The Freedom of Scotland that's what British Rail in the 1980s offered with their rail rover of the same name. An opportunity to both see Scotland and to photograph the railway scene. The railways in Scotland at that time still offered locomotive hauled trains, sempahore signalling and character in its stations. As time has gone by modernisation and rationlisation have continued to sadly remove what made the railways interesting.
The photographs displayed here are a selection of 150 photos from around 2,000 photos that I took during the 1980s and early 1990s on British Rail in Scotland.
The Freedom of Scotland rail rover also allowed rail travel just across the border into England at Carlisle on the West Coast main line and to Berwick-upon-Tweed on the East Coast main line. Photos from these locations are included in this selection. The photos though are mainly concentrated on the Central Lowlands, the Highland line and the line to Aberdeen in the north-east of Scotland.
Click the name of a location below to see photos from that area (number of photos is in brackets)
All the photographs were taken with a Canon A1 film camera using either Kodachrome 64 or Kodak Ektachrome colour slide film or for the black and white images Kodak Plus-X (125 ASA) or Kodak Tri-X (400 ASA).
The images were digitised using a Nikon D7200 camera, with a Nikon AF-S DX Micro 40mm f/2.8 G lens and the Nikon ES-2 Film Digitising Adapter Kit. The transfer of images from the camera to the PC was carried out using the Nikon ViewNX 2 software and the post processing of the images was done using Adobe Lightroom 3.0.
The Freedom of Scotland rail rover, now called Spirit of Scotland, is still offered today by ScotRail in two formats of either four days unlimited travel over eight consecutive days or eight days unlimited travel over fifteen consecutive days.
Freedom of Scotland
Some of my Freedom of Scotland rail rover tickets from the 1980s.
A sadly lamented train of the time period even if it did take a long time to get to London!
British Rail Northern Scene
History Press 2006
Stirling Railway Station
Faye McPherson & Jim MacIntosh
Caledonian Railway Association 2014
:: Page added on 1 March 2023.