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LMSS Masthead

Fostering Interest in Research & Modelling of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway

Allan Trotter : 1951 - 2020

Allan Trotter

I have just received the extremely sad news that Allan Trotter, who was extremely well known amongst the railway and model railway fraternity, has died from pancreatic cancer. Allan had undergone serious surgery this time last year, but sadly the lengthy operation failed to eradicate the problem. Subsequent chemotherapy induced a very bad reaction, so the doctors had to cease that treatment, and thereafter Allan passed away in a hospice, quietly and peacefully on Thursday, 30th April 2020.

Although Allan was never a member of the CRA/G&SWRA/HRS, he was extremely well known in all these circles, not least for the sheer number of audio-visual presentations he provided to these clubs, the CRA and G&SWRA in particular. He also served as the Exhibition Manager at the 'Model Rail Scotland' show held annually in late February. Allan started in this role in 1983 and remained in the post until 2004, when a move south to Southport meant it was no longer feasible for him to remain in the role. However, he often returned north to the annual show, either as a visitor, or with a layout to display. It should also be remembered that he, along with the other volunteers who carried out the work for this show, were instrumental in finding a new location for the show within the 'Scottish Events Campus', as it is now known as, following the fire in the old McLellan Galleries, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, in late 1986. The exhibition spent one year in the former 'Anderson Centre', before moving to its new home from 1988 and onwards.

Allan had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the BR steam and diesel era, along with a wonderful knowledge of the 'Blue Trains', as they were then known as, following their introduction onto the North Bank electric services in the early 1960's. Likewise, although he was not one to spend much time working his way through the Minute Books or newspaper files held in the 'National Records of Scotland', Edinburgh, or 'The Mitchell Library', Glasgow, respectively, what Allan did not know about BR Mark One coaching stock was not worth knowing. He was a highly-gifted photographer, whom I never once knew to take a bad photograph, no mean feat when using traditional 35mm slide film within Britain and the quality of sunlight we enjoy. Allan always preferred to let his photographs 'do the talking' as it were.

Allan attended the Scottish Railway Conferences in October '16, and again in October '18, and was most impressed with a 'behind the scenes' tour of Gleneagles Hotel on the Sunday after the latter Conference. Allan always appreciated the finer things in life, as do a great many of our members, and his eyes more or less popped out of his head when he viewed the wine and spirits cellar of the Hotel !

Allan also became a regular and authoritative contributor to 'BackTrack', preparing and submitting text and photographs on all manner of railway items, be they LMS or not. One particular highlight was the July'17 issue of the journal, where in there were articles from Allan and myself surveying, of all things, 'The Night Ferry'. Never let it be said that LMS Society members only look at railway history through crimson-lake tinted spectacles !!

He was also extremely active within railway modelling circles and displayed a wide assortment of models and countries, normally in OO/HO gauge and standards - Southern electrics, South African steam, American diesels and electric units + stock, and Italian layouts were all shown by Allan over the past forty years or so.

Allan spent his entire working life working for BT plc, both before the business was privatised, and thereafter until he retired in summer 2002. Working with the old electro-mechanical switches and adjusting the relays was his natural abode, which he had taken to like a duck to water. Following on from the move to a more modern telephone switch and transmission network from circa 1990 onwards, along with laptops, Skype and mobile phones, were equally tools to be used. Likewise, he embraced modern digital photography and ensure that all his old slide images were digitised to be used in contemporary desk-top publishing journals.

So farewell then, Allan, it has been my pleasure to know you for the past forty years and with your passing we have all lost a wonderful friend, gentleman and enthusiast. All our lives, not simply my own, are so much poorer for your departure from the scene.

Arnold Tortorella

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