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Rare railwayana from across Tayside and Fife rakes in thousands of pounds at auction

Auctioneer Neil Booth is pictured with some of the signs.
Auctioneer Neil Booth is pictured with some of the signs.

Highly sought-after pieces of rail memorabilia from across Tayside and Fife have gone under the hammer for thousands of pounds.

Totem signs were introduced in 1948 by the then-newly nationalised British Rail, with each region having its own colour.

The totems slowly disappeared from public sight but have now become hugely collectible items, with the rarest signs often attracting four or five-figure sums.

At the latest auction of rail memorabilia held south of the border, the totem which was once proudly displayed at Elie railway station fetched an incredible £4,200.

The Fife coast station closed to passengers in 1965 but one unidentified bidder decided it was worth paying more than three times the guide price – more than £1,000 per letter – when it was listed for sale by Mid-Hants Railwayana Auctions.

Other totems which exceeded expectations included the Pitlochry sign, which achieved £3,600, Dunfermline Upper, which went for £3,300, and Broughty Ferry, which was sold for £2,500.

Auctioneer Neil Booth was delighted with the interest and said railwayana is big business, with a number of famous faces – such as pop mogul and rail enthusiast Pete Waterman – often among those looking on at the auctions.

“These boards are an excellent reminder of the past, how the railway was in the golden days of steam before everything went electric and digital.

The Elie totem garnered the highest price of 14 Scottish blue totems, most of which covered various Courier Country stations.

Kilconquhar, Largo, Anstruther, Cowdenbeath, Bridge of Earn, Inverkeithing, Newport-on-Tay West, Blair Atholl, Aviemore and Stirling were also up for grabs.

Those were among an  550 items listed in the online auction, ranging from name plates, photos, plaques, posters and cast iron/enamel signs to clocks, badges, lamps and platform furniture.

The most prominent item sold was the Western Explorer diesel hydraulic locomotive name plate, which was from a train withdrawn from service in 1974 and scrapped later the same year.

The nameplate and matching D1002 number plate fetched an incredible £16,200, again to an unnamed online bidder.

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