Special events will mark railway station centenary

THE 100th birthday of Arbroath’s railway station is being marked tomorrow (Saturday) with a series of celebrations.

It was on Christmas Eve in 1911 that the station first opened, replacing an earlier building that stood on the same site.

It was a Mr Sutherland Banks, who purchased the first ticket, and he was proprietor of the adjacent Imperial Hotel, which is now the West Port Bar and private flats.

Tomorrow’s programme ranges from a ‘re-enactment’ of the first train ticket sold at the station to carol signing by the Arbroath Male Voice Choir, model and miniature railway displays, and the Limelight Company performing musical selections.

Dr Richard Irvine, president of the Arbroath Male Voice Choir is delighted to be involved the station’s centenary.

He said: “As someone with a lifelong interest in railways and local history, I could not let pass the centenary of my local station.

“It is full of history and stories – not just about trains but also about people.

“For example, there were special ambulance trains which conveyed injured heroes of the First World War home to Arbroath – and only months after opening, the station was the subject of a daring robbery.”

An exhibition of the station’s history and heritage will be held in the waiting room during the celebrations from 10 a.m.

Kerr’s Miniature Railway, the Angus Railway Group, Caledonian Railway (Brechin), Angus College, and the train operator ScotRail will also be taking part in the event.

And being unveiled is a new model railway layout, Fastleigh – built especially for the centenary celebration by Perth and District Model Railway Club.

Visitors will be met by ‘Arbroathians from 1911’ and the authentic atmosphere will include the sale of the ‘first ticket from the new station,’ with volunteers from the community in costumes of the time.

Dr Irvine added: “Arbroath station opened on Christmas Eve, 1911 and it is reported that quite a crowd of excited citizens gathered to watch the purchase of the first ticket by Mr Sutherland Banks, proprietor of the Imperial Hotel for an evening train to Dundee.

“That moment will be re-enacted during the celebrations for Arbroath station which plays such an important role in the life of the town.”

“There may no longer be a first class ladies’ waiting room, but many of the old rooms are now used for an expanding range of community purposes under ScotRail’s ‘Adopt a Station’ scheme. As such, a new chapter in its history has opened.”