Royal Train Attracts a Lot of Attention
The Jubilee spirit swept along the Far North Line on the evening of Monday 27th May as the Queen travelled south to Aberdeen after her visit to Caithness. Crowds waited expectantly for hours at stations en route, although the royal train was not scheduled to stop and its timetable had not been officially released for security reasons.
In the event, brief glimpses of the Queen were caught by a number of onlookers as the train slowed down through the various villages, making brief and unscheduled stops at Brora, Rogart and Lairg. About 200 locals thronged Rogart Station to greet the royal train which came to a brief halt. The already festive atmosphere was further enlivened by a skirl on the pipes from 12 year-old Rogart Primary School pupil William Child who played "Balmoral" in honour of the Queen.
Frank Roach, who lives at the Station House in Rogart and works as a rail development manager with the Highland Rail Partnership said, "The Queen was there, waving from behind a window, literally three feet away from a lot of people. Transport police hopped out of the train to ensure the people didn't get too close. There was a tremendous community atmosphere. It really was an event."
Retired Morvich farmer George Murray, a distinguished former county councillor and sheepman in his day, said: "The service train was stopped to allow the royal train to pass. But apparently the Queen's restaurant carriage was short of a few chairs for guests, and the royal train was halted to allow more chairs to be brought from another carriage. This gave us all the opportunity, after the service train passed through, to see the Queen in her carriage. She waved and smiled to us. It was a great surprise both to us and to her."
Editor's note: It was good to see another "Royal" on the line; The Royal Scotsman was heading south into Dingwall on Monday morning 23rd September.