Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway: 90th birthday celebration for Grangemouth's Charlie Gallacher

It was all aboard the birthday express when the family of Grangemouth man Charlie Gallacher took him on a surprise journey.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 8:05 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 8:05 pm

With the help of everyone at Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, they took former rail worker Charlie on a special steam train trip to celebrate his 90th birthday.

The visit was a complete surprise to the much-loved great-grandfather as his family wanted him to be able to enjoy memories of his days working on the railways.

Daughter Liz Sinclair said: “ Dad worked on the railway as a young man, first as a shunter and then as a fireman (stoker) so this trip to Bo'ness took him right down memory lane.

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Charlie Gallacher from Grangemouth celebrates his 90th birthday at Bo'ness Station with his granddaughters Nicola and Angela

"The staff at Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway went out of their way to make my dad feel spoiled, giving him a tour of the engine shed and letting him go into the cab where he showed the train driver how to do his job!

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"They even gave him a train-related gift of a book and a DVD, which just made his day.

"Everyone, from the platform staff to the catering staff, went out of their way to spoil him and he loved every second of it.”

Charlie Gallacher with Bo'ness Stationmaster Bill Wilson

The Falkirk Herald were invited along to share in the surprise and Liz said a group of American tourists watching him being followed around by a photographer asked to take his photograph as they thought he was a celebrity.

She added: “He was for the day and I think it made it even better for him.”

Charlie met Station Master on the day Bill Wilson and was given the tour by Linda Batchelor. His family want to thank them and also Kirsty Braidwood from the railway who helped organise the visit.

As well as the tour, the family had a trip on the steam train – in a First Class carriage, before enjoying lunch in the Buffet cafe with birthday cake.

Charlie Gallacher prepares to board the steam train with his daughter Liz Sinclair

He was accompanied by Liz, her partner John and her two daughters Nicola and Angela.

Charlie celebrates his birthday on June 22 but as the trains weren’t running during the week they went on Saturday.

Born in Grangemouth in 1932, he lived in Laurieston for a while but has spent most of his life in the port town. He now lives in Hanover Grange.

He married wife Janie in 1957 but sadly she passed away 15 years ago.

The couple had five children – Helen, now deceased, Liz, Charles, Calum and Mhairi. He also has countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Liz said: “He's had multiple health issues including cancer when he was 65 and a triple bypass/heart valve replacement on his 80th birthday, so the fact that he's turning 90 and still going is a great milestone to celebrate.”