Ballater's Old Royal Station, risen from the ashes, reopens and helps bolster Royal Deeside visitor offering

Ballater’s Old Royal Station will be officially opened to the public next week, when Aberdeenshire Provost Bill Howatson cuts a ribbon to mark the completion of the revamped building.

The B-listed station, historically used by Royals travelling by train to their home at nearby Balmoral Castle, was destroyed by fire in May 2015 and has been rebuilt by Aberdeenshire Council.
Popular with visitors to the Royal Deeside area, there has been anticipation in the town ahead of the opening and the chance to see what is on offer.

Provost Howatson will officially open the rebuilt station to the public in an official ceremony on Monday morning, hot on the heels of the town's Victoria Week celebrations.

He will cut the ribbon on the finished facility, to mark its opening to the public and its reestablishment as a major draw for visitors.

He will be joined by key Aberdeenshire councillors and officials and importantly, by members of the local community who have been involved in and supportive of the project.

Following completion of building works, fit-out took place in July, with the project team working hard to ensure the facility is open during the summer season.

A mix of public uses occupies the recreated station building – a VisitScotland information centre, a restaurant and tearoom run by The Prince's Foundation and an Aberdeenshire Council public library – as well as the Royal waiting room and carriage. 

There is also a new space extending along the old platform and over the tracks where the Royal carriage sits, taking the form of railway sheds, mixing Royal heritage with local history.
The Royal Waiting Room interior has been carefully repaired by specialists to ensure the quality is equal to that lost in the fire. As part of the repair and conservation work as much of the original fabric is being retained as far as possible.
External works to form Station Square have been complete for some time and it is open to traffic, also forming a destination point for the Deeside Way.

Speaking ahead of the event, Provost Howatson said: “I know the community is very much looking forward to the reopening of the station and I'm personally happy to be involved in the culmination of such an important project for the area, which has involved a lot of hard work by a large number of people.

"Once again visitors to Ballater will be able to experience this important part of the town's Royal heritage and history, in surroundings which are arguably improved on what went before the devastating fire back in 2015.

"I've already had a glimpse inside the building while works progressed – the restoration is very sympathetic and there's a very high standard of workmanship. I hope the community is proud of what is the result of a lot of hard work and enjoys the results for many years to come.

"I have to thank Historic Environment Scotland and the Cairngorms National Park Authority for their input, and I know our partners at Aberdeenshire Libraries, VisitScotland and The Prince's Foundation are very much looking forward to contributing to community life, as well as welcoming the wide range of visitors drawn to this beautiful part of the world."

Ballater Old Royal Station will be open to the public from 11am on Monday, August 20.