Jellicoe Express Plaque Unveilings

John Yellowlees

(with additional material by Railscot)

We have now passed the third anniversary of the first Jellicoe Express plaque unveilings, at Edinburgh Waverley and Inverkeithing – and the first anniversary of the last, at Forsinard. From beginning to end, nineteen such events were brilliantly choreographed by Moya McDonald and starred Captain Chris Smith RN and Hon Johnny Jellicoe, with a variety of guests ranging from Lords Lieutenant and Jamie Stone MP to Geordie Adams, who had fired the train in the Second World War and did the honours at Helmsdale.

Below are photographs from each location | Euston, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle, Hawick [2nd], Galashiels, Edinburgh Waverley, Inverkeithing, Perth, Kingussie, Aviemore, Inverness, Dingwall, Alness, Invergordon, Tain, Helmsdale, Forsinard and Thurso.


London Euston, the starting point for the Jellicoe Express in the capital.
Euston 5 December 2017.


Crewe the major junction with lines running north and south, to North Wales, Liverpool and Manchester.
Crewe 2 May 2018.


Preston another major junction with lines to Blackburn, Leeds, York, Blackpool and Fleetwood.
Preston 17 April 2019.


Carlisle this major junction is close to the England/Scotland border with two routes running south to London, three routes running north into Scotland one with a connection west for the link via Stranraer to Ireland. East is the line to Newcastle and south west to Cumbria, its steelworks and the Barrow Shipyard. The line ahead to Hawick is hard going but quieter and it ultimately approaches Edinburgh from the east allowing the train to continue north over the Forth Bridge without reversal.
Carlisle 31 October 2018.


Having reached Hawick [2nd] the landscape changes from wild moorland to farmed countryside. The plaque unveiled at the Leisure Centre is the only reminder of the passenger station.
Hawick 30 November 2018. Captain Chris Smith checks out the plaque that he has just unveiled at Hawick Leisure Centre on 30th November 2018. The centre stands on the site of Hawick Station. <I>The Jellicoe Express,</I> which ran between Euston and Thurso, was the longest rail journey in Britain and operated during both world wars transporting mail and navy personnel. It is being commemorated with a series of plaques. Hawick, on the old Waverley Line, was a station where the Express called in one direction for coal and water and now is the only Jellico location that no longer has trains. <br>
A close up of the Jellicoe Express plaque unveiled at Hawick. The Teviotdale Leisure Centre is on roughly the site of the second (better known) station on the Waverley Route in Hawick.


Although the original Galashiels [1st] station has not survived the line re-opened from Edinburgh to Tweedbank to passengers in 2015 with a new Galashiels station.
The unveiling of a commemorative Jellicoe Express plaque at Galashiels on 27/08/2017. <a target=external href=>Border Telegraph</a>

Edinburgh Waverley

The main station in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh Waverley, is entered from the east. Trains run west to Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Falkirk, Corstorphine, Stirling and to north Leith and Granton - and many, many other destinations.
Edinburgh Waverley 40 April 2017. Hon Johnny Jellicoe, Moya McDonald and Captain Chris Smith RN.


Inverkeithing station, close to Rosyth Dockyard is reached after crossing into Fife over the Forth Bridge passing other naval locations such as Port Edgar.
Inverkeithing 30 April 2017.


Having traversed Fife Perth is reached, junction for Dundee, Aberdeen, Stirling and beyond. The train takes the line north, the main line following the upper Tay initially.
Refreshment trolley at Perth on the occasion of the unveiling of a Jellicoe Express plaque, 2 May 2017.


Having crossed the watershed Kingussie, the capital of Badenoch, is reached. The line follows the Spey.
Kingussie 12 December 2017.


Aviemore was the junction between the lines to Inverness, Forres and Aberdeen via the Speyside line. The train takes the route to Inverness, crossing high ground on a magnificently engineered line.
Aviemore 12 December 2017.


Inverness, capital of the Highlands, has a port on the River Ness (where the Inverness Ammunition Depot is located), the northern end of the Caledonian Canal (with mines traffic in the Great War at US Naval Base 18) and Inverness is an important railway junction with lines radiating to Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Edinburgh Waverley, Aberdeen, Kyle of Lochalsh, Wick and Thurso.
Inverness 1 May 2017.


Dingwall at the west end of the Cromarty Firth and the junction for the line west to Kyle of Lochalsh, much involved with mines traffic in both wars.
Dingwall 11 September 2018.


Alness was at the west end of the vast Invergordon Naval Base in the Cromarty Firth and near US Naval Base 17. A railway is laid close to the shore, in addition to the public railway, connecting the naval bases together.
Alness 31 August 2019.


Invergordon station was north of the new Admiralty Pier and the large ship repair establishment for the Grand Fleet.
Invergordon 6 December 2017.


Near Tain the line turns away from the Cromarty Firth to approach the Dornoch Firth.
Tain 29 April 2019.


Having followed the coastline to Helmsdale the line turns inland climbing into the flow country.
Helmsdale 30 September 2017. This new plaque was unveiled today at Helmsdale by Geordie Adams, who was a fireman on the Jellicoe Express during the Second World War. WRVS poster at Helmsdale. This poster has a quote from Geordie Adams, the fireman from the Jellicoe Express who today unveiled the plaque. A new plaque and poster were unveiled today at Helmsdale by Geordie Adams, who was a fireman on the Jellicoe Express during the Second World War.


Following reversal at Georgemas Junction the train finishes its journey at Thurso, a port in its own right and near Scrabster Harbour. A boat journey will take passengers on to Scapa Flow, the great natural harbour in Orkney.
Thurso 05 Oct 2017. Jamie Stone MP unveiling the latest Jellicoe Express plaque at Thurso Station on 5th October 2017.

Royal Naval Association - Remembering the Jellicoe Express