On Monday 28th September, 1992 Scotrail welcomed me back with open arms. They didn't have Senior Conductors so I was merely a Conductor. I found I was still working the same Intercity trains - the H.S.T and the Sleepers. Apparently Intercity were paying Scotrail to pay me to work the trains. By that logic Intercity could have paid off all their staff and hired other Railway Companies employees to man their trains. What annoyed me was the fact that when I became a Senior Conductor and was at the Training School in Crewe, the first thing we were told was that the Intercity Policy was - no matter where a passenger stepped on a train be it Inverness or Penzance they would get the same level of Intercity care and attention. Now Scotrail Conductors were working the trains from Inverness to Edinburgh. So much for Intercity Policy.
The Sprinter trains that make up the Scotrail fleet are easy to work. By pressing a button the doors close securely. By pressing another button twice the train moves off. Magic! They do a full days work from early morning until late at night. Often a train will arrive at its Terminus only to go out again in a few minutes. Working an Edinburgh to Dunblane train one night, we left Haymarket station and I went through to check tickets. A disgruntled passenger said to me, "A single to Edinburgh." "No" I replied, "we've just left there." "A single to Edinburgh", he demanded. "But we've just left there," I said, unable to comprehend. "I know that," he shouted, "I travelled to Edinburgh on a Bathgate train but I fell asleep and I woke up as we left Haymarket."
On Sunday 17th January 1993 the local radio reported that the river Tay was in danger of flooding. When I left my home in the North Muirton area of Perth to start my work at 3pm there was nothing to indicate this. I was to travel from Perth to Dundee, work a train to Edinburgh and return to Dundee with another train where it would terminate. I would then take the empty train to Perth arriving at 11.15pm.
I was sitting in the Dundee Supervisors office about 6.30pm when a Policeman appeared and informed me that my family had been evacuated and were at my friends house. I didn't place any importance on that fact assuming that the evacuation was only a precaution. We arrived back in Dundee at 10.45pm ready to take the empty train to Perth. Due to flooding, the line between Perth and Dundee was closed so we made our way back over the Tay Bridge into Fife intending to reach Perth via the branch line at Ladybank. We made good progress over the branch line until nearing Bridge of Earn I had a feeling of deja vu as the railway track was under water and even in the darkness it was obvious that there was widespread flooding. Travelling cautiously we eventually arrived in Perth about one o'clock in the Monday morning. My Driver offered to run me home. We tried to drive through the centre of the town but every road we took was under water. After several detours we approached North Muirton. There is only one road in and out of the housing estate and when we tried to enter from the south we were confronted by an army lorry blocking the road and soldiers refusing us entry. I still didn't realise the scale of the flooding until we drove in from the north end to see a rubber Dinghy with an out-board motor cruising up the road towards us. On the Monday afternoon I tried to walk from my friends house to mine. It was impossible, and I made my way to the Grammar School (which was on higher ground) to find a small harbour had been created. There were numerous Dinghies and Rowing Boats moored there. I managed to get a lift on a boat manned by two Council workmen. As they rowed up the street a white Lada car floated by us and one workman said, "I'll have to report that to the police". "Why?", the other asked. "Because it's a danger to shipping", he replied. My house was flooded to a depth of three feet and my seven tanks of tropical fish were all dead. I later measured the height from the road to the high-water mark in my house. It was eight feet! Almost every house in North Muirton was affected by the flood. I had seen some with water reaching to the eaves and cars completely submerged. Scotrail were good to me and allowed me time off to arrange the rebuilding of my house. It was almost four months before we could occupy it again.