Real Lives: Plaque to ‘voice of Scottish rail passengers’ is unveiled

From left, Anthony Smith of Passenger Focus, Christine Knights, Steve Montgomery and Katie King
From left, Anthony Smith of Passenger Focus, Christine Knights, Steve Montgomery and Katie King
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A special tribute to James King, “the voice of Scottish rail passengers”, has been unveiled in a poignant ceremony at North Berwick Station.

A plaque was unveiled in memory of Mr King, Scottish Board Member of Passenger Focus, the independent watchdog. Mr King, 60, died in June.

The plaque was unveiled by his widow, Katie, and by Christine Knights, a former Passenger Focus Board member, and reads: In Memory of James A. King, The Voice of Scottish Rail Passengers, 1951-2011.”

Mrs King said: “I am very proud and honoured that the railway industry, in association with North Berwick in Bloom, has paid tribute to James’ memory in this way and at a location with which he was closely associated. He would be so ‘chuffed’.”

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “James was the voice of Scottish rail passengers and played a key role in providing independent chairmanship of our customer forums. His consuming passion was the railways – and the people he represented.”

Mr King was born and raised in Lasswade Midlothian and attended Lasswade Primary School before going on to Melville College. He later earned a BA in economics and marketing from Strathclyde University.

He became a marketing consultant and business strategist and in 1972 moved to London to work in the rapidly expanding advertising industry. Over the next seven years he worked on accounts for big-name clients including the British Army, British Caledonian and Volvo.

He took up the post of business development director at Hall Advertising upon his return to Scotland and went on to open an Edinburgh office for the global agency Ogilvy & Mather.

His true passion, however, was always the railways, particularly steam engines, and he regularly took part in weekend excursions. He was also a keen collector of railway memorabilia and a long-standing member of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society.

The couple lived latterly in North Berwick and Mr King, a committed Christian, was an elder at St Andrew Blackadder Church of Scotland.