The railway line to Hopeman opened on 10 October 1892 and it was an extension of the spur from Alves to Burghead off the main Aberdeen to Inverness line. The original spur to Burghead ran down to an end terminal at the harbour, however when the Hopeman extension was constructed a new passenger station was built in Burghead allowing the line to head east along the coast towards Cummingston and Hopeman. This new line section included various bridges, a station at Hopeman and Cummingston, and a siding next to Greenbrae quarry where wagons were left to be loaded with stone from the quarry. The stone built wall of this siding is still visible next to what is now a coastal walkway and up until the 1960s there was a wooden stiff-leg crane on this siding to assist loading. During its earlier years, the railway was the main mode of transport out of the village and had a passenger service from 1892 to 1931, continuing with goods traffic through to 30 December 1957 when the railway finally closed and the track removed.
When entering Hopeman the rail track ran under the bridge at the west side and entered what is now the caravan park before splitting into two tracks with one heading towards the railway station for the passenger service and the other to a siding on the north side for cargo. During the early years there would have been a considerable amount of fish being transported by the fish curers in Hopeman to markets down south along with produce from local farmers, cargo from local industry and transhipping goods from the schooners that traded to Hopeman. In its last years during the 1950s this area was called the ‘Lorriemans’ and only used to deliver coal to Hopeman and to load sugar beet for the sugar beet factory in Cooper, Fife. Old plans from the 1800s show that there was a proposal for this section of track to continue in a curve towards the harbour. The passenger section of track ran towards the station and again split into two lines prior to its arrival at the station. These two tracks can still be seen from Harbour Street if the earth is cleared. Following closure of the Burghead to Hopeman section in 1957, the railway line was removed and with coastal erosion over the following years sections of its path, along with embankments have now disappeared in places.
It was a popular pastime for children to wait on the bridge (next to the caravan site) for the old steam train to arrive and put halfpennies on the track that would be squeezed to the size of a penny when the train rolled over them. The shopkeepers did not bite !! It was also a common for youngsters to try and drop a small stone down the smoking chimney and today that would certainly be frowned upon.
GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHS