“HERE they are,” the newspaper advertisements beckoned in May 1974, “the pride of Inter-City, the trains that lop almost an hour off the Glasgow-London run.” The fastest, the Royal Scot, could do the 400 miles in five hours flat. The Electric Scots ran between the two cities eight times every weekday, in both directions.The key to it all? Electrification.

On May 6, at 10.10am, the Royal Scot was waved off by Lord Provost William Gray from Central Station, with pipers playing. And at some point(above) British Rail hostess Carol Black presented a sprig of lucky white heather to Eddie McHugh, driver of the first Electric Scot to leave Glasgow, as R.M.Phillips, manager of Central Station, looked on.

The Evening Times’s George Philips wrote that he had the “privilege” of making the five-hour journey, “and it was sheer luxury. With the massive 5000 horse-power engine pulling us, we streaked along on occasions at a fantastic 100 miles per hour, enjoying beautiful sun-soaked countryside in comfortable, air-conditioned, first-class compartments. The old image of dingy British Rail trains is dead,” he added, “thanks to this ambitious electrification project which was launched back in 1970, and which cost B.R. a cool £74 million.” But this was not the end, said B.R. general manager for Scotland, David Cobbett. “Before 1980 the advanced passenger train will do around 155mph, and cut a further hour from the journey.”