Volunteers restoring the Royal Deeside railway to its former glory have started a fundraiser after a historic carriage was destroyed by vandals.
The 1950s-era British Rail coach was targeted in the West Lodge yard between Milton of Crathes station and Banchory.
The carriage is owned by the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society.
Volunteers from the group arrived at the station to find its double-glazed windows had been smashed with bricks and stones.
The society has rebuilt a one-mile stretch of the railway and run steam passenger services on it at weekends.
Yesterday, the group’s secretary, Bill Halliday, launched an appeal to raise the estimated £10,000 it will cost to repair the damage done by the vandals.
He said the sum was equivalent to a year’s funding for the society and the labour required to repair the carriage would only add to the organisation’s work load.
The society wants to re-establish a railway between Ballater and Crathes along the route of the Deeside line, which was first opened in 1853 but closed in 1966.
Mr Halliday said: “We have had a great deal of interest and people ringing up with sympathetic words for us.
“We are very grateful for the interest that they have shown and the support they have given us and we have now set up a carriage repair appeal.
“It is very difficult to say what the cost of the repairs is going to be. We may have to have things made for us. We have put a figure of £10,000 on it, but it could be a bit more.
“A few other carriages were also damaged. It was obviously a bit of a disappointment but we are not going to be blown down by this.”
The vandals also destroyed a train engine during the incident.
Police are still investigating the incident.
A spokeswoman said yesterday: “Inquiries are ongoing, there have been no arrests or charges but we are following a positive line of inquiry.”
Train services will be running as normal this weekend.
The carriage repair appeal can be found at www.deeside-railway.co.uk.
The group is also seeking volunteers to join its crew of 50, and people can get involved by contacting email@example.com or by visiting the Milton of Crathes station.