New rôle for old railway building
A north heritage society has its sights set on restoring a historic station building on the former rail link between Wick and Lybster.
The ticket office and waiting room building, and goods shed, at Thrumster is one of the few surviving examples of its kind in the country.
It became redundant when the 13-mile stretch of line was axed towards the end of World War II but remained in use variously as shop, store and post office. It is owned by local garage proprietor Kenny Stewart, who till recently used it as a store.
Mr Stewart was delighted when he was approached by the Wick Society earlier this year about plans to restore the 30 ft long wooden building. The society has begun work, with chairman lain Sutherland spending part of Boxing Day on the renovation.
He said: "We're lucky that it's survived relatively unscathed and looks just about the same as it did when it was a working station. There are bits of wood that are rotten and need replacing and panels that need bracing, but overall it's in surprisingly good condition."
While stripping out wooden panels, Mr Sutherland was delighted to find an invoice from August 1943 relating to a delivery of tobacco sent to Wick from the former Buchanan Street station in Glasgow. The tobacco was bound for the NAAFI base at nearby Tannach.
Mr Sutherland said there are precious few surviving examples in Britain of the Victorian-style construction at Thrumster. He and his colleagues hope to have it fully restored by July when it is due to reopen as an information kiosk.