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Simon Pia's Diary

extract from "The Scotsman" Friday December 15th 2000

Simon Pia
Get steaming for Christmas
WE ARE pleased to report it's not complete chaos on the railways this Christmas. And no, we've not caved in to pressure from the Commissar of the Railways, Gorgeous Gus Macdonald.
At least one train service is running on time - the Santa Express on the Bo'ness and Kinneil line. Step forward and take a bow, the volunteers of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, whose Santa Express as ever proving a big hit with not just the bairns. The steam trains, running at weekends until Christmas Eve, keep to their scheduled time with passengers on the puffers entertalned by a guard on the clarinet and another leading the Christmas sing-along. All children receive a present, while adults get a mince pie and a cup of tea buckshee, unlike the rip-off rubbish you get from Railtrack, ScotRail, Virgin, GNER or whoever. Surely there's a lesson here for Lord Macdonald in what volunteers can do who really care about the railways rather the fast-buck brigade with their eye forever on the share price.

Santa's station, Bo'ness