Stepping onto the Strathspey Steam Train is taking a step back in time. Riding the Highland Line from Aviemore is an experience you won’t forget, as you hear the train chugging through the beautiful countryside.
The History of the Strathspey Railway
In 1978, volunteers restored 10 miles of the Highland Railway line, which is part of the original Inverness and Perth Junction Line. The train has been running along this line for the last 40 years, and is still run by volunteers who recreate a nostalgic journey.
Riding the Strathspey Railway
To ride the Highland line, you’ll have to purchase a ticket first (we went first class for lunch, which you can read about below!). There are a variety of tickets you can buy, depending your budget and the experience you’re after!
Tickets on offer include light lunches, afternoon tea, Sunday lunch and evening dining, as well as travel only options. Journeys also change depending the season – at Christmas they offer a festive afternoon tea or a mince pie special!
For the catered option, you have to start your journey at Aviemore station, but other ticket holders can join at one of the two stops along the track (Boat of Garten or Broomhill).
Tickets should be bought in advance as they sell out fast!
The journey takes approximately 40 minutes.
Where to Join the Strathspey Railway
The line starts in Aviemore and runs a 10 mile stretch of line to Broomhill Station. At the moment (due to restrictions) you can only join the train at Aviemore – however usually, you’d be able to purchase tickets to hop on at one of the other two stops (Boat of Garten and Broomhill stations!).
The train runs from Platform 3 at Aviemore Train Station.
What Stations does the Strathspey Steam Train stop at?
The steam train has two stops along the way where you can hop off and enjoy the scenery and have a nosey at the stations. At each stop you have approximately 10 minutes to have a wander along the platform.
Boat of Garten Station
The first of the stops is at Boat of Garten station. The station is covered in beautiful blooms. The station office at Boat of Garten dates back to 1904, and was designed by William Roberts.
Broomhill station is the end of the line. Here, the train pauses whilst the engine gets pulled from the front of the train to the back, ready to start its journey back along the track. Once the engine is moved, you’re welcome to hop out and enjoy Broomhill station.
Broomhill station is famous for its appearance in the BBC tv series ‘Monarch of the Glen’, as Glenbogle Station. The signs are still up at the station!
Travelling First Class with a Light Lunch
Our tickets were ‘first class’, meaning that we were in a wee compartment to ourselves. The compartments hold up to 6 people. It was such a special way to travel, having a little bit of privacy and some comfortable chairs to relax in while we journeyed.
We also had the ‘light lunch’ option with our tickets. We joined the train for the 12.45 journey. Once we were seated in our compartment, we were offered tea or coffee (I opted for apple juice), and asked our choices for lunch. The menu offered us a selection of homemade soups and sandwiches – I went for the tomato soup and the ham & mustard sandwich. Shortly after the journey started, we were served our soup and sandwich, which we munched on whilst watching the beautiful scenery out the window.
On the return journey, we decided to have a wee drink (gin & tonic for me; JD & coke for James). These weren’t included in the ticket, but I felt like if every an occasion called for a g&t, it was one of the last sunny days of September travelling on a steam train.
Watching the Strathspey Railway
There are many places you can spot the train – you can purchase a 50p ticket to watch the train at Aviemore station and get up close to it! You can also see the train on its stops at Boat of Garten and Broomhill stations.
Along the way, the train passes many houses and hotels, and residents and visitors were standing out to wave as we went by. In Aviemore itself, you can find spots along the tracks to stand and watch the train pull out of or into the station.
As the train runs through the scenic hills, you can spot it whilst walking or cycling along National Cycle Route 7 / the Speyside Way!
Have you every had a steam train ride?