Obituary Kenneth Fraser Chalmers, Rail Stalwart

Kenny Chalmers, Rail Infrastructure Director UK, at Spencer Rail, passed away suddenly in May this year.

Kenny was born on April 20, 1959 in Perth. He joined British Rail in 1977 as an 18 year old working in the Perth Area Civil Engineer’s office. Hard working Kenny Chalmers made good progress as a P-Way technician and later transferred to the Area Civil Engineers North West organisation in Glasgow. The job took Kenny all over the West Highlands, the Glasgow North Electrics, the West Highland Line – Oban, Mallaig and Fort William. It was a tough job with atrocious weather conditions in winter. The WHL has long isolated stretches of track with limited  vehicular access. However Kenny Chalmers was always a real asset to the teams he worked with and as a track engineer started moving up through the grades. From technical officer he was promoted Senior Technical Officer and eventually Principal Technical Officer. In 1997, following privatisation he transferred into the Scotland Track Renewal Unit which became the Scotland Track Renewal Company. This team achieved success as part of the Relayfast Group, a management buy out, the name is a fitting tribute to the ability of Kenny and his colleagues to expedite the most trying of projects. When Jarvis took over Kenny was promoted to Production Manager maintaining high standards and legendary competence for track renewal across Scotland and indeed around the UK including Manchester, Wigan and London. In March 2010, following the Jarvis descent into administration Kenny was snapped up by C Spencer Ltd where he quickly rose to become Rail Infrastructure Director UK. Now operating all over Britain he was often away from home and took an apartment in London. However he was a committed family man never happier than when back at home in Glasgow or on holiday in the family apartment in Side, Turkey with his wife and two sons. He was particularly proud of his grand-daughter, Megan who made a recent visit to London to see him. Other interests centred on sports – he played tennis, badminton and also enjoyed golf. In the winter he skiied, often visiting the French and Italian Alps. Although a lifelong Glasgow Rangers supporter, Kenny adopted Arsenal as his “London” team and often enjoyed going to The Emirates.

Kenny Chalmers, Spencer Group


Although he spent many weekends and nights out on possessions far from home, Kenny suffered a sudden heart attack whilst at home in Glasgow with his family.

Says colleague, Alister Fraser,  ‘He lived life to the full and won the respect and admiration of a generation of railwaymen and women that had the pleasure of working with him. He was renowned for his technical knowledge and his ability to get the best from anyone who worked with him. The industry and all who came in contact with Kenny shall miss him very much.’

More than 600 of Kenny’s family, friends and work colleagues came together at his funeral to celebrate his life and salute the service of a great railwayman. Kenny’s legacy includes the immense number of projects that he led and delivered throughout his 37-year railway career. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and colleagues who had the privilege of knowing him.

Such was Kenny’s passion and his sense of duty towards the railways, that his family kindly nominated the Railway Benefit Fund as one of the charities that donations would be given to.  The British Heart Foundation also received a donation. Mourners gave £1050 to the RBF and £1000 to the BHF.

Kenny is survived by his wife, Dawn and his two sons, Scott and Gary.