Bo’ness by the sea…

New territory for me today – a visit to the opening of the Manuel extension to the Bo’ness 7 Kinneil Railway in Scotland. the 7.26 from Shildon awaits departure from platform 2 unusually. Due to bridge work in Bishop Auckland, trains are temporarily terminating at Shildon.

The train north from Darlington was an East Coast 125, leading power car turned out to be “Deltic 50”, part of the naming ceremony involved presenting a nameplate the same as this to Locomotion – and it is on the wall there.

At Bo’ness, our special train was to be hauled by the unique LNER D49 class “Morayshire” no. 249, owned by the National Museum of Scotland. Here it is prepared for duty.

Guests were treated to guided tours of the Scottish Railway Collection, our guide Chris Lothian being long involved with the railway, so having a unique insight into many of the exhibits. Barclay 0-6-0T No.24 worked on the NCB Waterside system in Ayrshire and is fitted with a Giesl ejector chimney, like Florence seen at Foxfield a few weeks ago. It has just had a cosmetic restoration in the museum workshop.

North British Railway Pug (Y9 class 68095) and Neilson Reid pug “Kelton Fell” form part of the display in the second hall.

Outside, a Merry Go Round hopper wagon and log wagon portray the modern Scottish railway scene.

Back inside, equal consideration is given to a fantastic array of goods vehicles and ephemera.

A Barclay crane tank stands in front of the famous North British 0-6-0 “Maude” with its links to World War One.

In the loco shed, the Caledonian tank is under overhaul

Whilst this Sentinel from Tennent’s Foundry, Coatbridge, was one of a fleet of four which pretty much were the last working steam locomotives in Scottish industry, running well into the 1980s. In full working order, SRPS have three of them at Bo’ness.

Boarding our special train having enjoyed a fantastic lunch, we travelled to Birkhill, where, after speeches, David Morgan, Chairman of the Heritage Railways Association flagged the train into the paltform to break a ribbon and formally open the extension.

On return to Bo’ness, I was invited to ride in the cab of class 27 diesel 27 001 for a stock shunt to put the carriages away. 30 years ago there was NO railway or infrastructure here – an amazing achievement!

Even a Glasgow suburban electric unit is part of the collection, and SRPS have had it running on power. Full restoration is planned before long.

There is also a comprehensive diesel fleet – much more to see than my short notes allow or do justice to!

And the story brought bang up to date at Edinburgh Waverley, with class 67 “Keith Heller” in DBS livery working a passneger train to Aberdeen.

A wonderful day, do go to Bo’ness! Many people were welcoming today and helpful, including giving me a lift back to Linlithgow station – thank you all!

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About Anthony Coulls

Anthony is Senior Curator of Rail Vehicles at the NRM and has been an active heritage railway volunteer since 1988
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