts notorious for stranding locomotives. Dava Station, the highest on the line, sits above this moor and provides respite before the long decent to Forres.

The Dava Moor

By the time the line has crossed over the impressive Dunphail Viaduct and it’s accompanied station the moorland has faded into green fields and farmland. The steep gradients continue as the line drops down past the Dallas Dhu distillery (now a visitor attraction) and into Forres at just 39 feet above sealevel.

Dava Station

The route certainly provides a challenge for the driver who is rewarded for their efforts by some of Scotland’s most picturesque scenery. Much effort has been made to capture the routes look and feel as accurately as possible. From track, turntables and bridges to buildings and vegetation – much of the scenery has been custom built.

Tackling the long uphill gradient from Forres to Dunphail

It has been greatly satisfying to see the route come together over the last few months and, although cosmetically close to completion, there are still some important details to implement such as accurate signalling and scenarios.

Latest progress on Forres Junction (much work still to do)

With that said, we hope to have a release candidate ready this quarter so keep a look out for more details when they are released.

Wishing you the best in 2021.

Rails Developments

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Derek Matheson

    Looking good, I used to stay with my grandparents in the station house at Grantown on Spey West, as shown in the picture on the left. My grandfather was the station master up till the line closed. Also looking forward to this release. Have enjoyed the Speyside line where my grandfather was also station master at Grantown on Spey East (along with the West station) and at Aberlour

    1. Hamish

      Fascinating Derek, he must have had many interesting stories to tell. Do you remember the line from when it was still open? Hope you will enjoy the route and it will bring back some memories.

  2. TransportSteve

    Love your Scottish routes, Hamish, truly wonderful, thank you so much for creating them for the community to enjoy.

  3. Joseph

    Looking awesome and super excited about this route. Any updates on the route?

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