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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Obituary - George Train

George Charles Train, formerly secretary of the Faculty of Actuaries and of the Associated Scottish Life Offices, died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep in the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, on Monday 25 September, aged 73. His funeral service was at Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh on Wednesday 4 October.

Only child of a Carstairs headmaster, George was born in Coatbridge in 1933 and became Dux of Lanark Grammar at the early age of 16, subsequently winning a high place in the bursary competition for entry into Glasgow University in 1950. He graduated MA honours in maths and political economy in 1954. Having been persuaded to become an actuarial student by Douglas McKinnon (later Faculty president) of Scottish Mutual, George showed his independence of spirit by joining Scottish Amicable, qualifying FFA in 1960 while on national service teaching maths at the RAF Technical College, Henlow. In 1962 he became assistant actuary at Scottish Provident in London, moving to Edinburgh in 1965 to take up the posts of assistant secretary of the Faculty and of the Associated Scottish Life Offices. In 1966 he became secretary in both posts.

In 1974 Wallace Mair took over as Faculty secretary, with George remaining as secretary to ASLO until 1985, when increasing ill-health forced his retirement. He maintained his links with the Faculty by attending sessional meetings and having lunch with the current Faculty secretary every few months, but his underlying frailness was always apparent and it finally overcame his spirit.

George met his wife-to-be Wendy at a Scottish country dancing class in London. They married in 1964. Their first son Ian was born in London in 1965, and their second son Alistair in 1966 in Edinburgh. Tragically he lost his wife to cancer in 1986. A devout member of the Church of Scotland all his life, he found consolation in continued regular attendance at the services in Blackhall St Columba’s Church, where he and Wendy had worshipped together since settling into the parish on return from England.

George’s abiding passion outside the profession, inherited from his father, was with public passenger transport, in which both his sons work, and he developed a labyrinthine knowledge of the British railway system and its timetables. Trams and buses were another preoccupation, and he founded the Scottish branch of the Omnibus Society, but it will be in connection with coastal steamers that he will best be remembered. George was one of the founders in 1964 of the Coastal Cruising Association, organising many of its ‘big ship’ charters and subsequently becoming its president. He was also a founding director, and funder, in 1974 of the Waverley Steam Navigation Company, owners of the last ocean-going Clyde paddle steamer, and it was fitting that on the day of his funeral Waverley steamed up the Thames with the union flag at half-mast in his honour.