Scottish Region of British Railways


Scottish Region of British Railways

The Scottish Region (ScR) was one of the six regions created on British Railways (BR) and consisted of ex-London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and ex-London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) lines in Scotland. It existed from the creation of BR in 1948, ceased to be an operating unit in its own right in the 1980s and was wound-up at the end of 1992.

History

World War II had seriously disrupted Scotland's railways due to the LMS and LNER rolling stock in Scotland being transferred to the major cities in Northern England in order to replace what had been destroyed by German air-raids. At the time, the Government believed that only state intervention could provide the necessary re-supplying of rolling stock and save several unprofitable routes from closure.

Following the election of the Labour government in 1945, the railways were nationalised on 1 January 1948 under the terms of the Transport Act 1947. Through the creation of the Scottish Region of British Railways, all Scotland's railways were brought under a unified system of management for the first time.

The major change to passenger services became apparent in the late 1950s, with the introduction of diesel locomotives, diesel multiple units and - most of all - the electrification of the Glasgow area local services and the introduction of the "Blue trains".

During the mid 1960s many routes were closed under the "Beeching Axe", plus some after the resignation of Dr Richard Beeching - most notoriously the Waverley Line from Edinburgh to Carlisle.

In 1975 cross-border electric Inter-City services from Glasgow Central to London Euston commenced, with the completion of the West Coast Main Line electrification project. In 1978 the Argyle Line project saw the reopening and electrification of the railway line through Glasgow Central Low Level station. The Glasgow Central to Ayr line was electrified in 1985. The one closure of this period was the Kilmacolm line in 1983.

The Edinburgh Waverley - Glasgow Queen Street service was operated by diesel multiple units from the late 1950s until 1970, when "push-pull" trains of Mark 2 carriages with a Class 27 diesel locomotive at each end were introduced. These were replaced by Class 47 locomotives and Mark 3 carriages in 1979. These were in turn replaced by Class 156 then Class 158 units in the early 1990s.

In the mid 1980s the "ScotRail" brand was introduced.

The network

The Scottish Region covered all of Scotland's railways. These would be greatly reduced in the 1960s.

Its most important stations were:

* Glasgow Central and Queen Street in Glasgow,
* Motherwell in North Lanarkshire,
* Waverley station and Haymarket in Edinburgh,
* Dumfries in Dumfriesshire,
* Aberdeen in Aberdeenshire
* Perth in Perthshire, and Dundee city,
* Stirling in Stirlingshire,
* Inverness in Inverness-shire.

The Scottish Region had boundaries with the North Eastern Region near Berwick-upon-Tweed and the London Midland Region near Gretna.

The Beeching cuts

Notable line closures in the Scottish Region during the 1960s were:

* Aviemore to Forres.
* Dunblane to Crianlarich.
* Connel Ferry to Ballachulish.
* Dumfries to Stranraer (the 'Port Road').
* Carlisle to Edinburgh (the 'Waverley Route'). A portion of this route has been approved for reconstruction by the Scottish Parliament.

Lines proposed for closure in the Beeching Report, but which escaped the axe and remain open to this day include:

* Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick and Thurso.
* Ayr to Stranraer.

Trains and rolling stock

Steam traction ended in the 1960s with the introduction of diesel trains, and 25kV electric trains on the Glasgow Suburban network. The new electric 'Blue trains' with air-assisted sliding doors, were introduced during the early 1960s and were a great success, until they were scrapped, along with the first generation diesel units, in the 1990s.

Major accidents

*Paisley Gilmour Street rail crash of 16 April 1979 - killed 7.
*Invergowrie rail crash of 22 October 1979 - killed 5.
*Polmont rail crash of 30 July 1984 - killed 13.
*Glasgow Bellgrove rail crash of 6 March 1989 - killed 2.
*Newton rail crash of 21 July 1991 - killed 4.

Privatisation

With the privatisation of British Rail, the railway infrastructure of the Scottish Region came under the Scotland Zone of Railtrack. Passenger services within Scotland were franchised to National Express, under the name "ScotRail Railways", although it was still referred to as ScotRail, the name that the BRB used in its later years of operation.

Further reading

The Ian Allan books-

*British Railways Atlas 1947.
*British Railways Atlas 1955.
*Britain's Railways Atlas 1970.

* Some newspaper articles.


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