-mile (174.2 km) route, which needed few major engineering works, followed the River Don to Inverurie, via Huntly and Keith to a crossing of the River Spey, and then to Elgin and along the coast via Nairn to Inverness.Branch lines to Banff, Portsoy, Garmouth and Burghead would total miles (49.1 km).

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The railway opened short of rolling stock as only half of the twelve locomotives and twenty-four of forty passenger carriages ordered had arrived.

The carriage builders, Brown, Marshall & Co of Birmingham, stated that based on their experience they had expected the line to open at least two months late.

The new company changed its name to Inverness & Aberdeen Junction Railway, but no final undertaking on running rights was made.-mile (20.1 km) extension of the Great North to Keith was opened on 10 October 1856, with two intermediate stations at Rothiemay and Grange.

Initially five services a day ran between Aberdeen and Keith, taking between 2 hours 40 minutes and 3 hours 5 minutes, although the number of services was later reduced to four.

The Great North of Scotland Railway Act received Royal Assent on 26 June 1846.

In the aftermath of the railway mania railway companies became an unpopular investment and the necessary finance could not be raised.In 1923, it became part of the London and North Eastern Railway as its Northern Scottish area, passing on miles (536.7 km) of line and 122 steam locomotives, most of them 4-4-0 tender locomotives.Although the railway had several branches, its remoteness has resulted in only its main line remaining today as part of the Aberdeen to Inverness Line.The Aberdeen Railway (AR) opened from the south to Ferryhill, south of Aberdeen, in April 1850.It had been previously arranged that the Aberdeen and Great North would amalgamate, but this was annulled that year and the Aberdeen was seeking alliances with railways to the south.-mile (2.8 km) branch that followed the Aberdeenshire Canal from Kittybrewster to a terminus at Waterloo by the docks.The railway operated its main line between Aberdeen and Keith and two routes west to Elgin, connections could be made at both Keith and Elgin for Highland Railway services to Inverness.