The Hub of the Scottish Main Lines
AT THE PLATFORM of Perth General Station. The length of the platform faces totals 7,700 ft. The greater part of the station is covered by a roof of steel and glass. At the head of the train illustrated is seen one of the efficient new Stanier 4-
EDINBURGH has the largest Scottish station -
All roads seem to lead to Perth. If the letter X is drawn, and its extremities are marked with the names of Edinburgh, Glas-
A SKETCH showing the railway importance of Perth Station, situated in the heart of Scotland at a point where the main lines converge.
In those days, even to the uninformed observer, Perth General Station was a striking place during its busiest periods, by reason of the variety of the rolling-
This variety of rolling-
This is the easy, straightforward entrance to Perth, along the fine open valley of the Earn, into which the line descends steeply from Gleneagles. Trains for Aberdeen, Inverness, and the north run into the main part of the station, but some for Dundee pass into a diverging “wing” on the east side, whence the Dundee line crosses the Tay. It follows the river all the way to its destination. The two important main lines northwards out of Perth -
The LNER, as successor to the former North British Railway, enters Perth together with the LMS line from Stirling, which it joins just beyond Moncrieff Tunnel, at Hilton Junction, two miles south of Perth. This LNER line carries the principal traffic of that company from Edinburgh (Waverley) to Perth and Inverness via the Forth Bridge and Kinross, while at Bridge of Earn, three and a half miles from Perth, it is joined by another LNE line which has come in from Ladybank Junction in Fife.
In days gone by, before the Forth Bridge was built, a journey by the North British from Edinburgh to Perth was something of an ordeal. First a local train was taken to Granton, then a ferry across the Forth to Burntisland, and finally a slow train that wandered round Fife until it reached Ladybank. Here it was divided, one part running to Dundee or Tayport and the other to Perth. To-
LEAVING PERTH. The 4.30 pm stopping train is seen here just outside the north end of the General Station bound for Aberdeen, eighty-
The LNE line, too, is perhaps the more interesting, for it takes the passenger across the Forth Bridge -
The LMS line runs through Stirling, an interesting place both to the railway enthusiast and to the historian. In the neighbour-
Another interesting point about Perth is the fact that the famous named express trains of both the LMS and the LNER can be seen together under the same roof. This is possible also at Aberdeen Joint Station and at Edinburgh (Waverley), though in the latter instance no LMS engines are seen with their train. Elsewhere it does not occur. For instance, the “Royal Scot” and the “Flying Scotsman” both travel between London and Edinburgh, but they use different stations and are at no time within sight of one another. The London termini -
But at Perth the traveller may encounter the LMS “Royal Highlander” from Euston, together with the LNER “Highlandman” from King’s Cross. In the slack season, indeed, the LNER coaches are attached to the LMS “Royal Highlander” at Perth, and worked up to Inverness as one train. But before we consider the train service through Perth, we will make a brief study of the General Station itself, for it is a building remarkable in a number of ways.
Perth General Station is laid out in a way similar to that of the Waverley Station at Edinburgh; that is to say, it consists of two distinct terminal sections placed end to end, with through lines on either side. There is similarly a modern and well-
The offices, refreshment-
The through lines on the west side accommodate all the best northbound expresses for the Highland and the Aberdeen lines, though when traffic is really heavy the northbound “Royal Highlander” has been known to run in on the eastern or “up” side, which at first sight seems a rather peculiar proceeding. From the spur platforms on the east side of the station, another local service, more or less self-
During the past few years a famous engine was often seen at the head of one or other of these local Dundee expresses. This was the ex-
Some of the LNER locomotives working the local trains into Perth from Ladybank Junction formerly belonged to the North British Railway, and are also one-
Perth General Station is sixty-
Heavy Night Traffic
Thus the LNER has a considerable advantage where the Edinburgh traffic is concerned, since the LMS has to make a detour via Larbert, avoiding the Firth of Forth. The LMS, on the other hand, monopolizes the main line traffic between Perth and Glasgow, there being no direct LNER line between these two cities. By the West Coast route, Perth is 449¾ miles from London (Euston). By the Forth Bridge and the East Coast route, the distance to London (King’s Cross) is 440¾ miles, nine miles shorter than the West Coast route in spite of the bold sweep outwards along the north-
There are no fewer than three locomotive depots adjoining the General Station, two of which belong to the LMS Railway. The first and largest is that which formerly belonged to the Caledonian Railway, situated near the point of junction with the LNE line. Here are stationed the locomotives which work over the LMS lines south of Perth, the Dundee line, the Crieff and Balquhidder line, and the Aberdeen line. Beyond the northern end of the station is the second LMS shed, originally that of the Highland Railway. The engines stabled here work exclusively to Blair Atholl, Aviemore, and Inverness. Thirdly, there is the LNER shed, at the south end again, but nearer to the station than the old Caledonian shed. This is not a very large shed. Altogether the total number of locomotives housed at Perth is fairly large. There are extensive sidings for the storage and marshalling of carriages and wagons belonging to both companies.
