The train which did so much for war effort

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A plaque marking the 100 years since the Jellicoe Express passed through Galashiels was unveiled at the town’s new railway station on Sunday.

The ceremony was hosted by the Borders Railway Community Partnership, in conjunction with Galashiels Community Council.

The Jellicoe Express, so-called after Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, made its WWI journey from Euston Station in London to Thurso, transporting naval personnel to join the fleet at Scapa Flow.

It’s estimated that more than 600 men, all their luggage, and mail for the fleet were transported daily, the train seldom running late and often arriving early.

The plaque was unveiled in Galashiels by Captain Chris Smith MA FCIPD of the Royal Navy, and Hon. John Jellicoe, grandson of the famous admiral, while Lindley Kirkpatrick, Borders Railway Programme Executive at Scotrail‎; SBC Cllr Harry Scott; Judith Cleghorn, chair of Galashiels Community Council; Mags Fenner, Chair of Borders Community Rail Partnership; and John Yellowlees, Scotrail Community Ambassador, looked on.

Mags Fenner told The Southern: “Community Rail Partnerships in Scotland form a bridge between the railway and local communities.

“It’s difficult to think of any rail service that has been more impactful than the Jellicoe Express, influencing as it did how the last years of WWI were played out and taking a significant role in WWII.

“It gives me a great sense of pride that the Borders Railway Community Partnership has been able to honour the Jellicoe Express, and Gala’s part in that story, in this, its centenary year.”

The plaque is one of several that have already been installed at stations where the Jellicoe Express was known to have stopped on its journey.

The Borders Rail Partnership would like to hear from anyone who maybe had a family member connected to the Jellicoe Express in either of the World Wars.