End of an iconic main line
Last Day of the Waverley Route
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Driving north one comes to the end of the M6 (a good thing, people might say) just to the north of Carlisle, where a short stretch of dual carriageway links to the southern end of the M74 at Gretna. Just past junction 44, there is (fairly well hidden) a bridge over a disused railway line, and on the other side of the road, a low embankment heads northwards. In January 1969, I travelled along this line - on the last day of the Waverley route to Edinburgh. Three routes to the Scottish lowland belt from Carlisle had been deemed one too many... I travelled with a friend from school, having persuaded parents to deliver us to Leeds, where we joined the RCTS-organised trip, consisting of MkII stock, hauled by D9007 "Pinza". It would be my first trip north of the border, and the first real outing for the newly-acquired (second-hand) 35mm camera, an Arrette 1B, complete with 45mm lens (fixed), focus by scale and guesswork, and built-in light meter - wow! I seem to recall it cost £15 (or was it guineas?) - a lot of money for those days. The film used was Perutz 50ASA transparency - it was all I could afford! The slides have since faded somewhat, but a bit of tweaking has brought back some of the colour, and repaired some of the exposure errors too. The trip was an "out-and-back" via the Settle-Carlisle, where we joined the ex-NBR route. We would make three stops on the north-bound journey - first at Riccarton Junction, where the trackbed of the former route to Hexham could be clearly seen. On leaving Riccarton, we would climb to Whitrope Summit - very, very slowly. The rails had been greased... Next stop was the first place of any real consequence on the line, Hawick. A Clayton diesel, D8606, stood in the sidings with a brake van, presumably ready to round up stray rolling stock*. From Hawick, the line enters more populous country, centred on the town of Galashiels** - and it is from here that, with a bit of luck, a revived "mini-Waverley" may see passenger services to Edinburgh. We would not be stopping however - our last stop was Fountainhall, formerly junction for the Lauder branch. Just the climb over Falahill summit remained (no grease this time) before
Geoff’s Rail Diaries
the descent to Edinburgh, past the smouldering tips of the collieries (Lady Victoria?) to the south of the capital. I seem to recall a quick leg-stretch on Princes Street, before returning to the train. Our journey home would be mostly in the dark, though a bright moon further south gave us some interesting views of the high Pennines. I remember the "Deltic" didn't hang about in the northern stretches of the Settle - Carlisle - I'm sure we were in the high 90s at times, if not more (or were we travelling on short rails? Confirmation, anyone?). A great day out - even though the occasion was somewhat less happy. Footnote: this page has proved to be one of the most popular on the entire "Geoff's Pages" website. In response to my many correspondents, I've dug into the archives and found two more pictures, which have been duly scanned and added to the page. One (the vertical shot at Fountainhall) was somewhat underexposed, and took some "tweaking" to get the moderately acceptable image seen here. I'm not sure it adds much value to the page. The other - the vertical shot "On the Waverley - border country" was OK photographically, though the comment re. value applies to this one too. And that's really it - I wish I'd had a couple of rolls of film, and taken more pictures of the various building and structures. * Or so I thought at the the time. Although the line south of Hawick to Longtown closed completely w.e.f. 6 Jan ‘69, freight services continued to ply  northwards from Hawick until 28 April ‘69. In the meantime, the very last train over the full line, the 21.56 Edinburgh - St. Pancras sleeper, was preceded from Hawick by a pilot to “prove the line”, following activities by protestors. I’m guessing that D8606 performed this duty. **The first public trains on the new “Borders Railway” from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank (just south of Galashiels) runs on Sunday 6th September. Watch this space... Links: The Waverley Route Heritage Association Bruce McCartney's Waverley Route photos on "monorail"
5 Jan 1969
On the S&C - Dent Head box (I think....) On the Waverley - border country Approaching Riccarton - the Hexham line curves in from the right Pinza at Riccarton Junction The gallery - photographers and Pinza, Riccarton Hawick - D9007 and Hawick South box Hawick station and southbound DMU D8606 - scavenger at Hawick Fountainhall Fountainhall - view from the box Fountainhall - Box and Deltic On arrival at Waverley I thought I'd lost this - it turned up very recently during a clear-out
Fast forward: 6 September 2015 - the 9.11am from Waverley to Tweedbank was the first public train from the Scottish capital to Galashiels for over 46 years (it was the first such train to Tweedbank ever - there wasn’t a station there before closure). I was on it. It was obligatory, wasn’t it? See: By Gala Water First Day of the Waverley Route
9.11am from Waverley at Tweedbank, 6 Sept 2015
The Borders Railway: