Edinburgh to Carlisle : mile by mile
A TRAVELOGUE OVER THE WAVERLEY ROUTE
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The station that we all know today as Waverley was rebuilt from the original stations of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway and the North British Railway between the years 1892 & 1900. This involved raising the track bed to over 30 feet above the original track level, in order that the station comply with the law of “Ancient Lights”, or the “Right to Light” as it is more commonly known.
At the same time the North Bridge, which spans the station, was rebuilt from the original round stone arches to it’s wider metal arches still very much in evidence.
After purchasing the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway, the North British Railway took control of the new station, including the additional merger of Canal Street station of the Edinburgh, Leith & Newhaven Railway to the north. With their ownership of the East Coast route to Berwick, further lines to the north, and south to Hawick over their Edinburgh & Hawick Railway, the North British Railway were to become the largest Scottish railway company prior to grouping in 1923.
Towering directly above the north of Waverley station are both the Scott Monument, dedicated to Sir Walter Scott whose “Waverley” novels formed the basis of the name for the Route & the station, and also the former Calton Jail. Still looking as imposing today as when in use as a jail, beneath the eastern end of the ramparts are the twin Calton Tunnels. This is where the lines east from Waverley escape the city centre on a falling 1 in 78 gradient – the steepest of all the sections on the East Coast Main Line from Kings Cross.
ST. MARGARET’S SHED
A rather strange shed was run by the North British to serve both the East Coast & the Waverley Route, in that it was split completely in two by the main line passing through the middle. Rather awkwardly, the turntable and sheds were on opposing sides.
Spare parts for this shed were in the former days sent purposely via the Caledonian, so as to avoid use of the Waverley Route by companies loyal to the Caledonian.
The site of this shed has now disappeared under several new developments and little remains to be seen unfortunately. Keep an eye out for the large blocks of flats.
Now three miles east of Waverley station and on a 1 in 300 descent came Portobello, although the station was on a slightly curved short level stretch.
There were also yards for freight traffic and it was at Portobello East Junction that the East Coast Main Line and the Waverley Route diverged, although the old signal box and latticed bridge no longer remain. This is where we venture south
Some of the lines that still exist can be found at Niddrie. These linked the Waverley Route with the Edinburgh Suburban line and also lines that used to run to Leith Docks, the track bed of the latter now in use as a flyover for the main road to Leith.
Three junctions formed a triangle which was capable of directing traffic in virtually any direction around Edinburgh, from almost any route, until their prime use was no longer required in the 1960s and 1970s although they do still exist for infrequent usage.
When the British Railways Modernisation Plan was announced in 1955 it included the provision for a new large freight handling facility at Millerhill to the south of Niddrie. This was to replace the existing Niddrie and Portobello yards and would also link with the new planned yard at Carlisle Kingmoor and also directly with the East Coast Main Line. Ironically it was also in 1955 that the passenger service to Millerhill was withdrawn. So much for modernisation.
From the southern end of Millerhill came the branch for Glencorse, which headed in a south-westerly direction. It was originally used for mineral workings but was taken over by the North British Railway in 1877 and used for both freight & passengers.
The line survived until fairly recently, with the last remaining stub finally closing in 1997.
Climbing on a 1 in 218 grade from Millerhill, Glenesk Junction was where the line to Dalkeith branched off to the east. Dalkeith station closed to passengers on 5th January 1942, with the goods traffic continuing until 10th August 1964.
ESKBANK & DALKEITH
Still climbing south, on a 1 in 228 gradient, and 8 miles from Edinburgh, the station at Eskbank had the name “Dalkeith” added following closure of the branch station to Dalkeith in 1942, as mentioned previously.
The original route of the old Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway, which the North British acquired in 1847, together with the Marquis of Lothian’s Waggonway, was followed south from here with the original being a 4′ 6″ horse drawn mineral railway.
A passenger service commenced from here as early as 2nd June 1832, 15 years prior to the purchase by the North British Railway when it was subsequently converted to standard gauge
This was the northern junction for the loop line to Peebles and the Penicuik line which came off the loop at Hawthornden Junction. The line to Penicuik closed at the end of March 1967.
