Along the Line to Perth

During our holiday in Scotland near Auchterarder it was possible to fit in a couple of walks to nearby locations on the Stirling to Perth line and photograph the passing trains. To her credit, Epi came with me on these and was happy to join in the traditional trainspotting activity of watching the wildlife while waiting for the signals to clear.

During our first week we walked into Auchterarder using a footpath called Johnny Mathie’s Road. It crosses the railway line close to the site of the long since closed Auchterarder station which was sited beyond the bridge in this photo……This is the 1T98 service from Inverness to Glasgow Queen Street and is formed of a Class 170 diesel unit (170454). The Rosebay Willowherb makes a fine display on the sides of the cutting and Craig Rossie stands proud on the horizon.

Another class 170 (170451) approaches the same spot, crossing Ruthven Water on a viaduct over Kincardine Glen……This is the 1A67 service from Glasgow Queen Street to Aberdeen. Most services in Scotland where the lines have not been electrified have been in the hands of the Class 170 units for a number of years. However, change is afoot.

In our second week we took a walk to Bardrill Road, west of Gleneagles station. Here we caught up with 43127 with 43021 bringing up the rear as the 3H01 on driver training duties……Not in the passenger timetable and still wearing her old livery without operator name, this is an example of the HST’s that will replace the Class 170’s on services from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. They have been released from First Great Western services on the London to South Wales and Bristol routes. Recently re-engineered, they will be fully refurbished for their new role and will operate in 4 and 5 car sets. Despite being over 40 years old I think they will bring improved standards of comfort for passengers.

Back in the present and a Class 170 (170455) runs westbound at Bardrill road on the 1T22 Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street service……The farmland of West Mains and the Ochil Hills form the backdrop.

And what would trainspotting be without a freight service? This is the 4A13 Grangemouth to Aberdeen Craiginches intermodal service with 66433 in charge……This service is part of a network of intermodal operations run by DRS and Stobart to deliver goods for Tesco, significantly reducing the number of long distance deliveries by lorry. The containers are branded ‘Less CO2 Rail’. In the distance you can see a red truck on the A9 and to the left of centre between the trees you can just see the town of Blackford.

And what about the wildlife you may ask? Epi can attest to the quality of the wild Raspberries at both locations. At Bardrill Road Bridge we were consistently buzzed by House Martins catching flies – they came so close that I could feel the draft in my hair as they passed. Much too close and fast to photograph but a joyous experience 🙂 There were Buzzards and Carrion Crows high in the sky. And then there were the sheep… Baaaaa 😉

6 Comments

    1. Hi Colline – there’s roughly one passenger train an hour each way along this route then a couple of empty stock workings, driver training runs and an occasional freight. In UK terms that is quiet compared with most lines around London and other major cities. At both locations we stood around for about an hour and a half before continuing our walk.

    1. Hi Debra – Thanks 🙂 I am fortunate that I can read an Ordnance Survey Map and use footpaths to get to locations like these. Bardrill Road is mainly an access road to local farms and in standing at the bridge for an hour and a half we didn’t see a single vehicle. Johnny Mathie’s road where the first two shots were taken is a footpath that is named after the old postman who used to walk it on his rounds (nowadays they use vans!).

      1. You ability to read those maps and follow them is a true gift! I can get lost going around the block. 🙂 That’s not much of an exaggeration, I’m afraid!

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