Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
ND 02385 15482
302385, 915482


Sutherland Railway Company, 1871. 2-storey, T-plan station building with long re-entrant angle fronting platform infilled as verandah under swept roof and supported by bracketed timber posts. Whitewashed rendered rubble. Near centre entrance in platform frontage; 2- and 4-pane glazing; coped end and wallhead stacks; slate roof with projecting eaves.

SIGNAL BOX (Map Ref: ND 02360, 15519): 1894, Dutton and Company 'Type 1' signal box. Timber weather-boarding and cover-strip construction; projecting, half-gabled porch reached by timber forestair; glazed frontage with multi-pane timber glazing; decorative bargeboards. Corrugated metal roof.

FOOTBRIDGE (Map Ref: ND 02365, 15497): late 19th century, standard Highland Railway cast-iron footbridge spanning railway track; lattice balustrade.

Statement of Special Interest

Helmsdale Railway Station is a fine and well-detailed example of a North East Highland station, built for Duke of Sutherland's Railway in 1871. The northernmost railway in the UK, it is now part of the Far North line extending from Inverness to Thurso. The station building is of a similar design to that at nearby Golspie. The station, signal box and footbridge together form a significant group of historic railway buildings.

Signal boxes are a distinctive and increasingly rare building type that make a significant contribution to Scotland's diverse industrial heritage. Of more than 2000 signal boxes built across Scotland by 1948, around 150 currently survive (2013) with all pre-1948 mechanical boxes still in operation on the public network due to become obsolete by 2021. The 1894 signal box at Helmsdale is a good, early example by the English signalling manufacturer, Samuel Dutton & Company who were contracted to build all the boxes between Invergordon and Georgemas. A distinctive identifying feature of this design is the decorative moulding in the gables. Dutton's early boxes are similar in design to McKenzie and Holland's Type 3 box which was used at stations further south on the Highland Railway including Nairn, Aviemore and Boat of Garten (see separate listings). Dutton was previously an engineer with McKenzie & Holland and took a number of patents with him when he set up on his own account. As of 2013, other 'Type 1' boxes by Dutton on the Far North line include Rogart (see separate listing), Ardgay, and Forsinard.

Listed description and statutory address revised as part of Scottish Signal Box Review (2012-13).



John Hume, The Industrial Archaeology Of Scotland ii (1977), p319. The Signalling Study Group, The Signal Box - A Pictorial History and Guide To Designs (1986). Peter Kay and Derek Coe, Signalling Atlas and Signal Box Directory - Great Britain and Ireland (2010 - 3rd Edition).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 03/10/2023 11:00