11th May 2021 · ‘The Railways of Scotland over the last ten years (2010-2020)’

Presenter: Stuart Fowler

We welcomed 61 participants to our May virtual meeting to hear Stuart Fowler talking about ‘The Railways of Scotland over the last 10 years (2010-2020)’. His full-time role has given Stuart the opportunity to roam far and wide across the Scottish network and this was reflected in the show.

There have been many dramatic changes in Scotland’s rail network including the replacement of old rolling stock and the plethora of colourful liveries, the opening of new routes, electrification, the demise of coal trains and the benefits of container traffic. Stuart split his talk into broadly four main areas. ECML including Borders Line to Tweedbank; Edinburgh to Aberdeen, Highlands – Oban and Fort William; and Stirling to Edinburgh via Falkirk and Edinburgh to Glasgow via Bathgate.

We saw a wide ranging collection of images, superbly photographed in obviously mainly scenic locations, with all the expected locos and units being depicted in their various liveries. The heritage scene was not ignored either, at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway were D49 62712 Morayshire in black livery, battery operated electric multiple unit 230002 and a fine action shot of Furness Railway 0-4-0 No. 20. RHTT, Tesco/Stobart Rail, nuclear waste, rail tours and a mail train were all displayed and a glimpse of the Falkirk Wheel at Larbert. However, it was not all plain sailing for Stuart as a shot taken at 5.30 am in the snow at Blackford indicated and his camera batteries dying because of the cold, not to mention falling waist deep into a bog! A Virgin hot air balloon made a wonderful show and with perseverance Stuart managed to get a shot of it with a Virgin train. Perfect timing.

We then finished with a fine sunset shot to conclude an excellent talk, the quality and great variety of trains and locations were superb.

Thanks, Stuart, for an excellent show, very much enjoyed by everyone present and thoroughly recommended.