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Steaming mad ... bring on the diesel rail revolution!

Published: 6 Apr 2012 08:301 comment

We turn the clock back to the start of the swinging sixties and discover that passengers were sick of steam trains, and wanted diesel to end their misery.

Steam trains may have looked elegant but they were not without their faults, as Largs passengers discovered in 1960. Picture by Ian Dalgleish.

In this week's 'Know Your News' we turn the clock back to the start of the swinging sixties and discover that passengers were sick of steam trains, and wanted diesel to end their misery.

The late night train to Largs was not popular with its passengers and strong criticism about it was made at the West Kilbride District Council meeting.

It was stated that while passengers for Ayr travelled all the way in 'luxurious diesel', passengers for the Largs section of the line had to change at Dalry, where they waited for 45 minutes in a fireless waiting room for a steam train to take them to their destinations.

When the train left Dalry 45 minutes late, the letter-writers stated that the first class carriage they entered was 'full of steam' and as it was not a corridor train, they could not change to another compartment.

District Council chairman Mrs M.A Wright blamed the arrival of diesel trains for the general deterioration of the service to Largs. She said that when she arrived at St.Enoch's station, she saw that passengers had to change at Dalry for stations for Largs, and when she enquired why, she was told the system had been in operation since diesel.

She said: "We travelled on the diesel train to Dalry, and were put on a cold platform. We went into an unattractive waiting room, where the fire had been cleaned out for the night. We huddled in the place - as many passengers had gone on to Ayr in luxurious diesel. I never saw such dejected and miserable people. A man came and told us the points were frozen and someone was trying to thaw them with a lamp.

Mrs Wright said the seats in her first class compartment were soaking with steam. When she lifted the cushions, she found that underneath was 'swimming with water'.

She added: "I think it is shocking and I feel we will get the full support for any protest we make from other places on the route."

It was decided to send an immediate protest to British Railways, and also to seek support from other stations on the route.

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