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Private railway stations were a logical development of the rapid growth in railway transportation during the 19th century. Whereas financiers looked to place their stations so as to balance the cost of the construction with expected revenue from the nearby populace, wealthy people utilised this new mode of transport by creating a halt solely for the use of their family, guests and staff.


The earliest recorded such halt is Crathes Station[1] in Aberdeenshire, built for Sir Robert Burnett of Leys in 1853. Such was his family's authority that even messenger trains run when Queen Victoria was in residence at Balmoral had to stop there, just in case he wanted to get on.[2] There were many such lairds,[3] although some were rather less willing to pay for their station once it was safely constructed.[citation needed] Some wealthy land-owners wanted the convenience of a bespoke station but did not want an unsightly intrusion onto their land,[4][failed verification] while others wanted their station to be seen from far and wide.[5] The practice spread to Ireland[6] and abroad: both Bermuda[7] and Austria[8] creating exclusive stations for upmarket hotels. Some such stations exist in rural Wales[9][unreliable source?] but others designed to ferry the more budget-conscious to holiday camps have disappeared[10] as increasingly such customers ventured abroad. The uses for private halts was as diverse as their appearance: to transport farm produce,[11] access a golf club,[12] a remote firing range,[13][unreliable source?] hospital[14] or an aircraft factory.[15][unreliable source?] Many took great pride in their private fiefdoms[16] and most are remembered with great affection.[citation needed]

"One of the stops on the Black Isle Railway line was a private halt opened in 1894 at Rosehaugh, near Avoch for the estate owner, Mr James Douglas Fletcher. In its early days it was a great success. The only alternatives, even for a laird, were horse, bicycles or Shanks Pony but once the motor car came into its own however, the station’s use dwindled and it eventually closed in 1951".

Elizabeth Marshall, The Black Isle-Portrait of the Past[17]

Today the term is often used jokingly for an underused station such as Emerson Park[18][unreliable source?] or mistakenly about remote highland stations,[citation needed] where it would be uneconomic to stop for the minuscule number of per annum passengers, unless requested. Many are now only remembered because of the diligent recording of railway enthusiasts[19]

See also


  1. ^ Earliest Private Halt[unreliable source?] Archived 13 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "New York Times, 11th February 1984" (PDF). The New York Times. 11 February 1894. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  3. ^ Arrangements for crossing Philorth[unreliable source?] Archived 24 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Tunnel built to hide line" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  5. ^ Flamboyant Egremont family Archived 12 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Grim cost of Private Halt in Monaghan Archived 24 February 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ ANtknEe New Poster Registered: 21 May 2006 Posts: 2. "Halt for The Bermudiana". Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ ANtknEe New Poster Registered: 21 May 2006 Posts: 2. "The Mariazellerbahn". Retrieved 31 December 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)[dead link]
  9. ^ "Welsh Halt". Festipedia. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  10. ^ Irish holiday camp private halt
  11. ^ Selsey tram farm stop Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Luffness Golf Club". Archived from the original on 6 February 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  13. ^ "Long disappeared Military Halt". 16 October 2005. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  14. ^ "Basingstoke Railway History in Maps". Christopher Tolley. 2001. For Lord Treloar, Alton. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  15. ^ Halt for De Havilands employees [dead link]
  16. ^ "Racehorse named after station". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  17. ^ Published by J.C.Protheroe,1974 ISBN 0-950065-41-2
  18. ^ "Transport thread". Retrieved 31 December 2011.
  19. ^ Photograph of former site[permanent dead link][unreliable source?][dead link]