NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Royal station in Ballater destroyed by fire

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Media captionA drone has captured dramatic footage of the extent of the damage caused by a fire which destroyed a historic building on Royal Deeside.

A historic building on Royal Deeside has been destroyed by fire.

About 50 firefighters were called to the Old Royal Station in Ballater just before 02:00.

The fire was brought under control, but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said 90% of the building, which includes a shop, restaurant and a museum had been destroyed. No-one was injured.

Firefighters did manage to save a replica of a Royal carriage.

The replica is of a carriage which took Queen Victoria to Scotland in 1869.

It had been painstakingly hand-crafted to match the original design after being commissioned by VisitScotland at the suggestion of Prince Charles.

Image copyright Leelah Hutcheon
Image caption The replica of the Royal carriage was saved by firefighters

Clarence House said Prince Charles had been informed of the fire.

The A93 between Ballater and Braemar was closed during the firefighting operation but later re-opened.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service group manager John Morgan said: "When firefighters arrived they were faced with a well-developed fire which was affecting the building a roof space. Our main aim was to stop the fire spreading to adjacent properties which we were able to do.

"Although the restaurant has largely been destroyed we were able to save a good bit of the museum.

"The crews worked exceptionally hard in arduous, dangerous conditions and managed to save the carriage."

Image copyright Sarah Wilson

The original carriage is kept at the National Railway Museum in York.

Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.

The station was opened in October 1866 by the Great North of Scotland Railway and was the nearest station to Balmoral Castle so contained Queen Victoria's waiting room. It closed in February 1966.

Image copyright Sarah Clements
Image copyright Leelah Hutcheon
Image copyright Leelah Hutcheon
Image copyright Google
Image copyright Sarah Wilson
Image copyright Sarah Wilson
Image copyright Sarah Clements
Image copyright Sarah Clements
Image copyright Jon Cobb

Local councillor Geva Blackett said: "This is shocking news and my heart goes out to the businesses destroyed. Thank goodness no-one has been hurt.

"I am meeting with Aberdeenshire Council's chief executive Jim Savege on Friday and this will be high on the agenda as this council-owned building is at the heart of Ballater's economic and tourism activity and the repercussions will be felt throughout the area."

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