When the last train ran to St Andrews

When I first went to live in St Andrews, it had a railway station.  Mainline trains from England or Edinburgh would stop at Leuchars Junction, a few miles away, where one changed to the local service that ran between Dundee and St Andrews, stopping at Leuchars.  Leuchars itself was a bleak, windswept station, but at least had the interest of RAF fighters taking off and landing at the nearby air base.  From St Andrews itself there was also a local service that ran down the coast to pretty little fishing ports such as Anstruther, Crail and Pittenweem.

St Andrews station was closed in 1969, a casualty of the 1966 Tay Bridge to Dundee that dramatically cut its passenger numbers.  From then on, train passengers had to disembark at Leuchars and catch a bus or a taxi to St Andrews, as they still do.  When the very last train ran from Leuchars to St Andrews on the evening of 6th January 1969, a group of us went to Leuchars to be on it.  Professor Norman Gash and his wife Dorothy were by chance returning to St Andrews from the South, and joined us.  It was festive, with a guitarist playing “Last Train to San Fernando,” but substituting St Andrews instead.  The crew were mildly irritated when the communications cord was pulled three times on the journey to stop the train.