Also at Hardengreen Junction was a shed providing assistance in the form of banking locomotives for both the Peebles loop, a steeply graded line in certain places, and for the run south up Falahill on the Waverley Route.
The junction was at the end of the 1 in 228 section, which a few hundred yards south would turn into the first three miles of unbroken 1 in 70 which was the start of Falahill proper.
This replaced the original “Dalhousie” station, 1½ mile up the 1 in 70 gradient. Dalhousie was situated at the north end of the viaduct here, known as Newbattle or Lothianbridge, but was replaced with Newtongrange slightly north and 10 miles from Edinburgh. The viaduct still remains, being almost ¼ mile long with 22 spans, the only major construction on this first section from Edinburgh.
At the end of a short level stretch, Gorebridge was the terminus for all the local trains, 12 miles south of Edinburgh. The line is now severed by the A7 trunk road just to the west of here, at Shank Bridge.
The hamlet of Fushiebridge had it’s own small station until 1943, a mile south of Gorebridge and on a 1 in 111 gradient to the south. This was the definitive start of Borthwick Bank, the curving and arduous climb of 3¾ miles of 1 in 70.
At 16 miles from Edinburgh, ¾ mile from the end of the 1 in 70 climb, and probably a bane of loco crews, came Tynehead, a small wayside station. It was situated in a deep cutting on an untypical straight section of line. Most services to Tynehead were cut in the 1950s & 1960s.
Just over 18 miles south of Edinburgh Waverley came the summit of Falahill, 880 feet above sea level. Reached from the north by a mile of 1 in 100, at the summit was a fairly extensive set of sidings together with a signal box.
The summit itself was a ¼ mile level stretch which became a falling 1 in 132 to the south where it passed under the old A7 trunk road, this now having been lowered, widened and straightened.
One of the unique Scottish stations, Heriot’s platforms were staggered, either side of the B709 level crossing, the down platform and signal box to the north, a lonely up platform to the south. From Heriot, at 19¼ miles from Edinburgh, the descent south was a varied gradient from 1 in 110 to 1 in 150 with several short level stretches.
Three miles south of Heriot came Fountainhall. This was the junction for the Lauder Light Railway which wound it’s way through several valleys, through Oxton, to Lauder; a branch of approximately 9 miles which closed in 1932 to passengers and in 1958 for goods. A manual level crossing existed over the A7 for this line, being operated by the train’s guard.
Very few photos exist of the Lauder Light Railway in operation. It was on this branch that tank locos were forced to haul borrowed tenders to carry their water, rather than risk the extra axle loading weight on the locomotive by having water in the side tanks.
After a further 4 miles of falling 1 in 150 to 1 in 200 came the next station at the village of Stow, 26½ miles from Edinburgh. This station was situated on a severe curve, which restricted the speed of passing trains. From Heriot, Fountainhall and through Stow the railway crossed over the Gala Water as many as 15 times before it reached Galashiels. Most of these bridges still exist, although some are in better condition than others.
Another small hamlet with it’s own wayside station, Bowland, at 30 miles south of Edinburgh, was reached by passing through the only major tunnel on this northern section of the route. Bowshank Tunnel, at 249 yards, cut through the eastern spur of Bowshank Hill and was the point where the route crossed the bow of the Gala Water, with latticed girder bridges situated at both tunnel portals.
2½ miles south of Bowland, after passing through the short Torwoodlee Tunnel, Kilnknowe Junction was where the Peebles loop rejoined the Waverley Route slightly north west of Galashiels. It’s amazing to think that Peebles lost its services as long as forty years ago, in February 1962.
At approximately 33½ miles south of Edinburgh, and in the central Borders, came the first major centre of population, Galashiels. With around 14,000 inhabitants Galashiels provided the majority of the traffic for the route in both passenger and freight terms.
Situated around the Gala Water, a River Tweed tributary, this is the capital of “Scott Country”, for it was Sir Walter Scott with his “Waverley” novels that inspired the name for the route as it passed through the countryside romanticised in the Bard’s works.
Galashiels is also the administrative centre for Selkirkshire and was one of the principal seats of the Scottish wool industry, famous throughout the world for its quality tweeds.
