25 years ago
A Highland Railway Centenary - On 28th July, 1874, the most northerly stretch of railway in Britain, the section of the Highland Railway from Helmsdale to Wick and Thurso was opened, and the Scottish Association for Public Transport, in conjunction with the Wick Society, has arranged several special events to celebrate this anniversary.
A small booklet on the history of the line has been printed at a modest price, and an exhibition is now open in the Assembly Rooms, Wick, and will run until Saturday. This is displaying photographs, timetables, tickets and railway models. Even at this late date the organisers would be interested to hear of anyone in possession of an item which they would be willing to lend to this exhibition.
A special train has been arranged for the date of the actual date of the centenary, Sunday 28th July, which will run from Inverness to Wick and back, with stops of one hour at Dunrobin Castle. It will leave Inverness at 9.15am and there will be a 20 minute halt at Helmsdale where Mr Cobbett, general manager for British Rail (Scotland), will meet the Helmsdale railway veterans and cut a ribbon to allow the train to proceed north to the county march between Sutherland and Caithness where Lord Thurso, whose ancestors were closely associated with making the railway possible, will meet the train.
Passengers are encouraged to travel in period costume, and the two best-dressed passengers will receive free tickets.
The opening of the Helmsdale to Wick railway line 100 years ago had been marked by a special excursion from Inverness. The Sunday train trip - organised by the Wick Society and the Scottish Association for Public Transport - had set out at 9.15am and arrived at its destination at 3.10pm. It stopped for an hour at Dunrobin and for 20 minutes at Helmsdale. On board were 250 rail enthusiasts. The train was welcomed by Provost William Mowat, Wick Pipe band and a large number of spectators.