The Great Train Race
Galashiels Station Interchange
The show tells the story of the 1895 rivalry between the North British railway company, based in Edinburgh, and the racier and more glamorous Caledonian, based in Glasgow, which culminated in a fierce competition to achieve the shortest journey time from London to Aberdeen.
The story is presented in the style of a highly informative pantomime, with friendly Cammie of the Caledonian trying to whip up popular feeling against the more establishment-minded North British, represented by Waverley station clerk Norrie; there are boos, cheers, and – in Galashiels – roars of approval for references to the railway history of the Borders.
Occasionally the writing soars to heights that still the laughter, including a fabulous description of the sheer drama and heroism of a life on the footplate of a great locomotive. As Simon Donaldson and Ali Watt deliver perfectly-matched performances as Cammie and Norrie, Richard Baron’s production emerges as a celebration and pleasure – perhaps to be revived again, around the Borders, before too long.