Well what's the matter with Glasgow
For it's goin' 'roon and 'roon
She's only a blogger's loyal wife
As readers can sure infer;
But when she got a couple of drinks on a Saturday
Glasgow belonged to her!
According to Albert Mackie's The Scotch Comedians (1973), Fyffe got the inspiration for the song from a drunk he met at Glasgow Central Station. The drunk was "genial and demonstrative" and "laying off about Karl Marx and John Barleycorn with equal enthusiasm". Fyffe asked him: "Do you belong to Glasgow?" and the man replied: "At the moment, at the moment, Glasgow belongs to me."
The first stop was at Balloch where the lad had spotted a Glasgow electric blue train, then just two years old. Even in those youthful days, investigation was essential! In the station was a poster for a cruise on Loch Lomond. So off the odd couple went by train from Balloch Central to Balloch Pier and on to the Maid of the Loch for a lunch-inclusive tour.
She was built by A. & J. Inglis of Glasgow, launched on Thursday 5 March 1953, and entered service later that year. She is a "knock down" ship: that is, after assembly at the shipyard she was dismantled, and shipped to the loch (by rail to Balloch at the south end of the loch), and there her sections were reassembled on a purpose built slipway.
As with other steamers, cost pressures led to her being laid up after a last commercial sailing on 31 August 1981.
In 1992 Dumbarton District Council bought Maid of the Loch and restoration work started. In 1995 the Council supported a group of local enthusiasts in setting up a charitable organisation, the Loch Lomond Steamship Company, to take over ownership and carry on restoration. She became ready for static operation with a cafe/bar and function suite in autumn 2000.
The internet has provided a glimpse of the Inveness loading bay ...
Electric trains still run to Balloch (no longer "Central") as the short piece of track to the pier is long gone. But this post serves to act as an introduction to a future series exploring the abundant delights of the extensive suburban railway system of Scotland's fascinating capital.
In the half a century since the motoring trip, suburban livery has gone from electric blue to rail blue to orange (correctly designated "Strathclyde Red"; but it was orange!) to carmine and cream and now back to a richer blue adorned with white spots. It was once all steam, of course, as here at Balloch Pier ...
fbb will be looking at Glasgow's suburban rail network over the next few weeks. The subject is complex and utterly fascinating, both politically and from a transport point of view. We will begin, in due course, with the line to Balloch (opened in 1850).