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Cab drive for Albert

A Helensburgh man has realised his boyhood dream of driving a train, at the age of 86.

Albert McLean’s daughter set up the trip, at ScotRail’s train cab simulator centre underneath Glasgow Central Station.

The simulators are detailed and realistic showing scenarios ranging from a blizzard in winter to a train rounding a bend where a potential problem could lie ahead.

Under the guidance of simulator centre staff, Albert took control of a Class 170 diesel train, often seen on the Glasgow Queen Street-Edinburgh Waverley route. The former coalman, originally from Garelochhead, would make a great driver.

‘Albert was brilliant. He picked everything up really quickly and had no problem handling all the scenarios we gave him.

He drove through fog, snow and rain, more than most drivers have to handle in a single day,’ said Malcolm Cook, the simulator centre manager. ‘We were delighted to help in making his boyhood dream come true.’

Shirley, Albert’s youngest daughter, said, ‘I never expected the staff at ScotRail to go out of their way so much to give my dad this experience. He helps care for my mum and I try to arrange some unusual days out to give him a break. This was perfect.

‘I would like to say a huge thank you to Malcolm and the other staff at the simulator for helping to set the visit up and for being so welcoming on the day.’

Albert McLean still works part time for an estate agent. He said, ‘I had a wonderful day. I can’t believe how realistic it was. I’ve always wanted to drive a train or ride in the driver’s cab and I can imagine it was as close to driving the real thing as I could get.’

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