MEMORIES OF THE TAY BRIDGE CENTENARY – 20 June 1987

One of my happiest memories as a member of the NRM Locomotive Support Crew is of a trip with 4771 Green Arrow of the celebration of the Tay Bridge Centenary in June 1987. I should perhaps first point out that this was the anniversary of the opening of the second Tay Bridge, which still survives today and not its predecessor, which dramatically collapsed some eight years earlier.

The locomotive was prepared for an early start on Friday 19 July by the Support Crew, consisting of engineers Kim Malyon, Pete Pickering and Adrian Ashby, with a locomotive support crew of Rob Tibbits, Pete James, Helen Ashby and Mike Blakemore. The Responsible Officers for the weekend were John Bellwood, who was already rather unwell at that time, and Ray Towell.


It was an early start as we were off the shed at York, leaving at 06.00 with the Friends’ support coach in tow. We stopped for water at Newcastle, Berwick and Edinburgh Waverley and called in at Edinburgh Haymarket for coal, before heading off to Perth, where we were booked to arrive at 18.08 where we would turn and water ready for the next day’s shenanigans.


I’d like to say that the trip was without incident but that wouldn’t be quite true. Most of the details given above had slipped my mind, and were refreshed by Pete James, who had kept a detailed record of the trip including the original timing sheet. What I remember about that part of the trip was a feeling of gratitude that I had recently undergone fire safety training at the NRM and was able to operate the correct fire extinguishers when the locomotive set fire to oil soaked wooden sleepers at the coaling point in Haymarket Yard!