The Old Royal Railway Station at Ballater has been destroyed by fire.

It was opened in 1866 by the Great North of Scotland Railway. It was made famous by Queen Victoria, when she used it to visit Balmoral, and a royal waiting room was built for her in 1886.  Beeching wielded his axe here, and the station closed in 1966.  But Visit Scotland brought the Council-owned buildings back to life, with Prince Charles and the Duchess of Rothesay opening the museum in 2008.

Sadly, 2015 has to be added to the list of memorable dates.  About 50 firefighters with 10 fire engines and special appliances battled through the night on Monday but were unable to save 90% of the building. It may be possible to salvage some of the contents. Thankfully the replica Victorian railway carriage was not badly damaged.

Visit Scotland’s regional director, Philip Smith said: “The building has been very badly damaged and the restaurant appears to be all but destroyed.  The visitor information centre is badly damaged and while the royal carriage in the museum seems to have survived, the museum has been badly damaged.  Once the fire service were made aware of the museum’s contents they did their best to save it.”

Aberdeenshire Council are working with Visit Scotland to find a suitable alternative venue for the tourist office whilst the future of the Old Royal Station is decided.