ONE of the first press photographers on the scene of the horrific Largs railway crash has recalled the devastating scenes on the tragedy's 25th anniversary.

George Munro, who is the award-winning photographer at the Greenock Telegraph, told how he was stunned by the 'unforgettable horror' he was met with as he arrived in the town.

The accident, which saw a train crash through two shops before coming to a shuddering halt on Main Street, miraculously resulted in no fatalities and only minor injuries.

George said: "There was a stream of emergency vehicles heading down the coast to Largs and I realised quite quickly it was something major.

"We had heard it was possibly a train crash but we didn't know for certain. When I arrived I was confronted with an astonishing scene which I will never forget.

"It was hard to take in at first. The train was in the middle of the road having crashed through the shops. Emergency services were pulling away at the stonework.

"I climbed up on to the roof of a coffee shop to get an elevated view down on the scene. There was just sheer devastation, with masonry and all sorts of debris across the road. It was as if a bomb had gone off and had destroyed most of the immediate area around the railway station.

"Folk on their way to work were standing around in disbelief looking at the wreckage. I remember there were a team of firemen climbing over the wreckage to get into the train.

"It was just a scene of complete carnage with rubble, girders and glass strewn everywhere."

George said that he believed it was a miracle that nobody was seriously hurt.

He added: "I remember looking through the window of the ticket office and seeing the train wreck, which was one of the most bizarre sights

"It had missed the ticket office doors by a couple of feet, but the runaway train had taken the girders and street signs with it. It was fairly overwhelming and I knew pictorially it was going to be one of the most sought after pictures I was ever going to take."

George's photos went all around the world, featuring on the BBC and in newspapers as far afield as America and Australia.

He added: "If it happened a bit later in the day when the station was busier, we could have been facing a major tragedy, but thankfully there were no fatalities.

"We were lucky we were alerted to it early on and I was the first press photographer from outside the local area to attend before all the national press, tv and radio arrived at the scene.

"I remember it was just a procession of blue lights heading from Greenock down to Largs and having to regularly pull over to let the emergency traffic through, I wondered what we were going to witness.

"I remember chatting to the editor - it may well have been on an early mobile phone - and he was asking me how dramatic it looked - and I said 'very'.

"You can't beat a story which is ultra dramatic yet nobody has lost their lives. You can't beat a story like that - it was miraculous."

The accident involve the 6.15am train from Glasgow Central, which blazed through the buffers at 7.15am on Tuesday July 11 1995.

Only five people were injured, including driver David Robertson, and a crane had to be brought in to lift the front section of the train away.

The driver was praised for his quick thinking after running through the carriages warning everybody to move away from the front of the train when he realised it wasn't going to stop.

A replacement ticket office, which still exists today, was built at the site in 2002.