JAMES MATHIESON 111 AND THE NORTH BRITISH RAILWAY COMPANY.

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James Mathieson IV seems to have spent most, if not all, of his working life as an employee of the North British Railway Company, and latterly the London and North Eastern Railway Company when it was formed in 1923, one of it's constituent parts being the N.B.R.. In 1881 he was employed as a "pointsman", but by the time of his marriage in 1883, he had graduated to guard.

An article in the "Dundee Peoples Journal" of 1889 tells of the level of wages earned by railway guards at the time. A guard started at 24 shillings a week, rising at a shilling a year, to a maximum of 30 shillings a week. For this he was expected to work a seventy-two hour week, with overtime calculated on a fortnightly basis, i.e.. if a guard worked 100 hours in one week the company would restrict him to 44 hours the following week, thus avoiding overtime payments. Fines were commonplace for any minor breaches of rules etc..

The book "The Springburn Story" relates the life of ordinary railway workers in Springburn, and provides an interesting insight into the sort of life James Mathieson IV and his family would have lived in Springburn during the late 1800's and early 1900's.

James Mathieson is reputed to have worked on the North British Fort William to Glasgow line, which opened on 3rd. August 1894. This is borne out by a photograph of a group of people, including James Mathieson IV, standing by a locomotive at Invergarry station.

The platform of Invergarry station is still in existence, though badly overgrown, behind the modern Invergarry Water Sports Centre.  This was situated on a spur from the main Fort William-Glasgow line, which ran up to Fort Augustus from Spean Bridge. This section was originally built by the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Company at the cost of 350,000-00. The cost exhausted the capital of the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Co. and no money was left to provide rolling stock and operate the line. The line was consequently rented out to the Highland Railway Co. for 4,000-00 per annum for them to operate with their own rolling stock, and this allowed the line to open for business on 22nd July 1903. The line was operated on this basis by the Highland Railway Co. until 1st May 1907, when they withdrew and the North British Railway Co. took over the running of the line on the same basis. This arrangement continued until 31st August 1911 when the Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway Co closed the line.

The line was re-opened on 1st August 1913, with the North British running it as before, but the following year the North British bought the entire enterprise, including the Fort Augustus Hotel, for 27,000-00. Not a bad bargain for a scheme which had originally cost 350,000-00!!

The line remained in service until 1st December 1933 when it was closed, except for a skeleton service of one freight train every Saturday. Despite a brief re-incarnation during the Second World War, the line was closed for good on 31st December 1946.

The locomotive in the photograph is N.B.R. No.697 (L.N.E.R. No. D35.) This was a N.B.R. Class M 4-4-0 designed by Matthew Holmes for the West Highland line, built at Cowlairs in 1894. The photograph can be dated from sometime between 1st May 1907, when the North British started running trains to Invergarry, and May 1923, when the locomotive was withdrawn from service. Going by the appearance of James Mathieson IV, I would guess a date of between 1915 and 1920 for this photograph.

A website showing detail of the station and information regards the line itself can be found at http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/i/invergarry/index.shtml

 A second photograph shows James Mathieson IV standing beside locomotive N.B.R. No.769 (L.N.E.R. No. D31.) This was a N.B.R. Class M 4-4-0 designed by Matthew Holmes, built at Cowlairs in 1899. It originally worked the East coast line between Edinburgh and Berwick-upon-Tweed, but was reduced to secondary workings circa 1903. It was re-built in December 1921, and finally withdrawn from service in December 1847. 

This photograph must have been taken pre-1923 as the locomotive still bears it's N.B.R. number. (after the formation of the L.N.E.R. in 1923 it would have carried it's L.N.E.R. Number D31). Again, going by the appearance of James Mathieson IV, I would guess a date between 1915 and 1920 for this photograph, as well.