1966 train to Dunblane

In spring 1966, Dunblane Railway station was quiet. The previous November, the line to Callander had been closed for good, after over 100 years of service. It was mid morning when the Aberdeen train arrived at platform 2. The Man got off it, then walked over the Victorian footbridge to platform 1 and out onto Stirling Road.

The Man asked a local for directions. The local shook his head, didn’t recognise the street name. The Man persisted, it was near the new school he said. ‘Ah the new hooses’ the local said and pointed to another bridge that crossed the railway line further up.

The Man strode off, noting the post office, newsagents and confectionery shop in Stirling Road, the old tenement flats above. He walked along Station Road before climbing up the steep path to the bridge. At the top he could see the river far below and beyond it, Dunblane Cathedral which looked impressive. Not so nice was the gasworks across the river.

Over the bridge, The Man recognised the cobblers where the local had said to turn left. He went between the cobblers and an air raid shelter which was covered in graffiti. Hopefully they wouldn’t be needing the air raid shelter in the future, he thought to himself.

There was a bus depot and a petrol station ahead but he turned right onto the Old Doune Road, as instructed. He chuckled to himself as he noticed there was a George Street: his own name. Maybe it was a good sign? The council houses in George Street looked fairly new, probably built just after the war.

The wide road went uphill, old stone villas above him to the right and new brick built bungalows on his left. He was soon breathing hard, he wasn’t used to this. Bloody hilly town Dunblane, he thought. He turned into Cawdor Cresent , another wide street and more climbing before a steep downhill. At the bottom were the school gates with the modern two storey school beyond. The man nodded to himself: his eldest son was now 5 years old so this would be perfect.

As he continued along Kinnoul Avenue he could see green hillside beyond. And coos ! He laughed at that because there were nae coos in the Gorbals where he was brought up. Finally, there it was. Murdoch Terrace! It looked a long street, all the pristine houses on the left and a wide grass verge with the school fence on the right.

He started to walk along the street,which was devoid of cars. The gardens were big, neat and empty: a blank canvas for the new residents who would settle in over the next year or two. Workmen were hammering away in one house, raised voices and laughter above the radio, which was blaring out ‘Substitute’ by The Who. A man with a clipboard was standing out on the pavement halfway along the street. He smiled. ‘You must be Mr Campbell’, he said ‘ allow me to show you the property’.

Half an hour later the two men reappeared on the pavement, shook hands and headed in opposite directions. The Man looked back at the house with the hillside beyond, then turned to look across the school field to the school with the Ochil hills in the distance. So much space. If they were going to raise three weans, maybe four who knows, they could do worse.

Satisfied, he lit his pipe and started walking back towards the railway station.

*’The Man’ was my dad and the story is part truth, part fiction but he definitely viewed 28 Murdoch Terrace in 1966 and I was told he caught the train up from Stirling where they were staying in Linden Avenue. The house cost £3300 and I was number four wean, born in November 1967.

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