Monday, 13 January 2014

Pictures on a Train

My train journey to work from Motherwell to Mount Florida in Glasgow involves changing trains at Newton (Cambuslang). Occasionally the train I catch is one which originally operated between Helensburgh in Argyll and Bute to Airdrie in North Lanarkshire, before the line was extended to Edinburgh a few years ago.

Helensburgh is a 'posh' place and birthplace of the late actress Deborah Kerr and television inventor, John Logie Baird. Airdrie is a town which was populated by many Scottish Highlanders in the 19th and early 20th centuries in search of work. Most of my ancestors came from the Highlands to live in Motherwell and Glasgow, but some went to live in Airdrie.

Perhaps the cultured residents of these two towns appreciate art because the former Helensburgh/Airdrie trains have some lovely artwork displayed on their walls.

Peoples' Palace, Glasgow
Clyde from Gourock
Comet Steamship
Wemyss Bay Station
Pictures from a distance
I was familiar with all the views except for the Comet steamboat and decided to look into its history. The PS Comet was built for Henry Bell who was a hotel and baths owner in Helensburgh, and began as a passenger service on 15 August 1812 on the River Clyde between Glasgow and Greenock. It was the first commercially successful steamboat service in Europe.

In September 1819 the Comet ran a service to Oban and Fort William and on 13 December 1820 she was shipwrecked in strong currents at Craignish Point near Oban, with Bell on board. One of the engines ended its working days in a Greenock brewery, and is now in The Science Museum in London.

Travelling by train does have its advantages, sometimes!

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