11th November 2019 · ’50 Years of Scottish Railways – Part 3′

Presenter: David MacLean

Our guest on November 11th David MacLean, a retired senior signalling engineer, presented 50 years of Scottish Railways Part 3.

The History of the Highland main line from Perth to Inverness was described together with the line via Forfar to Montrose.

Scenes at Perth and its approaches included Class 26 Locomotives on snow plough duty, a Scotrail HST passing the now derelict marshalling yard south of the station and Pacific steam hauled services on the three hour expresses from Aberdeen to Glasgow.

The Forfar route featured a Class 40 farewell special and a Class 50 hauled pick up freight on the penultimate day of operations.

The signalling infrastructure on the Highland line north of Stanley Junction was shown, ranging from traditional block to the latest in cab digital, together with signalling operating centres. The route is a mix of single and double track and has recently been upgraded to eliminate many of the old boxes, some of which are listed structures.

A variety of trains featured in the picturesque landscape and stations in all weathers including the Tesco train to Inverness, the overnight sleeper service hauled by a pair of Class 73s and also passenger and engineering trains at Drumochter and Slochd summits. The line from Dingwall to Kyle of Localsh was featured with many views in the picturesque surroundings.

Both pre and post privatisation services featuring Class 26 and 37 locomotives with the occasional charter and enthusiast specials were seen. The signalling was described with the perhaps unique arrangement at Achnasheen where one person operated both boxes on the same shift. Also mailbags left at the station were collected by the rural bus and conveyed to many remote locations.

The terminus at Kyle showed changes to the harbour infrastructure over the years.

Another excellent presentation.