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Scottish Railway Stations

Recollections of

Altnabreac

 

Recollections

1.

Jim Dunnett

Somerset, England

Thank you to Jim Dunnett, now living in Somerset, England, for sending me his memories (below) of life at Altnabreac Station, Caithness, in the far north of Scotland.

Scottish Railway Stations  -  Altnabreac  -  5 Sep 1999

   Jim wrote:

School and Home

"My first school was that at Altnabreac right next to the station.

We used to live in a railway house at Clashaig, about a mile north of Altnabreac station, just by the first over-bridge on the right of the railway. The other occupants of the semi-detached house were the Altnabreac signalman and his railway ganger father.

The house no longer stands and the whole area is now covered in bloody pines!"

Around Altnabreac

"There was another such dwelling about half a mile south of Altnabreac,  housing two railway families (as I recall) and another single dwelling a few miles past oor wee house in the Scotscalder direction.

All our groceries etc. had to come from Halkirk by train and had to be collected from the station.

Occasionally all the family would go for a weekend to Halkirk in our Austin 7 car.  I really don't know why we didn't take the train!  The road trip took hours and the roads were awful. They still haven't improved much although there is now a bus service between Altnabreac and Halkirk."

Station and Railway Workers

"I remember Sir Archibald Sinclair, the owner of the Lochdhu estate using the station.

The station would also take letters for delivery to the GPO in one of the towns

Scottish Railway Stations  -  Altnabreac  -  5 Sep 1999

In those days the station sported a passing loop, a water tank and a signal box in which I spent many happy hours with our neighbour the signalman.

We had a stationmaster, a porter and as I recall more than a few permanent way maintenance staff. One of their tasks was to patrol the railway with a sledge hammer to replace any of the missing wooden keys that were inserted between the shoe (?) and the rail.  This 'patrol' had to be done over all of the line regularly.

It being a single-track railway, we had a block token system with an automatic tablet changer for the faster trains which fascinated me and which worked very well."

Trains

"I only ever remember the Ben class locomotives; I think we had left  before the introduction of the Class 5s which replaced them.

I well remember the fish specials which used to carry herring from Wick to the south as well as very long trains of cattle wagons carrying sheep from the large agricultural auction marts in Thurso and Wick.

I only just remember the 'Jellico' passenger trains which I think were something to do with the forces movements.  Here I may be mistaken - I remember them but that may have been when I lived near Georgemas earlier.

Scottish Railway Stations  -  Georgeamus Junction  -  9 September 2005

The Jellico and the fish-trains were the fastest non-stopping trains we ever saw on that line."

Railway Trolley

"My father was a railwayman.  He drove one of these little covered 4-wheeled trolleys with a little trailer which were common on that part of the railway network, back in the days of the Ben locomotives.

They were so light that they could easily be removed from the line by the driver to let a train pass.  There were 'parking places' for these trolleys, basically very short sidings (10 feet or so of track) at right angles to the main track, but not connected to it by points or anything like that.

The trolleys were used to transport the gangs of railwaymen, their tools and spare wooden keys. They  were powered by a small petrol engine (I should think) and had a  weird mini-turntable with two rails to hold the trailer mounted on a frame."

Jim Dunnett, Somerset, England:  26 November 2005

 

Recollections

2.

Tom Brown

Scone, Perthshire, Scotland

Tom Brown replied:

Railwaymen's Cottages

"Jim Dunnett mentioned two railwaymen's cottages, half a mile south of Altnabreac Station.

My late Mother in Law was born in one of these cottages in 1911.   She  grew up, went to Altnabreac School to age 14, then went south to near St Andrews to work in service.

The family name was Munro.  Her father, Murdo Munro, was a linesman on the railway.  The family in the other cottage, I think, were called Hendry.

My wife and I have been to the cottages (Badenean, I think they were called) a few times in recent years.  We find it to be a very interesting area, and so peaceful.

Any more information on these topics would be very welcome."

Tom Brown, Scone, Perthshire, Scotland:  April 9, 2014

Reply to Tom

If you'd like to send a reply to Tom about the subjects that he mentions above, please email me, then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  April 12 2014

 

Scottish Railway Stations

Links to Photos

 

Scottish Railway Stations  -  Altnabreac  -  5 Sep 1999

Photos of Altnabreac Station

 

Thumbnail Images of Scottish Railway Stations

Photos of Scottish Railway Stations

 

 

 

Links to Other Pages

EdinPhoto - Home Page      Please send me an e-mail ...  with your questions, comments, suggestions or news.      At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.            At any time, you can search for a word  -  perhaps a photographer's name or a photographic topic.  The search will produce a list of pages on the EdinPhoto web site where this word appears.

Photographs and Other Images  -  These include portraits of photographers  -  photographic outings -  Princes Street views  -  Newhaven Fishwives  -  etc.  Early Photography in Edinburgh  -  Talbot, Brewster, Hill & Adamson, Early Professional Photographers in Princes Street, etc.  Professional Photographers in Edinburgh  -  1840 to 1940  -  Their names, dates of business and studio addresses.  The Photographic Society of Scotland  -  1856 to 1873  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, etc.  The History of Edinburgh Photographic Society  -  1861 to date  -  Lectures, Exhibitions, Outings, Poems, etc.  EPS Publications - EPS Handwritten Records  -  Photographic Journals  -  Trade Directories  -  Books  -  etc.  Thanks to all who have encouraged and supported me in creating the EdinPhoto web site  -  including descendants of photogrpahers  -  researchers  -  providers of photographs and other material  Background notes on the research thal led up to the creation of this site  -   together with lists of new material added to the site since its launch.  Brief comments on how this site might be used  -  Just browsing?  -  Seeking specific information?  Please add your questions, suggestions or other comments to the Guest Book.  Links to other web sites  -  Photographic Societies  -  Photographic History  -  Family History  -  etc.  Click here to find the link to the Edinburgh Photogrpahic Society web site.  Details of who owns the copyright of photographs and other mateiral on this web site.

A selection of my photographs, many from Edinburgh throughout the year.   Also photos from Scotland, London, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong and elsewhere    Many old maps of Edinburgh (Old Town, New Town, while City), Leith and Newhaven.  Includes several old transport maps and a comparison of old maps with recent aerial photos.   Old engravings, mailly of Edinburgh scenes.  Some from the 1820s, some from the 1890s,  some others - includes many hand-coloured examples from the 1820s.   News from Edinburgh today  -  Events, Collections, Buildings and Gardens, Transport   This site includes     1. Post card portraits taken in studios in Edinburgh:    2. Post card views either takeen/published by Ediburgh photographers or views of Edinburgh, or both.y Edinburgh    Views of Edinburgh, grouped into three sections:     1. Street views:    2. Buildings:    3. Around Edinburgh   Views of transport around Edinburgh  -  Horse drawn trams and buses, cable cars, electric trams, buses and a few railway photos.  Also several maps of Edinburgh's bus and tram routes.   Summary of the updates added to this site each month since the site was launched   Frequently Asked Questions

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