Here was an extensive set of sidings, a sub shed of St. Margarets which never really considered itself as a sub-shed and originally no fewer than five signal boxes, ultimately replaced by a single ‘box at the north end of the station. The station sat on a falling 1 in 120 gradient to the south, with a slight curvature. The site of the station was eventually razed, after becoming home to the National Parcels Service for quite some time after the closure.
Now though, even the route is indistinguishable, with only the old retaining walls still in position, flanking the A7 on the north-western side of the town. The A7 itself has taken over from the old route in places, and the only real remnant at the site of the station is that of Station Brae bearing down into Galashiels from the north, carrying the road from Gattonside & Langlee.
One mile south of Galashiels station was the junction for Selkirk. This line, opened in April 1856, had two intermediate stations; Abbotsford Ferry, where passengers could alight to take the short ferry trip across the River Tweed and visit Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, and Lindean. This line closed in September 1951 to passengers, with freight surviving until November 1964.
A further 2½ miles, and after crossing Redbridge viaduct and passing Darnick Sidings, came the Royal Borough of Melrose, 37 miles from Edinburgh. Situated on a 1 in 200 gradient, now rising to the south, this was probably the most elegant of all the stations on the Waverley Route, with ornate overhanging roofs and magnificent hanging globes. It was also situated on a rare level stretch of line right alongside Melrose Abbey, the home of Robert the Bruce’s heart’s grave.
Since the line closed though, the down platform and associated station buildings have disappeared with the A6091 trunk road having been constructed. The up platform and massive station building still exists though, serving as a base for several small businesses and also as a nice place to sit and relax – watching all the road traffic go speeding by.
This was the junction for the line that ran east, over the massive Leaderfoot viaduct which remains today, to Reston, north of Berwick-upon-Tweed on the East Coast Main Line.
Opened in November 1865 following problems with the construction of the Leaderfoot viaduct, it linked Greenlaw, Duns and Chirnside with the East Coast ports and the central Borders.
During devastating floods in 1948 a section of track at a bridge to the east of Greenlaw was completely washed away and the line was never reopened as a through route, being operated as two stubs from either end instead.
At 40½ miles from Edinburgh came the next station at St. Boswells. Situated at the end of a falling 1 in 150 gradient, the line to the south turned into an immediate 1 in 245 rising gradient, giving the driver & fireman of locos heading in either direction immediate work to get away from the station.
Here stood a two-road engine shed, being a sub shed of Hawick, and an adjacent water tower. Sidings were also provided here, as there was plenty of livestock and general freight traffic to be catered for.
Fortunately the shed still survives along with the up platform and it’s south bay for Roxburgh & Kelso, and also the large water tower, although both roads to the shed were bricked up before closure of the route. A further reminder of the dip in the line that was St. Boswells is to be had slightly south of the station in the form of the old concrete and wood gradient sign.
The line from the junction ventured east through Roxburgh, where an 8½ mile southern branch ventured off to Jedburgh. The line continued from Roxburgh east through Kelso, past Velvet Hall and on to Tweedmouth.
It was built in two sections, the first being from Kelso to Tweedmouth courtesy of the Newcastle & Berwick Railway, and from St. Boswells to Kelso by the North British Railway, opening in June 1851. The passenger services were withdrawn from the line in June 1964, with freight surviving between Kelso & Tweedmouth until March 1965, and St. Boswells to Kelso until March 1968. The Jedburgh branch had already lost it’s passenger services in the August of 1948, but it was a further 16 years before the daily freight service ceased to be, in the August of 1964.
Main line expresses came to the line in 1948 when flooding to the East Coast Main Line meant trains had to be sent via the Waverley Route and Kelso Junction. This saw the longest ever British non stop steam record being achieved on no fewer than seventeen occasions when the drivers of “Capitals Limited” stormed Falahill without banking assistance and then continued south without taking a booked water stop at Galashiels. They continued as far as the water troughs at Lucker before taking on water, this being the first available opportunity – and all this with a Gresley A4. Smart work indeed.
From St. Boswells the line took an undulating course, past the site of the old Charlesfield Halt, with rising gradients from 1 in 245 to 1 in 120/200 and short level stretches prior to dropping after 2½ miles on a falling 1 in 120 and passing Greenend Siding.
