John McIntyre 1954 - 2022. A tribute

Mark Bartlett

John McIntyre was born in Cardross to Archie and Muriel, and became an older brother to Alastair and Jennifer. He was passionate about trains and railways from his earliest days and he and Alastair were once caught by their mother on the bedroom window sill, long after bedtime, together straining to get a glimpse of a passing 'special' train that he had heard about.

John was educated at Larchfield School in Helensburgh and then Glasgow Academy. There he joined the army cadets and took an early interest in working with radios.
Enthusiasm for railways ran through his life and he had a large train set at home. At school he was a member of the Railway Club, later becoming its Secretary and organising several outings. Later he became a volunteer in the early days of the Strathspey Railway, along with other future Railscot contributors Bill Roberton, David Spaven and Peter Todd. Bill recalls John as someone who would just quietly get on with the job, something that has been said by many since then.

Bill also recalls a number of rail tours that ran at that time. In 1974 he was on the Buchan Belle DMU tour and hoped to get a picture through the front window on the Fraserburgh branch, only to find John occupying the Second Man's seat. He managed to get in front of John at Maud though. Bill said they lost touch for quite a while but it was good to reconnect through Railscot in later life.

John went to Aberdeen University to study Forestry, like his father, but did not complete his course and instead joined the army. In a fifteen year career he rose to the rank of Major in the Royal Signals and during that time served in Northern Ireland, Rhodesia and Germany. In Germany he could also indulge his passion and many pictures of trains there, especially steam, have since appeared on Railscot. He retained his army interest for the rest of his life and for many years was a volunteer with the Leyland Army Cadets.

In the early 1990s John moved to Lancashire to take up the post of Communications Manager with the Lancashire Constabulary. It was here that I first met him as we worked together on a number of occasions to plan major events and operations. As is often the case in these situations, neither of us was aware of the other's outside interests and I just knew him as a colleague of great ability who would deliver whatever technical solution was required for a problem and do so without fuss. Our mutual interest only came to light later through Railscot and we struck up a genuine friendship.

John's communications role took him all over Lancashire and in fact he has worked on the equipment inside every police station in the county at some time. Frequently on call at weekends and overnight, and turning out in all weathers to repair faults, he nevertheless loved his career with the police and remained at the Hutton HQ until his retirement.
Outside of work John also busied himself with his allotment, and used his green fingers as a member of the Friends of Croston Station Group to establish another allotment on the disused platform there.

That might be enough for some but busy John was also an active volunteer at the West Lancashire Light Railway, working as fireman, guard, signaller, labourer and caterer as well as using his other skills to install an internal telephone system and other technical equipment.

In between all this, and family life, John would very often be found either exploring a disused railway line, or lineside capturing steam and modern railway operations. He had many favourite spots in and around Leyland but also frequently ventured further afield whenever he could with regular submissions to Railscot to keep us entertained.
He has not long left us but I already miss seeing his pictures and receiving his tip offs about special workings through Lancashire. Tips were in theory two way, but John always seemed a bit better informed than me.

Railscot mourns his passing. We send our condolences to wife Barbara, daughters Moira and Caroline, step children Andrew and Lizzie and his grandchildren. Also to Alastair, Jennifer and John's wider family.

His funeral service at the crematorium at Charnock Richard, close to one of John's favourite lineside locations at Balshaw Lane Junction, saw many heartfelt tributes. The chapel was packed as military, police, army cadets, volunteer groups and other friends joined the family.

The wake afterwards was held at his beloved narrow gauge railway at Hesketh Bank. Resident Hunslet quarry loco 'Irish Mail', complete with commemorative headboard, was in steam outside the shed to greet the arriving mourners. It was a privilege to be able to attend and mark the passing of a remarkable man.