Monday 30 December 2002

Free travel and free whisky!

Today it was time to visit Borders to catch up with political, aeronautical and photographic magazines. Normally I go to the Edinburgh branch, but that involves a 7 mile drive through the busy pre-hogmanay city centre and out to an eastern suburban retail park. It's actually quicker and less stressful to take the train for the 45 miles to Glasgow. I discovered that today was to see the last journey of the Type 303 electric train, which revolutionised travel in the UK's second-largest suburban rail network. After arriving in Glasgow I made my way to the inner-city station of Bellgrove and boarded the "last train". At Queen Street there was a large group of photographers, a piper and various dignitaries. The ticket collector then came through the train to hand out free tickets, a commemorative photograph of the train and a free, albeit miniature, bottle of whisky for every passenger! After 40 minutes we arrived at Helensburgh where the River Clyde widens into the Firth. Here there were more dignitaries, TV cameras and free coffee. After a stroll round the town I returned to Glasgow and finally reached Borders. There was of course time to visit the wonderful Horseshoe Bar where a pint costs less than £2 and pie and beans costs 80p. An excellent day out.