PERTH GENERAL STATION is to-
It is difficult to say when, exactly, Perth General Station begins its working day. One might almost say that it begins the night before. The reason for this somewhat cryptic statement is that Perth really starts the day with a night service to Inverness, a practice which has prevailed ever since the ‘eighties of the last century. Only what was then the 12.40 Parliamentary train, stopping at all stations, is now the 1.15 sleeping-
The passenger may either have a late supper in the hotel or the station dining-
During the night hours, therefore, Perth General Station is almost as full of activity as its English counterpart, Crewe. For the next fifty minutes after the arrival of the express from Glasgow, the station is filled with the noises of shunting and the roar of escaping steam, while the train is divided, the Aberdeen portion sent on to its destination, and the Highland section united with the waiting coaches in the bay platform. Eventually, two big Highland locomotives are attached to the complete train, which is now of caravan length. The Highland express puffs out into the darkness and moves away to the north. Perth’s day has begun.
After this vigorous beginning, the station quietens down tor a little while. The station reawakens, however, before the morning is far advanced. At 4.45 the up night express from Inverness to Glasgow comes in from the north, and this early morning arrival heralds considerable activity on the down side of the station as well. Round about August 12, the early morning passenger traffic northwards through Perth is astonishing. At 4.50 am the sleek crimson length of the “Royal Highlander”, which left Euston at 7.20 the night before, glides into the station. In the normal course of events, the “Royal Highlander” is divided, one half being dispatched to Inverness and the other to Aberdeen, the former section taking with it the “Highlandman”, which has come in five minutes later.
But, as we have seen, these services expand out of all recognition during the height of the season, when the station may be faced with five or so “Royal Highlanders” and perhaps two full-
STEAMING SOUTH. This express is hauled by a 4-
Some of the passengers are still asleep. Others, often accompanied by their dogs, come out on to the long platform and parade up and down, refreshed by the beautiful air which blows down from the mountains. At the head of their train, perhaps, “Gordon Highlander” is being replaced by “Brodie Castle” and “Clan Munro”. Double-
At 5.33 there arrives yet another Highland express from Euston, whence it started at 7.30 the previous night. Leaving at 6.25, this will reach Inverness at 9.50, sixty-
Turning once again to the Aberdeen line, we find the 6.13 running to Aberdeen without an intermediate stop, accomplishing the journey of eighty-
Naturally, the trains running northwards out of Perth over the Highland section are considerably slower than those running on the old Caledonian lines, for they encounter long ruling gradients in the neighbourhood of 1 in 70, which render high speeds out of the question. Mountain railways have few, if any, stretches of straight line over which an engineman can “let her go”. The 3.45 pm from Inverness to Perth covers the thirty-
It will not be possible to analyse the entire train service which passes through Perth in the round twenty-
In the old days, before the general introduction of restaurant cars, the morning stop at Perth used to be of greater significance, even, than it is now. For then it provided the “breakfast interval”. Many passengers, too, used to take in breakfast baskets there, containing hot ham-
These conditions of railway travelling have passed away for ever, though it is only comparatively recently that restaurant cars have made their appearance on the northern lines of Britain. Now that they are established, they are found, on the Highland Section of the LMS, even on the stopping trains.
A GENERAL VIEW of one of the platform bays at Perth Station. The lay-
[From part 27, published 2 August 1935]