Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Early Reminiscences of the Black Isle Railway, by John Mackenzie (3 of 3)
EXTERNAL ID
PC_JOHN_MACKENZIE_A2
PLACENAME
Fortrose
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
ROSS: Rosemarkie
PERIOD
1930s
SOURCE
John Mackenzie
ASSET ID
29168
KEYWORDS
trains
steam trains
locomotives
Early Reminiscences of the Black Isle Railway, by John Mackenzie (3 of 3)

This photograph is of John Mackenzie as a young boy. John's father was one of the two Passed Firemen on the Black Isle Railway branch at Fortrose. At the time this photo was taken (1930s) John was living at Railway Terrace, Fortrose. In the text below, John remembers life on the Black Isle Railway. (Part 3)

'Thinking of evening specials, I remember standing on the platform talking to Charlie Taylor, while Dad was coupling the engine to the passenger train prior to making the last scheduled return trip of the day to Muir of Ord. He asked me if I would like a run on the footplate to Muir of Ord that evening, as a special train of potatoes had to be taken to 'The Muir', as Muir of Ord was known locally. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to go. Dad said that as long as Mam agreed, and all homework was done, I could go.

The loco was Loch Naver and there was a pretty heavy train to get up the hill out of Fortrose. Apart from the thrill of being on an engine which was working hard, and watching what was going on, my abiding two memories of the trip are of a hare which got between the rails in front of the engine and ran for miles, before it finally got enough time and space to jump clear with safety, and of my first visit to a signal box, which was the north box at Muir of Ord. I remember a tank engine passing through Muir of Ord travelling towards Inverness, and when a bell rang in the box, being told that the tank engine was now at Beauly. I was surprised at the apparent speed of that tank engine as, to me, at that age, Beauly was far away from Muir of Ord. We returned to Fortrose with a train of empty vans for the next special!

On another occasion my father had said to me that if I was at Fortrose Station when the afternoon passenger train arrived, I would get a run on a new engine which would be on that train. For a nine year old this was a great thrill. I was there in good time, before half past four. Alas, the train didn't arrive until after six o'clock, well after dark. Word came on the telegraph that the loco had had a mishap at Muir of Ord, but that all was now fixed and the train was on its way. It turned out that the loco was being driven towards the turntable at Muir of Ord, the turntable was out of alignment, and the leading pony dropped over the edge of the pit. The engine did not last long on the branch!

The loco in question was a 2MT Stanier 2-6-2 tank which had a three figure number painted on the bunker sides. I cannot now remember the number, but I'm sure it contained the figures 9 and 6. About a year later, there was a photograph in a newspaper showing the same loco, derailed and lying on its side in France!

In September 1940, Dad was moved back to Inverness as a driver. He had to arrange housing and schools etc., for the three of us. This took a bit of time, even though he had contacts in the big town; he was, after all, a native of Inverness. Eventually, in October, the move was made. A van was dropped off on the turntable road, just outside the front gate of No. 2 Railway Terrace, before the morning passenger train left. With the help of station staff (Dad was in Inverness), the van was loaded with all our worldly goods, and when the train returned, was shunted across the turntable while the loco was being turned and then coupled to the rear of the next train for The Muir.

At Muir of Ord, the van at Dad's insistence was coupled to the rear of 'The Wicker' for the rest of the journey to Inverness. This move meant that when the train reversed into platform 1 at Inverness, the van was readily accessible for unloading onto a Wordie's horse-drawn lorry for the final delivery.'

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Early Reminiscences of the Black Isle Railway, by John Mackenzie (3 of 3)

ROSS: Rosemarkie

1930s

trains; steam trains; locomotives;

John Mackenzie

This photograph is of John Mackenzie as a young boy. John's father was one of the two Passed Firemen on the Black Isle Railway branch at Fortrose. At the time this photo was taken (1930s) John was living at Railway Terrace, Fortrose. In the text below, John remembers life on the Black Isle Railway. (Part 3)<br /> <br /> 'Thinking of evening specials, I remember standing on the platform talking to Charlie Taylor, while Dad was coupling the engine to the passenger train prior to making the last scheduled return trip of the day to Muir of Ord. He asked me if I would like a run on the footplate to Muir of Ord that evening, as a special train of potatoes had to be taken to 'The Muir', as Muir of Ord was known locally. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to go. Dad said that as long as Mam agreed, and all homework was done, I could go.<br /> <br /> The loco was Loch Naver and there was a pretty heavy train to get up the hill out of Fortrose. Apart from the thrill of being on an engine which was working hard, and watching what was going on, my abiding two memories of the trip are of a hare which got between the rails in front of the engine and ran for miles, before it finally got enough time and space to jump clear with safety, and of my first visit to a signal box, which was the north box at Muir of Ord. I remember a tank engine passing through Muir of Ord travelling towards Inverness, and when a bell rang in the box, being told that the tank engine was now at Beauly. I was surprised at the apparent speed of that tank engine as, to me, at that age, Beauly was far away from Muir of Ord. We returned to Fortrose with a train of empty vans for the next special!<br /> <br /> On another occasion my father had said to me that if I was at Fortrose Station when the afternoon passenger train arrived, I would get a run on a new engine which would be on that train. For a nine year old this was a great thrill. I was there in good time, before half past four. Alas, the train didn't arrive until after six o'clock, well after dark. Word came on the telegraph that the loco had had a mishap at Muir of Ord, but that all was now fixed and the train was on its way. It turned out that the loco was being driven towards the turntable at Muir of Ord, the turntable was out of alignment, and the leading pony dropped over the edge of the pit. The engine did not last long on the branch!<br /> <br /> The loco in question was a 2MT Stanier 2-6-2 tank which had a three figure number painted on the bunker sides. I cannot now remember the number, but I'm sure it contained the figures 9 and 6. About a year later, there was a photograph in a newspaper showing the same loco, derailed and lying on its side in France!<br /> <br /> In September 1940, Dad was moved back to Inverness as a driver. He had to arrange housing and schools etc., for the three of us. This took a bit of time, even though he had contacts in the big town; he was, after all, a native of Inverness. Eventually, in October, the move was made. A van was dropped off on the turntable road, just outside the front gate of No. 2 Railway Terrace, before the morning passenger train left. With the help of station staff (Dad was in Inverness), the van was loaded with all our worldly goods, and when the train returned, was shunted across the turntable while the loco was being turned and then coupled to the rear of the next train for The Muir.<br /> <br /> At Muir of Ord, the van at Dad's insistence was coupled to the rear of 'The Wicker' for the rest of the journey to Inverness. This move meant that when the train reversed into platform 1 at Inverness, the van was readily accessible for unloading onto a Wordie's horse-drawn lorry for the final delivery.'