Trainspotting …

The Irvine Welsh book title is derived from a scene where two of the main characters, Begbie and Renton, meet an old drunk in the disused Leith Central Station which they are using as a toilet. The drunk asks the two boys if they are “trainspotting”. I guess this is meant to be amusing on several levels, the prime one being that that there are no trains. The station closed to passenger traffic in 1952 and although it was retained as a diesel maintenance depot, this too ceased in 1972. The station has been demolished but the frontage retained. These sorts of facts appeal to an ex-trainspotter. I have never got beyond the first twenty minutes of the film and have never felt inclined to read the book – not so much a soap opera, more a dope opera.  I mention this only because I have found myself hanging around Mallaig station waiting for steam trains to arrive these last couple of days. It takes me back.

A trip to the local Heritage Centre provided some more appealing facts. The station was originally much grander. The platforms were covered, a turntable was located in a siding, roughly on the site of the current seashore car park and, a separate line used to run down to the quay to enable loading direct from the fishing boats. Without the turntable, the Jacobite must swap ends at Mallaig and reverse back to Fort William.

Mallaig still thrives but it has much less to do with fish. There is a constant supply of through traffic/people on the ferries to/from Skye and twice a day in the summer, the steam trains disgorge carriage loads of visitors. This must work wonders for the local traders, at least in the summer months:

K1 Class Locomotive 62005

62005 swapping ends at Mallaig

Black 5 45212 arriving at Mallaig

A mixed-traffic locomotive designed by Sir William Stanier in 1934

Keeping a clean machine

Black 5’s, as they were known by enthusiasts, totalled 842 by the time the last was built in 1951.

45212 about to swap ends

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

The sea! The sea!  The open sea!
The blue, the fresh, the ever free!
Without a mark, without a bound,
It runneth the earth’s wide regions round.
It plays with the clouds, it mocks the sky,
Or like a cradled creature lies

The first verse from the poem “The Sea” by Bryan Waller Procter (pseud. Barry Cornwall: 1787 – 1874) reproduced in Edmund Clarence Stedman’s A Victorian Anthology (McCullin, 1990)

Over the sea to Skye – aboard the Mallaig to Armadale ferry:

The Sea

The Sea

Another image from the same trip, this time from land.  The picture was taken the evening before; it is the view from Traigh Golf Club car park across a firey sea to the Inner Hebrides:

The sea

(click on images to enlarge)