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The Boxcar: First stage of Cults Railway Station cafe to open in Aberdeen

Manager Ian Anderson. Picture by Kenny Elrick/ DCT Media.
Manager Ian Anderson. Picture by Kenny Elrick/ DCT Media.

The first stage of a renovation project which will see the Cults Railway Station in Aberdeen operate as a cafe has now opened.

Local businessman John Mackenzie revealed in February that he and his wife Julie, who run the family business Skyline Trampoline Park and Cafe in Inverurie, would launch a new offering at the derelict space after purchasing the remaining 27-year lease from the former tenant.

Launching The Boxcar, a coffee car and yard, the venue near the Deeside Way, will serve up a range of hot and cold drinks as well as a variety of food items for takeaway.

The Boxcar. Picture by Kenny Elrick/ DCT Media.

John, who also works in the oil and gas industry, is still in the planning application stage of bringing the family’s cafe dream to life.

He said: “We started working on the site in January. This involved clearing away the old buildings and sheds left behind by the joinery form and making the building wind and watertight and safe.

John Mackenzie outside the front of Cults Railway Station which he and his wife are renovating and turning into a cafe. Picture by Chris Sumner/ DCT Media.

“The work on the outside is almost complete apart from some turf and a fence at the rear of the property which still has to be put up once the turf has been done.

“This is as far as we will go until we find out what is happening with our planning application. We are hoping it will be reviewed at the August meeting.”

Artist’s impressions of what the cafe at Cults Railway Station will look like. Supplied by Richard Dingwall Architects.


While the public awaits the council’s verdict on the space, John has converted a former shipping container into a coffee bar that will serve smoothies, milkshakes, food and more.

The takeaway venue will be open seven days a week, operating from 8am to 7pm Monday to Thursday and 8am to 8pm Friday to Sunday.

Manager Ian Anderson at The Boxcar. Picture by Kenny Elrick/ DCT Media.

He says there is plenty for customers to get their teeth into while they await the opening of the main cafe.

“The container was from Peterhead and was a former shipping container. It had to get delivered by a truck because it was so big. We have kitted it all out and have made it into something that resembles a modern commercial kitchen. It took around a month to convert it.

“At The Boxcar we will be selling premium coffee and tea, cold drinks, smoothies and milkshakes. There will be baked goods, sandwiches, paninis, salads and ice cream, too. This will be the initial offering until we get up and running and find our feet and what our customers would like to see.

A range of baked goods and hot drinks will be  on offer. Picture by Kenny Elrick/ DCT Media.

“The Boxcar is for takeaway only and there will be no seating at the moment as this is part of the overall plans for the building which we need to get approved. We haven’t done anything which would involve this as it is part of the planning application.”

Big cafe plans

With the team awaiting planning permission to progress with their cafe plans, The Station, which is what John hopes it will be called, will see the “old gem” transformed into a 100-seater venue both inside and out.

Another artist impression of the venue. Supplied by Richard Dingwall Architects.

He added: “If planning is passed for the inside of the building it would be next year that we would be looking to open as we still have warrant drawings and licensing approvals to go through. That would take another three to six months roughly if all goes to plan for August. If approved, the plan is to call the venue The Station.

“We are very excited to be opening this week. As Boxcar will operate outdoors anyone can pop by and we are most certainly dog-friendly, too.

“We’ve also launched Skyline Cycles in the workshop of the venue which is a bicycle repair and rental shop. We feel we have a great start and finish destination for locals and visitors to use and the addition of the cafe will really set us apart.”

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.

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