Thurso railway station

Thurso railway station is a railway station located in Thurso, in the Highland council area in the far north of Scotland. It serves the town of Thurso and its surrounding areas in the historic county of Caithness. It is also the nearest station to the port of Scrabster (about 2.2 miles (3.5 km) to the northwest), which has ferry services linking the mainland with Stromness on the Orkney Islands. It is the northernmost station on the National Rail network.


Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Theòrsa[1]
National Rail
158701 Thurso.jpg
158701 departing Thurso bound for Inverness
LocationThurso, Highland
Coordinates58°35′24″N 3°31′40″W / 58.5900°N 3.5278°W / 58.5900; -3.5278Coordinates: 58°35′24″N 3°31′40″W / 58.5900°N 3.5278°W / 58.5900; -3.5278
Grid referenceND112679
Managed byAbellio ScotRail
Other information
Station codeTHS
Original companySutherland and Caithness Railway
Pre-groupingHighland Railway
Key dates
28 July 1874Opened
2015/16Decrease 38,426
2016/17Decrease 37,322
2017/18Increase 39,174
2018/19Increase 39,974
2019/20Decrease 39,702
Listed Building – Category B
Designated28 November 1984 (amended 15 December 1998)
Reference no.Historic Scotland Building ID 42035
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road
158710 standing at Thurso bound for Wick
The station in 2020

The station is situated at the end of a short branch line off the Far North Line. It is 6 miles 50 chains (10.7 km) down the line from Georgemas Junction (the other end of the branch),[2] and 153 miles 70 chains (247.6 km) from Inverness.

Thurso station is managed by Abellio ScotRail, which also operates all trains serving the station.


The station opened on 28 July 1874.[3] A wrought-iron turntable, 45 feet (14 m) in diameter, was built at the station by the Railway Steel and Plant Company of Manchester.[4]

The station was threatened with closure in the 1960s under the Beeching Axe.

Until 2000, trains from Inverness would split in half at Georgemas Junction, with one portion going to Wick and the other to Thurso. In the age of locomotive-hauled trains prior to the introduction of diesel multiple units by British Rail, a locomotive was based at Georgemas Junction to take the Thurso portion to and from the junction. The practice of splitting trains ended when Class 158s were introduced on the line – since then all services run in full between Inverness and Wick via Thurso, in both directions.


  • James W. Mackenzie 1875[5] - 1900 (formerly station master at Garve)
  • William Douglas 1901 - 1922[6]
  • Mr. Cameron from 1922 (formerly station master at Newtonmore)
  • Mr. MacLennan until 1932
  • Mr. Mackay from 1932[7] (formerly station master at Lairg)
  • William Clyde Leggatt B.E.M. 1941 - 1946[8]
  • C. McEachern 1946 - 1949[9] (afterwards station master at Wick)
  • Alexander Hendry from 1950[10] (formerly station master at Dufftown)


There is one platform, which is long enough to accommodate a nine-carriage train.[2] The station is fully wheelchair-accessible, but it is not monitored by CCTV.[11]

The station has a ticket office, staffed between approximately 10:00 and 17:00 every day except Sundays. There are no self-service ticket machines or smartcard top-up facilities, although there are smartcard validators. Other facilities include: a free car park with 3 parking spaces, a sheltered bike stand with 10 spaces, a payphone that accepts both cash and card, waiting rooms with designated seating areas, toilets (only open during staffing hours) and a post box.[11]

There is a bus stop located directly outside the station,[11] although the majority of bus services call at the nearby Miller Academy stop, 150 metres (160 yd) to the north.


Despite being located at the end of the branch line, Thurso is not the terminus for any passenger services. Instead, trains run between Inverness and Wick; upon reaching Georgemas Junction they branch off the main route to serve Thurso, then reverse and run back to Georgemas Junction before continuing to their respective destinations. This means that all services call at Georgemas Junction station twice per trip.[12]

On weekdays and Saturdays, the station is served by eight trains per day to Georgemas Junction, of which four continue to Inverness (via Helmsdale, Golspie, Lairg, Tain and Dingwall), and four continue to Wick. On Sundays the frequency drops to just two trains per day to Georgemas Junction, of which one goes to Inverness and one to Wick.[12]

An hourly shuttle between Wick and Thurso making use of Vivarail's Class 230 Battery Multiple Units has been proposed by the Friends of the Far North line, but to this date nothing has been confirmed.[13]

Preceding station   National Rail Following station
Georgemas Junction   Abellio ScotRail
Far North Line
  Georgemas Junction
  Historical railways  
Terminus   Highland Railway
Sutherland and Caithness Railway
Thurso Branch
Line open, station closed



  1. ^ Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
  2. ^ a b Brailsford 2017, map 20E.
  3. ^ "The Sunderland and Caithness Railway". The Scotsman. British Newspaper Archive. 27 July 1874. Retrieved 14 August 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  4. ^ "The Sutherland and Caithness Railway". John o’Groat Journal. Scotland. 9 July 1874. Retrieved 15 July 2017 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Thurso". John o’Groat Journal. Scotland. 18 March 1875. Retrieved 8 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Well known native of Dowally". Dundee Evening Telegraph. Scotland. 14 October 1929. Retrieved 8 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ "RNorthern Station Agents. Changes at Thurso, Lairg and Strathpeffer". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 5 October 1932. Retrieved 8 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ "Retirement of Stationmaster". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 4 September 1946. Retrieved 8 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "Appointments for Scots Rail Agents". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 6 December 1949. Retrieved 8 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  10. ^ "Mr Alexander Hendry". Aberdeen Press and Journal. Scotland. 12 January 1950. Retrieved 8 November 2021 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  11. ^ a b c "Facilities". ScotRail. ScotRail. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  12. ^ a b GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 239
  13. ^ "The Friends of the Far North Line - Newsletter - January 2019". Retrieved 22 April 2020.


  • Brailsford, Martyn, ed. (December 2017) [1987]. Railway Track Diagrams 1: Scotland & Isle of Man (6th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. ISBN 978-0-9549866-9-8.
  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-086-0. OCLC 22311137.

External linksEdit