Royal station in Ballater to be rebuilt after blaze

A firefighter attends the scene after a fire at the Old Royal Station in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. Picture: PA
A firefighter attends the scene after a fire at the Old Royal Station in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. Picture: PA
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A STATION once used by the Royal Family which was badly damaged by fire earlier this month will be rebuilt, a council has said.

The Old Royal Station in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, which housed a railway museum, restaurant, visitor centre and businesses, went up in flames on May 12.

We understand the local community is keen to see this wonderful building restored but this is the start of what will be a long process and I ask for their patience as we work to create the most appropriate plan of action going forward

Janelle Clark

Firefighters did manage to save a replica of the railway carriage used by Queen Victoria in 1869 to travel between Windsor and Ballater, which was opened by Prince Charles in 2008.

Aberdeenshire Council said it is committed to rebuilding the B-listed structure, retaining original features wherever possible.

It is meeting to discuss the proposals with Historic Scotland, which has to be consulted due to the listed status.

Janelle Clark, of Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Any plans for a rebuild of the Old Royal Station will require listed building consent to ensure the new building remains appropriate and sympathetic to its original character and we are working with colleagues in planning and with Historic Scotland to establish the next steps.

“We understand the local community is keen to see this wonderful building restored but this is the start of what will be a long process and I ask for their patience as we work to create the most appropriate plan of action going forward.”

Ballater originally became known as the nearest settlement to Balmoral Castle, which lies eight miles along the River Dee to the west.

The Deeside Railway brought the railway to the town in 1866 when a station was built there.

It was regularly used by royalty visiting the area and other guests, and it is thought many of Europe’s royalty passed through Ballater railway station in the 19th century.

The station buildings have been leased to VisitScotland for a number of years.

The council said conditional and structural surveys of the building have been carried out and an assessment is being made of what can be salvaged, while contractors have been on site to make the building safe.

Once the way forward has been agreed it is likely to take between 18-24 months to reconstruct, depending on the scope of the works.

Arrangements are being made to accommodate the museum’s undamaged display cases elsewhere temporarily, while the visitor information centre has been temporarily moved to the Cairngorm National Park Authority offices in Ballater.

An ongoing Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service investigation has yet to determine the cause of the fire.