2 miles later the line crossed Ale Viaduct, over Ale Water, and shortly afterwards the small wayside station at Belses, a hamlet between Lilliesleaf & Ancrum. This was situated on a rising ¾ mile stretch of 1 in 150, 45 miles from Edinburgh
After a further mile of rising 1 in 150 gradient from Belses, then ¾ mile of level section, came another set of sidings at Standhill. From here, descending on 1 in 175 to 1 in 150 for another 2 miles came the next small station of Hassendean. Still inhabited, complete with it’s North British footbridge, this was at 48¾ miles from Edinburgh.
A further descent for 4¼ miles at 1 in 150 to 1 in 200 saw the route strike the end of the first section, the Edinburgh & Hawick Railway
At 53 miles south of Edinburgh, and sat in a dip of a falling 1 in 160 to a rising 1 in 75, the line from Edinburgh opened to Hawick in November 1849. It would be another 13 years before trains could run further south, as a bitter battle was fought between the Caledonian Railway and the North British Railway for control of the southern Borders from Hawick to Carlisle.
Eventually, in 1859, the North British were granted the Act of Parliament and within six weeks began the task of building the next phase south to Carlisle, the Border Union Railway.
Hawick was another of the Scottish Border towns famous for its woollen products. Names such as Pringle, the famous golfer’s choice of clothing, were produced here, and the passing of a through route enabled the woollen mills to send their goods both north to Edinburgh and south to Carlisle.
The original station of the Edinburgh & Hawick Railway survived the new through route as it’s western goods yard, the new station being constructed on a curve, with platforms straddling the curving viaduct over the River Teviot. A massive embankment was created to enable the route to exit south from Hawick, although the viaduct and, quite remarkably, the embankment no longer exist instead making way for a road traffic relief scheme and supermarket car park.
The route south, over the embankment and curving also, at a rising 1 in 75 and 1 in 72 gradient was a most difficult section for steam locos to work away from, requiring banking assistance more often than not.
On the southern outer reaches of Hawick the line crossed Lynwood viaduct, spanning both Slitrig Water and the B6399 road to Newcastleton. Sadly after closure of the line this viaduct was the scene of stone, or should that be ballast, throwing local youths and the bridge was demolished to prevent further damage to either pedestrians or vehicles below.
With 4 miles of tough slogging at rising gradients varying between 1 in 72 and 1 in 250, together with speed restrictive curvature, was ensured a relatively slow journey from Hawick to the next station, Stobs. Just west of the station at Stobs lay Stobs Military Camp, accessed from the railway by a huge set of sidings to the north of the station. Governed by a signal box containing no less than 85 levers, this was the largest set of sidings between Edinburgh & Carlisle.
Stobs station itself sat at the south end of Barnes viaduct on a ¼ mile stretch of rising and curving 1 in 65, at 57 miles from Edinburgh. Like Hassendean to the north, Stobs still retains its North British footbridge although in a somewhat sorry state, the station having already become a lovely home.
The route south did not get any easier away from Stobs, but the surrounding countryside south of here was surely some of the most scenic. Passing Stobs Castle to the east, the route began to ride high above the Slitrig Water, making its own way north in the valley bottom towards the River Teviot at Hawick.
As the route wound its way south it passed the lovely Primrose Cottages , two small detached railway workers cottages , to the west of the line close by Milepost 58. Even more isolated, perhaps, was the tiny house next to the Slitrig Water itself, known as Elliots Field way down in the bottom of the valley a further ½ mile south. Still rising at gradients between 1 in 65 and 121 the line curved to the southeast, to come together again with the B6399 at Shankend Farm. Here, and still resplendent today, is the 15 arched, 597 feet long,Shankend viaduct, itself sitting on the 1 in 121 gradient.
Just south of the viaduct, in a not too dissimilar fashion to Stobs, was Shankend station. Perched high up on an embankment carved into the side of Shankend Hill, the station sat at 59¾ miles from Edinburgh on a short stretch of 1 in 250.South from here, the line was about to hit some beautiful, yet desolate, countryside. Shankendshiel was no place for a train to get stuck in wild weather. On a continuous rising 1 in 75 for 2½ miles south, the line was now over a mile away from the nearest road.
