Keith Tyler (1930-2011)
Keith Tyler, former Secretary of FoFNL died at his home, Kinbrace Station House, late in 2011. Keith literally put Kinbrace on the map, both for the society and for the wider railway community through his letters to the national and the railway press. Keith became Secretary of FoFNL in January 1998, taking over from Founder Secretary, Frank Roach, who had become the Rail Development Officer.
A conundrum was published in issue 9 of the Newsletter in February 1998. Readers were asked, "How do you gain something in common with the present Secretary and the former Secretary?" - the answer being that you "make a bid for Golspie Station." History tells us that both were unsuccessful, Frank ultimately securing Rogart and Keith purchasing Kinbrace in 1995. Keith continued as Secretary until the November 2002 AGM and remained on the Committee for a further three years. For a while, too, he was Secretary of Highland Railway Heritage, helping to organise historical commemorations and steam excursions on several Highland lines.
Before retiring to live on the railway in the north, Keith practised as an architect in the Birmingham area. He became very involved with the Stanier 8F Society which, in 1968, rescued the last of these powerful LMS goods engines in BR service. Keith became Newsletter Editor and long-serving Company Secretary of this charity, its locomotive being based and operated on the Severn Valley Railway. He was lead editor (with two other Society directors) of Stanier 8F 2-8-0, the Bradford Barton pictorial album of 1978.
The FoFNL committee meeting on 1st March 2001 was memorable in that we were temporarily stranded in Keith's house following a snowstorm. He wrote up this and other snow events of that winter in an entertaining article, "A Highland winter" in Black Eight no 109 of 2001, and the picture of the committee getting off the train in the snow and Keith looking out of his doorway can be seen on the front cover. His Facing Points articles in our Newsletters went on for many years and gave out good advice like "use our trains and persuade others to do the same" and "make your membership well known, and by your good will and enthusiasm encourage others to join us." Keith was indeed an enthusiast for railways and for the Far North Line in particular as this sound advice shows. He will be missed by many, not least by the train drivers for his invoking of the request stop for the trains at Kinbrace.