Variety north of the border
A Scottish trip
3/4/5 August 2000  
Back Contact Geoff Jack drifts down towards Leadhills station
The opportunity arose for a drive up to Edinburgh in early August, with free accommodation to boot - "I could stay a couple of nights and make it a railway outing....." Thursday 3rd August: With business in the Scottish capital over by early afternoon, we set out in search of rail interest. First target would be the Sinclair Horticulture peat lines south of Penicuik. Three sites are listed in the excellent 12EL "Industrial Locomotives" published by the Industrial Railway Society. Firstly we tried Auchencorth, where the railway was useable, but not in use today (RH462365 of 1960 is seen above). "There are a couple
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
of locos in use at the Whim". So next call was Whim Moss, where sure enough we found some action, involving a fairly modern Keef loco (47 of 1994), and a fairly ancient-looking Motor-Rail "Simplex" (MR22253 of 1965). Steve, my companion for the trip, fancied a look at the east coast main line, so our next port of call was the electrified route near Prestonpans. We had some difficulty finding a decent photographic location (the light was "all wrong") so after a few token snaps, we moved on to have a quick look at the Prestongrange Mining Museum. 12EL lists nine locomotives here, but they were all locked up, so once again it was a few "token snaps" of the historic site before moving on. After some navigational difficulties (the Edinburgh southern bypass and associated roads post-date my OS maps....) we found the road which crosses the railway just to the north of Millerhill yard, and spent an hour or so in the warm early evening sunshine, hoping for a train to head out of the yard. None did, of course, though a couple of trains sneaked in from the north - both 66 hauled. And that was it for Thursday - apart from a quick shower, a pint (Caledonian "Deuchar's" - very pleasant) and a bite to eat...
Whim Moss The Keef loco trundles back along the main line with some noisy empties, then heads away towards the moss. It shunts into a siding to let the Motor-Rail propel the next trainload of peat to the wagon tipper. The MR has a cap on its exhaust pipe - which goes tap-tap-tap as the engine idles...
66162 arrives at Millerhill Auchencorth Moss - RH462365/1960 Wagons at Prestongrange Keef 47 of 1994 at Whim Moss Motor-Rail 22253 of 1965 at Whim Moss
Friday 4rd August: First on our itinerary for Friday were a couple more peat lines - firstly, Sinclair's site at Gardrum Moss, to the south of Falkirk. We needn't have bothered - the site was closed. "How about a quick look at Grangemouth?" Well, Grangemouth wasn't closed, but we couldn't see any activity, so on we went to the other peat line, L&P's site at Letham Moss, to the north of Falkirk. Two locomotives had been in use earlier in the day, but by the time we arrived (about 10:30am) they had been put away. Not a very good start to the day. The active locos, seen in the shed, are much-rebuilt Motor- Rails, along with a useable Lister Blackstone. The most modern locomotive on site, a Motor-Rail of 1969, was dumped in a dismantled state out in the yard. I had been aware of the Summerlee Heritage Park at Coatbridge for several years, always intending to look in on the  past, and never quite getting around to it. Today I achieved that objective. Summerlee is a venture of the local authority, Monklands District Council, and admission is free (but would be well worth a substantial entry fee). The site is devoted to local industry, much of which now exists in memory only. Of particular interest
to railway enthusiasts are the electric tramway and the collection of steam locomotives, including Sentinel "Robin", ex Tennants of Wishaw, and the beautiful Hudswell Clarke No 9 from Bedlay Colliery. I photographed both of these in action in the 1970s,  and was pleased to see them again, though sadly they are not (yet?) in working order. The other steam locomotive on site is the enormous 4-8-2+2-8-4 Beyer Garratt no. 4112 "Springbok", built by North British at Hyde Park works in 1957. We had a quick lunchtime snack in the excellent cafe, then steered a course for Mossend "There's a spot near the south end of the yard - we should see one or two freights". We didn't, of course, though several multiple units, and one light engine (60001) scuttled through the complex junction. The light was pretty grim, too, so after an hour or so we headed eastwards again, to catch the end of the day's activity on the Bo'ness and Kinneil railway. We were in time to see the return working of the last steam train, which duly appeared in the charge of 65243 "Maude" the ex-NBR 0-6-0, LNER cl. J36. "If I'd realised Maude was in action today, we wouldn't have bothered with Mossend" I suggested to Steve. The last train of the day is diesel hauled - on this occasion by 27 001, in blue livery (never my favourite...). The gantry at the station approach made for a reasonable shot on its return to Bo'ness. "The new class 170 units are in use on the Edinburgh - Glasgow trains - we ought to get a picture of one while we're up here". We managed a snap of a couple of units near Linlithgow, then, duty done, we headed for Queensferry for a look at the bridge. Taking the road to the shore, we managed a couple of shots from the harbour. Most of the traffic across the bridge is in the hands of multiple units, though Steve's timetable indicated a northbound HST in about an hour.  "Let's go up to Dalmeny station and try a shot there, then come back down here and get the HST" "We could probably find something decent to eat too" I replied. Up at Dalmeny, we were rewarded with 66242 on an empty coal train; back at Queensferry the HST seemed to take an age before it finally rumbled out across the bridge. At last we could head for refreshment - the Hawes Inn providing good food and drink, and an interesting selection of photos of the construction of the bridge So - back to Edinburgh, where we managed to sneak another couple of pints of the excellent Caledonian "Deuchar's" ale (The Abbey in South Clerk Street providing a suitable venue). Tomorrow - home again...
27001 arrives at Bo'ness "Maude" beside the Forth, Bo'ness 66 242 at Dalmeny 170 401 heads east near Linlithgow HST and pillar box, Queensferry Letham Moss peat works - loco shed The Forth Bridge from Queensferry Brussels 9062 and the Garratt Ex-industrial steam locos
Bo'ness: Maude drifts towards Bo'ness; 27001 chugs up the bank with the day's last train
Saturday 5th August ... via the west coast route near Abington, where traffic was reasonably busy for a Saturday morning. As usually seems to happen, a interesting-looking freight headed north in the charge of a 92, before we stopped beside the line to see several more trains, including a postal 325, and 60 001 on a lengthy train of tanks. We then headed across country to Leadhills, where I fancied a look at the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, a 2ft gauge line being built on the trackbed of the long-closed standard gauge branch. We arrived before the first train of the day, and there being no-one around, took a few snaps and departed (making a mental note to look in again one day). A derelict concrete viaduct on the unrestored part of the line was worth a picture too, before rejoining the M74 and heading south. We didn't travel too far, making a call at one of the superb bakers in Moffat for lunchtime snacks and a few supplies for the deep freeze. There remained one further objective before the final drive home - another 2ft gauge setup on a former standard gauge line, this time across the border in England, the South Tynedale
Railway based at Alston. Our road from Carlisle proved to be interesting, following the route of the historic Brampton Railway from Brampton to the South Tyne Valley. Arriving at Alston, we checked the afternoon's workings before driving a mile or so north to get a couple of "train in the landscape" pictures, then back to Alston for a few more snaps. Today's locomotive was "Helen Kathryn", a most attractive little Henschel 0-4-0 well tank, built in 1948. This line is well worth a visit, with attractive stock and scenery - again, another visit with a bit more time seems worthwhile. Just one more venue to check out now - "Hazel's Cafe" in the station at Alston, for coffee and a sticky bun, then home again, via the high road to Penrith, and the joys of the M6. Links: Industrial Railway Society Prestongrange Museum Summerlee Heritage Park Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway South Tynedale Railway
60 001 near Abington Leadhills station Viaduct on the L&WR near Elvanfoot South Tynedale Rly "train in the landscape" "Helen Kathryn" at Alston