River Dulnain Bridged

Ewan Crawford and RailScot contributors

Amongst the physical obstacles to the re-opening of the Strathspey Railway to Grantown-on-Spey, the missing bridge over the River Dulnain, by the small town of Dulnain Bridge, was one of the most difficult to overcome. The original 80 foot span lattice girder through bridge was dismantled with the line after closure between Forres and Boat of Garten in 1965.

River Dulnain Viaduct: Photograph showing the the gap between the abutments over the River Dulnain to be spanned by the former Merry Street bridge following its relocation. [Photo with kind permission of the Strathspey Railway.] John Gray 10/10/2008

The Strathspey Railway was to extend from Boat of Garten to Broomhill in 2002 and not long after the track was to reach the missing bridge. But how was this to be crossed?

River Dulnain Viaduct: Drivers eye view of the approach to the site of Dulnain Bridge on 10 October 2008. [With kind permission of the Strathspey Railway.] John Gray 10/10/2008

The large integrated Ravenscraig Steelworks in Motherwell closed in the mid 1990s. As a result a long girder bridge over Merry Street, which had connected Mossend Yard to Ravenscraig Yards Nos 1 and 3, was rendered redundant.

Merry Street Bridge: A class 08 working on the Mossend - Ravenscraig no 3 line crossing the bridge over Merry Street, Motherwell, in the 1980s. This bridge was removed in 2008 and transported by rail to the Strathspey Railway, (see old news item) where it will carry the planned extension of the line to Grantown-on-Spey over the River Dulnain.
Johnny Trippick //

Merry Street Bridge: The bridge that carried the line from Jerviston Junction (Mossend) into BSC Ravenscraig, seen spanning Merry Street, Motherwell in October 2008. The bridge has now been removed and shipped to Boat of Garten on the Strathspey Railway. It will eventually carry the SRS extension to Grantown on Spey over the River Dulnain. Mick Golightly 27/10/2008

The Merry Street bridge was dismantled and travelled north, via Inverness, to the Strathspey Railway in 2008. Although originally a double track bridge in its new life it was to become a sngle track bridge.

Findhorn Viaduct [Tomatin]: Sections of the bridge that once carried the line into Ravenscraig Steelworks over Merry Street, Motherwell, are seen crossing Findhorn Viaduct on their way north on 3 October. The bridge, donated by Network Rail, is destined to carry the Strathspey Railway across the River Dulnain as part of the extension of the line to Grantown on Spey. Mick Golightly 03/10/2008

Millburn Yard: Leaving Millburn Yard for Aviemore in October 2008, with the bridge sections that will eventually span the River Dulnain. Mick Golightly 03/10/2008

Then for some years the girders rested at Boat of Garten.

Boat of Garten: Like parts of a giant Meccano set, the numbered sections of bridge decking are stored at Boat of Garten until needed for spanning the River Dulnain. [With kind permission of the Strathspey Railway.] John Gray 10/10/2008

Boat of Garten: Part of the decking of the bridge for crossing the River Dulnain on a bogie bolster wagon in the yard at Boat of Garten on 10 October. [With kind permission of the Strathspey Railway.] John Gray 10/10/2008

Finally in 2014 the girders were placed on the abutments of the former bridge at Dulnain Bridge. Now the line could be extended on towards Grantown-on-Spey. Other physical barriers remain; the A95 crosses the line without a bridge and the former Grantown-on-Spey West station site has been redeveloped.

Broomhill Junction: Strathspey Railway Class 27 No 5394/27106 near Broomhill Junction on 13 February hauling the Colas Crane towards Broomhill. The crane will be used to lift the replacement bridge into position across the River Dulnain. John Gray 13/02/2014

Broomhill: Scene at Broomhill on 13 February, with the Colas Crane being prepared in readiness for lifting the replacement bridge into position across the River Dulnain. [See recent news item] John Gray 13/02/2014

River Dulnain Viaduct: The Colas Crane doing a test run up to the Dulnain Bridge abutment on 14 February, before lifting the first girder. John Gray 14/02/2014

River Dulnain Viaduct: The first girder is slowly eased into position at Dulnain Bridge on the Strathspey Railway on 14 February 2014. John Gray 14/02/2014

River Dulnain Viaduct: View south across the River Dulnain towards Broomhill station on 14 February 2014 as the Colas Crane approaches the bridge with the second girder. John Gray 14/02/2014