Suddenly, from the lush greenery and windswept hillsides came darkness. The line plunged abruptly into the northern portal of Whitrope Tunnel, the fourth longest tunnel in Scotland, carved through the hillside of Sandy Edge at a constant gradient of 1 in 96 for almost ¾ mile – still rising. Coursing left then right, passing Milepost 63 rendered almost invisible in the blackness, the tunnel continued until striking the cold, fresh air at the south portal, with its massive brick retaining walls. Still climbing, it took almost another curving ¼ mile to reach the top of the climb, with the 63½ mile post sitting precisely in the middle of the 100 yards long level stretch – the world famous Whitrope Summit. Almost ¼ mile south of the summit on the now descending 1 in 90, past Whitrope Siding with it’s square signal box and surfacemen’s cottages, the route veered south east once again, passing the 63¾ mile post and over the B6399, the “Golden Bridge”, bridge 200. Curving down through Whitrope Cutting (sometimes known as Ninestane Rig Cutting), the line then became straight once past Milepost 64, which sat on the edge of the stone retaining wall. For a further ¼ mile the descent was at 1 in 90, but this turned to a 1 in 80, prior to curving south towards Milepost 65. The line reverse curved, once past the 65th Milepost, and the gradient became a steeper 1 in 75. Speed was restricted to 40 miles per hour on this section, which turned the line through 90 degrees to once again face east. The 1 in 75 continued, but just ¾ mile later came the next station.
At 65¾ miles from Edinburgh and some two miles from the nearest road was Riccarton Junction. Set on the 1 in 75 gradient, falling away to the south, here was the junction station for the Waverley Route and the Border Counties Line to Hexham, via Kielder and Reedsmouth.
Thirty four railway workers houses and a school house at one time provided shelter for over 150 people. This was a true railway colony, totally dependent on the railway, with no road access whatsoever until 1963 when a forest track was constructed. Only the school teacher was not directly employed by the railway.
The site of the station was built purely from ash brought to the site by horse and cart, and then by railway wagon once a line was laid. In certain places it was piled to over 60 feet and flattened out to give the massive space required for the site of the extensive junction. The Border Counties trains were provided with a bay platform at the south end of the station, until the withdrawal of passenger services from the line in October 1956. The Border Counties Line itself survived a further two years before all freight traffic was removed and the line closed. Another bay platform had originally existed at the northern end of the station, but was itself filled in sometime back in the early 1900s. Sadly, hardly anything now remains at Riccarton. Both signal boxes, the station buildings, sheds, houses and the smithy have all been destroyed, with only the school house remaining inhabited, and re-sold in 2003. The station master’s house had its roof removed and lintels taken away from above all the doorways some time ago, presumably by the present owners who are obviously keen to see it fall down, although the Waverley Route Heritage Association are now carrying out restoration work. Thousands of tonnes of ash were removed from the junction back in the 1980s to provide for breezeblock construction and Riccarton Junction is now hardly recognisable as the important place it once was.
We would have passed the north signal box on the left hand side, and then swept around the platform, under the footbridge to the village with the 65¾ mile post underneath. Still curving we pass through the station, past the buildings painted white with their unique telegraph pole sticking out of the roof. Past the cupressus tree at the head of the southern bay. Over the tracks for the Border Counties Line we then pass the south signal box, also on the left, and say goodbye to the line to Hexham and also to Riccarton Junction itself as we come to the next milepost, 66 miles from Edinburgh, where the line turns to face south. Sweeping along the flanks of Bell Hill and Arnton Fell, the line became straight for just over ¼ mile, then curved left, right and left again for a further two miles, still with a gradient of 1 in 75, prior to carving its way over the bleak moorland towards the next station.
Set on a curve, at 69¾ miles from Edinburgh, and 4½ miles down the 1 in 75, was the tiny wayside station of Steele Road. This was a another rural location for trains to stop, which, on their way north, like Tynehead going south, would have been seen as a painful stopping place for crews of steam locomotives. With a tiny siding on the up line, together with a bus shelter like waiting room, Steele Road still managed to serve a district with very little else in the way of public transport, although buses connected from here to the Tyne Valley.
