It was the day a Fife train service was “buried at sea”.
A “funeral procession” with “damnation” was given to the “undertakers of the Newport railway” 50 years ago, in May 1969, when it made its final journey to Dundee.
The Newport line was opened in 1879, connected to the Tay Bridge, but the opening of the road bridge over the river in 1966 sounded its death knell.
Closure of the railway came in 1969 and hundreds of people lined the platform and stood on the footbridge when the end finally came.
Members of the Newport Round Table, in top hats and tails, marched up the platform to the guard’s van heading a “funeral procession” with a piper.
They were carrying a black coffin and a wreath.
The train left Newport for Dundee and was greeted by exploding fog-warning detonators at every station.
All along the line, between the Newport East and Newport West stations, people who did not brave the fog and drizzle stood at the windows of their homes as the train passed.
When it pulled into Tay Bridge Station a crowd was waiting to welcome it.
The “funeral party” then left the train and headed towards the Tay Road Bridge, complete with coffin.
They performed a burial at sea from the middle of the road bridge and composed a few lines “in memorium” during the ceremony.
They said: “Damnation to the undertakers of the Newport Railway
“Hoping the Lord will their labour not repay
“It proved a blessing to the people
“For 90 years all but a few days
“Who lived in nearby Newport
“On the bonnie braes o’ the Silvery Tay.”
Tayside rail enthusiast John Ruddy said: “The coming of the railways transformed the communities on the south bank of the Tay and with the re-opening of the Tay Rail Bridge in 1887, allowed the possibility of commuting into Dundee to be a realistic option.
“Journeys took only 10 minutes from Newport, and with as many as 17 trains a day after World War Two it was popular with residents.
“It was only the need to cut the line for the approaches of the Tay Road Bridge in 1966 that begun the spiral of decline that led to the final closure from Newport to Dundee 50 years ago.
“No doubt many residents of Newport today would appreciate a service to Dundee and beyond such as that which was lost.”
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society dismantled some of the station buildings at Wormit and re-erected them at Bo’ness on the south bank of the Forth estuary.
They are still in use today by the society’s heritage railway.