"My name has appeared in the Queen's Birthday
Honours list as being appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire,
"for services to the Railway Preservation Society in Northern Ireland".
"I am delighted with this appointment,
which as well as being a personal honour, confers public recognition on
the work and achievements of the RPSI.
"In accepting this honour I must acknowledge
the vital contribution made by the members of the RPSI over the years since
its formation in 1964, and also the Society's full time staff. As well
as that, the co-operation and encouragement of many other organisations
and individuals must be acknowledged, principally Northern Ireland Railways
without whom the running of steam trains on the main lines in Northern
Ireland would be impossible.
"With this encouragement I am confident
that the Society will continue to flourish in the coming years.
Peter Scott, MBE
18th June 2006
Mr Scott, from Finaghy in Belfast, has
been a railway enthusiast since his days at the Royal Belfast Academical
Institution and now works as a mechanical engineer with Northern Ireland
Railways. But much of his free time is devoted to the work of the Railway
Preservation Society, which owns and operates the last surviving mainline
steam engines in Ireland.
RPSI chairman Johnny Glendinning said:
"We are delighted that Peter has received this well-deserved acknowledgment
of all his efforts over so many years. He was a founder member of the Society
and has served on council and in the key role of locomotive maintenance
officer for more than 35 years.
"It is thanks in large measure to his expertise
that the Society's locomotives are able to continue to operate in a safe
and efficient manner, bringing pleasure to the thousands of people who
travel on and watch our special steam trains every year.
"Peter is an outstanding and resourceful
engineer who has built up a team of volunteer and full-time workers at
Whitehead who have literally kept the Society's wheels turning. He has
put countless hours of his free time into restoring steam engines and rolling
stock to full working order."
Steam locomotives are key to the RPSI's
existence and operations, and when the society was formed even the most
fundamental maintenance operations were beyond the young members. To begin
with, professional help was sought from Northern Ireland Railways and Córas
Iompair Éireann, but it was not long before railway workshops re-equipped
for modern traction.
Peter Scott working on one of No.461's
axleboxes in Whitehead's well equipped Locomotive Workshop.
Peter Scott demonstrating to C P Friel
the use of a milling machine.
Peter Scott working on a lathe in
the engine shed at Whitehead in the early years of the society.
The role of Locomotive Maintenance Officer
was created by the RPSI, and the bold move of taking maintenance "in house"
was taken. Peter Scott has occupied this position for over 35 of the society's
42 years. He led the team of volunteers who undertook the work on the locomotives,
and in the early years this was accomplished in primitive facilities at
Whitehead, with only basic machine and hand tools available.
Peter’s knowledge and leadership skills
soon created an expertise and enthusiasm amongst the small number of regular
volunteer workers, and much was achieved within restricted resources and
budgets. Maintaining a steam locomotive is a skilled job, made even more
difficult by the locomotives having reached the end of their useful lives.
However, it is safe to say that nowadays when a locomotive is given a full
overhaul at Whitehead it emerges almost as good as new!
Peter can take much credit for the development
of the impressive Locomotive Workshop at Whitehead, which can overhaul
almost every part of a steam locomotive. This was accomplished in a methodical
way with his usual understated modesty. The climax of three decades
of development is now a fully equipped workshop in enlarged premises adjacent
to the original (and now nearly 100 years old) locomotive shed. The
design and layout of the workshop emulates the railway works of old and
enables virtually any engineering restoration task to be undertaken.
Peter Scott with NIR drivers Noel and
Gary on the footplate of one of the locomotives he restored to working
|Peter Scott working on No.4's axleboxes
in the primitive conditions of the engine shed at Whitehead. Behind him
John waits to help with the next lift.
||Peter Scott with some of the other volunteers
at Whitehead. From left to right, Irwin, Mark, Peter, Thomas, Philip, Robin
To achieve this has, of course, been no
simple task, and Peter has devoted all his spare time, outside a demanding
professional career, to the workshops at Whitehead. Virtually all
work is undertaken by members in a voluntary capacity, with some limited
opportunities for full-time staff to be engaged. Indeed, Peter has
overseen ‘apprentice schemes’ for full time staff; ensuring valuable traditional
skills are not lost. One such apprentice is now permanently employed
in the workshop. These activities have been supplemented for some
time by organised attendance at the appropriate skills courses at Technical/Further
Education Colleges. Peter has trained, coached and supported many
members with a quiet ‘hands-on’ style, and a flair for innovation and problem-solving
that would have been a credit to any Chief Mechanical Engineer of a major
railway company. Impressive technical knowledge, coupled with ‘people-skills’
has ensured the processes from the steam locomotive workshop era have stayed
alive, in a most practical form. Indeed, these skills have provided
benefits in the wider community, with contract work using facilities, such
as the unique foundry, producing vital income.
Peter’s role in ensuring the availability
of locomotives, for the Portrush
Flyers and the other 50+ trains run every year, was formally recognised
by the presentation to the Society of the Heritage Railway Association
2004 ‘John Coiley’ Award for Locomotive Preservation. The Citation
reads ‘for the restoration, during a challenging period, of the oldest
operating mainline locomotive in the British Isles, Class J15 0-6-0 locomotive
186 built in 1879 by Sharp Stewart & Co for the Great Southern
& Western Railway’. This was national recognition of the remarkable
standards achieved by Peter and his team in the complete rebuilding of
a locomotive which had been out of use for over 25 years.
No.4 receives some in depth attention
in the old engine shed at Whitehead. Irwin, to the right of the photograph,
has also been involved with the society's locomotives since the earliest
Brian works on No.461's
front wheels in Whitehead's locomotive workshop.
Peter Scott testing No.90,
the latest engine to be attended to by Whitehead RPSI Engineering. Acting
as fireman is fellow volunteer Nelson.
Peter’s reputation and skills as a Professional
Engineer have been important factors in the close professional and commercial
relationship enjoyed with Northern Ireland Railways and Irish Rail.
The recent transfer of ownership of three remaining steam locomotives (No.131,
to the Society by Irish Rail is a further testimony to his achievements
out our locomotives page for details of locomotives overhauled at Whitehead.
on the RPSI logo (above) to go to the RPSI Homepage
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