A signal box sat on the down line, just south of the station, where nowadays a forest track leads on to the old line.
Coursing south though, and over more bleak moorland, past the old ballast quarry at Mains and over Sandholm Viaduct on the approach to the Holm, the gradient eased to 1 in 125, 1 in 200, approaching 74 miles from Edinburgh.
Newcastleton, or Copshaw Holm, had been in existence for little under 70 years when the railway came. Set on the western bank of Liddel Water, the village was planned as a hand-weaving centre by the third Duke of Buccleuch, and dates from 1793. The railway adjoined the long, straight, main street by the side road to Langholm, off the Main Square.
A level crossing allowed the road and railway equal rights on this flattish section, on a 1 in 380 gradient, still falling to the south. This was the scene in January 1969 where there was uproar at the withdrawal of services and closure of the line. A pilot Clayton diesel was sent from Hawick to ensure smooth passage of the final train, the Night Midland sleeper from Edinburgh. But on arrival at Newcastleton the pilot found the level crossing gates locked against it, and several hundred villagers protesting on the crossing itself. The local minister, Reverend Brydon Maybon, led the protest and as such was taken into custody by the police. Acting as go between was the MP David Steele, himself travelling on the train. He bargained with the villagers and the police for release of the minister in return for the safe passage of the train. And so the Peak class diesel, D60 (later 45022 then 97409) “Lytham St.Annes” hauled the final scheduled service on its way out of Scotland towards the Border.
Passing through the station, under the footbridge then over the level crossing, with the station masters house on the southern down side; we then pass Milepost 74 as we head south. Heading for the main road, we dip underneath, although nowadays the bridge has been demolished and the road lowered in its place. Now on course to head over the Liddel Water we then begin to rise for ½ mile of 1 in 400. It is at Mangerton that we make our way over the Liddel Viaduct, also sadly demolished, and then pass the lonely railway workers cottages at Clerkleap.
After a further two miles running alongside the Liddel Water, on a falling 1 in 150 to 300, together with two level stretches, we then travel across the Kershope Burn. This is where Scotland gives way to England, or vice versa, depending on which direction one faces. Here stood splendid “England” and “Scotland” signs, either side of the Burn.
Just south, and the line crossed a level crossing before passing the signal box and pulling into the official Border station of Kershopefoot, almost 77½ miles from Edinburgh. From here the line continues to follow the Liddel Water south, on an undulating set of eleven different gradients, prior to reaching the next station.
At 81½ miles from Edinburgh, Penton was yet another hamlet with a station. Sat on a falling 1 in 100 gradient to the south there was a set of sidings and a yard on the up side. Shortly after the station the line become level for ¼ mile, as it passed under the road bridge to Harelaw, before once again falling on a 1 in 100 for a further 3 miles. A road sign here still points to “Penton Station” although sadly the “Station Road” signpost was replaced as recently as 2002.
Two miles down the 1 in 100 gradient was Riddings Junction, the junction station for the line that swung over the Liddel Water on a viaduct, north towards Langholm, via Canonbie & Gilnockie. This station was a mile away from the nearest village, Moat, although several farms in the area provided substantial goods traffic.
The layout of the station was a set of sidings on the up side, together with platform and signal box, at the south end of the station. An island platform was linked to the up platform via a foot bridge, here the trains for Edinburgh & Langholm were served on either side. This was the location where BR carried out a publicity stunt for the media, the Wednesday following closure. A section of track was lifted for the benefit of the Press, to separate the Midland & Scottish Regions, showing the world that BR meant business in closing the line. At Moat village the cast iron road sign points to “Riddings”, although under closer inspection it is revealed as “Riddings Station”, amazingly enough after all this time.
From Riddings Junction the line follows the 1 in 100 falling gradient previously mentioned for a further mile, past the Netherby estate of the late Sir John Graham (a staunch supporter of the railway in the 1850s/60s) prior to becoming level, then falling on a 1 in 600 and becoming level again. A ½ mile of rising 1 in 200, across Thistle Viaduct, saw the next station at Scotch Dyke, 86½ miles from Edinburgh.
This was a very small station, sitting between Kirkandrews Tower, a 17th century defensive tower, and the A7 major road. A signal box sat to the south of the station on the up line, although this has now been demolished.
