An era has come to an end at Elgin railway station with the demolition of a signal box that has stood by the tracks for 70 years.
The small hut’s destruction, in the early hours of this morning, was a poignant moment for signalman Norman Green.
The Elgin resident finished his final shift there late last night, and is now retiring.
The last Inverness-bound train passed the spot at 11.30pm, and the cabin was closed for good at midnight.
Mr Green lives directly across the road from what was his workplace, and yesterday reflected on 17 happy years there.
Mr Green said: “My brother worked in the railway, and I would often joke to him that working in the signal box would be ideal for me given my address.
“I had worked in management in the whisky industry for 30 years, and when I lost that job things just fell into place.
“This has been a really good job, and I will miss the work.”
The demolition of the Elgin West signal box also marks the end of a rail tradition stretching back to Victorian times.
The key system, whereby a signalman hands a brass token to the train driver as he passes, is now only used at a handful of locations in the UK.
The token is needed to enter a section of single track, and only one is held by any one train at any time, so that there is only one train on the track to avoid collisions.
Mr Green described the practice as a “failsafe” method of ensuring safety and keeping thing running smoothly.
But it will now be replaced with a digital version.
He said: “It is the end of an era, in a way.
“This system dates back to the very early days of the railway.”
The Elgin City FC fan plans to visit family in Canada during his retirement, as well as spending more time with his wife Margaret and pet collie Suzie.
The signal box was knocked down at about 6am, as 10 days of intensive work on the rail line between Inverness and Keith got under way.