The line ran south sandwiched between the River Esk and the A7, for a further 2 miles at falling 1 in 100, level, then 1 in 500 gradients
The long, steep gradients are just about over once the line runs into Longtown. Sat on the side of the River Esk, Longtown was the last town the line passed through on its way to Carlisle, on a level stretch at 88¾ miles from Edinburgh.
The town itself was on the eastern side of the River, with the Waverley Route on the opposite bank. The station sat on the northern side of the A7, and the signal box on the southern side, separated by the level crossing. Once past the signal box, the line diverged. To the west ran a spur line, an up freight line to the northern end of Carlisle Kingmoor and also the old connecting line to Gretna. To the south the Waverley Route continued, curving slightly, over the steel girder viaduct and the River Esk, then reverse curving onto the short stretches of undulating gradients varying between 1 in 100 & 1 in 300. At Fauldmoor Crossing the line ran through Hopesike Woods, a short, marshy stretch.
Three miles from Longtown, 91¾ miles from Edinburgh, the line ran through the tiny station ¼ mile west of Westlinton. This was named Lyneside, not for the railway but for the River Lyne, crossed by the railway ½ a mile previously. Here, the lower half of the signal box has been converted into a garage, and the station house still retains it’s air of North British quality.
The station was on a ½ mile section of level track, turning into a rising 1 in 300 immediately over the small level crossing for the country road to Floriston. Passing under two more minor roads, the line curved slightly to the south west on a rising 1 in 120 to 1 in 290.
At almost 94 miles from Edinburgh, Harker station was situated on one of the shortest level stretches since leaving Hawick, nearly 41 miles to the north. Here stood a small station which, together with Lyneside, closed in 1929.
Most fortunately, both the station house and the signal box are still intact and restored, although several trees are now trying their hardest to render them invisible from the road bridge over the platform.
Just over ½ mile south of Harker, the Halt at Parkhouse served primarily for RAF military traffic and personnel. Here the line ran underneath the old road to Gretna, a beautifully crafted cut sandstone arch taking the road north, just and so visible from the M6/A74 which has now severed the route completely. Despite this, parts of the platform still remain.
Spur lines ran to the adjacent RAF Depot, with signal box and spurs both situated on the down side.
Continuing south towards the outer reaches of Carlisle, the route ran past the 95th milepost on a rising 1 in 100. The reason for the slight climb was obvious though, as the West Coast Main Line ran directly underneath; Carlisle Kingmoor basking to the north.
Once over the Main Line, a steeply graded spur, which is still in place, faces north from the Waverley Route allowing traffic access between the two lines and Kingmoor Yard. To the south, the line ran straight, towards the Eden Viaduct. It is on this section, from Parkhouse, that remnants of the Waverley Route are still visible, although now as a single track. It sees occasional use for goods workings. Over the road to Kingmoor on Bridge 261, then 262 over the West Coast Main Line, running down to a single siding and buffer stop, the old Stainton reversing loops, ¼ mile north of Stainton.
Just south of here, the line approaches the Eden viaduct, although all traces of the line have gone, cows now quite comfortably lining the route.
CANAL AND PORT CARLISLE JUNCTIONS
The approach to Carlisle was made by a series of grinding, squealing curves, ensuring that flanges were tight to the rails.
At Canal Junction the old Canal shed sat on the western side of the line, with the imposing tower that was Canal Junction signal box sat between the Waverley Route and the line to Silloth. The route swung to the east, through a right angle, prior to swinging back to the south. Here was Port Carlisle Junction, where the Waverley Route met the West Coast Main line. Sadly, all traces of the junction have just about disappeared, although the occasional passing steam charters can still be heard whistling at the location of its ghost, as they make their way past on the West Coast Main line.
And so to the final stretch into Carlisle Citadel station, flanked by the twin sandstone drums of Thomas Telford & Sir Robert Smirke’s 19th century Citadel. Built as assize courts and a prison this was a replacement for the original southern entrance to the city. How fitting that the railway station was built alongside.
Once the home to no fewer than seven railway companies, this was the definitive southern tip and the final stop on the Waverley Route, 98¼ miles from Edinburgh.