Posted by: wrha | January 5, 2019

Commemorating 50 years since closure – Part 3

Trains that ran on Sunday 5th January 1969 included D264 on a southbound parcels train to Carlisle followed by a northbound mail & parcels, both in the early hours; D1974 had gone north on a newspaper train, passing through Hawick at 02.13 and a loco that was better known for what happened later that day, D60 Lytham St Annes, took the northbound St Pancras sleeper train to Edinburgh, stopping at Hawick between 06.53 and 06.56.

The Hawick-Edinburgh local DMU service ran as normal, for a Sunday service, though the DMU numbers are sadly not available. The empty coaching stock move from the 20.55 Edinburgh Waverley to Hawick departed north from Hawick at 22.19, theoretically being the final northbound train, albeit non-passenger carrying.

Deltic locomotive D9007 Pinza worked the West Riding branch of the Railway Correspondence & Travel Society’s charter, “Farewell to the Waverley” railtour, the final train to work northbound over the line with fare-paying passengers.

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Above: An original booking form for the RCTS railtour. M.G.Stoddon Collection.

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Above: D9007 passes Longtown as it races north.
Below: D9007 takes on the curves at Penton.
Both photos courtesy and copyright M.G.Stoddon Collection

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Hauled throughout by D9007, the train set off from Leeds at 09.43, reaching Carlisle shortly before midday. Under a beautiful clear, blue sky on a crisp, cold winter’s day, a brief ten minute break at Riccarton allowed passengers to photograph the isolated former junction under a thin layer of snow & frost, before commencing the final two mile climb to Whitrope Summit. However, this climb was not going to be easy.

Following some swift work of oiling the rails on the climb by members of the Master Neverers Association, Pinza almost came to a stand around half a mile north of Riccarton. Having run out of sand from its still-extant sanders, D9007 struggled for momentum with its nine coach load. Hand sanding the track was the only option and the train slowly eased up the 1 in 75 gradient until clear of the slippery section.

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Top: D9007 struggles up the gradient with its load as it faces slippery rails near Phaupknowe Farmhouse.
Above: After gaining momentum D9007 hauls its train over bridge 202 at Laidlehope Culvert on the way to Whitrope Summit.
Below: It’s all downhill approaching Stobs as D9007 brakes for the curves down the 1 in 65 gradient.
All photos courtesy and copyright M.G.Stoddon Collection

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A delay of five minutes was recorded by the time the train reached Hawick, having taken twenty eight minutes rather than the scheduled twenty three.Further short photographic stops were made at Hawick and Fountainhall before the train reached Edinburgh.

Returning south over the line at dusk, after setting off from Waverley at 16.07, the roaring hum of the twin Napier Deltic engines shattered the peaceful southern uplands as it headed south through the Cheviots; the passengers reflecting on the sadness of the occasion as Pinza traversed the line whilst darkness fell all around. Hawick was reached at 17.19 and the lonely outpost of Riccarton Junction was passed at 17.37, its signal box having been closed for the final time the previous night at 20.13.

LMS Patriot 4-6-0 45548 had carried the name Lytham St Annes from 1937 to its withdrawal in 1962. It had been one of thirteen LMS locomotives named after holiday resorts. As such, Peak 60 (which had no D-prefix in early 1969 and later became 45022 under TOPS) became the oddly-named Lytham St Annes.

Six hours after Pinza had left Edinburgh Waverley for its sobering journey south, Driver Fleming & Fireman Patterson took charge of the Night Midland Sleeper to St Pancras, which was to be hauled by 60, the same locomotive that had brought the previous night’s sleeper northbound over the route from St Pancras earlier that day. This, though, would be the final time anyone would be able to traverse the Waverley Route in its entirety, as a passenger.

Listen to the audio clip of the final train announcement at Waverley station.

 

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Above: D60 sits at Edinburgh Waverley waiting time to take the final train south.
Photo courtesy and copyright ©R. Collen-Jones/Rail Photoprints

The sleeper set off from Edinburgh Waverley at 21.56, taking the Waverley Route south at Portobello East Junction. Following the Borders’ metals that the Deltic had taken earlier that day, Lytham St Annes reached Hawick ten minutes late at 23.27 where it was greeted by around 200 people and a coffin addressed to the Minister for Transport, Richard Marsh.

Just prior to the sleeper’s arrival Clayton D8606, which had been stabled at Hawick, was despatched south at 23.19 to carry out a proving run prior to the sleeper heading on its journey. Detonators exploded as it departed Hawick station, having been placed by MNA supremo Paul Riley – and intended for Lytham St Annes.

Listen to the audio clip of the detonators being set off at Hawick.

 

On arrival at Newcastleton the pilot found the level crossing gates locked against it, and several hundred villagers protesting on the crossing itself.

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Both photos above courtesy and copyright Bruce McCartney

Having been given permission to proceed by the Hawick signalman, Gordon Hall, Driver Fleming drew the sleeper away from Hawick thirty-five minutes late and proceeded with caution on the climb to Whitrope and the subsequent descent to Newcastleton, where it came to a sudden stand.

Listen to the audio clip of the Hawick signalman, Gordon Hall, describing events from that night.

 

Listen to the audio clip of the sleeper departing Hawick.

 

The pilot Clayton stood between the sleeper and the closed level crossing gates unable to proceed any further.

The local minister, Reverend Brydon Maben, led the protest on the crossing and as such was taken into custody by the police.

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Photo courtesy and copyright Bruce McCartney

The local MP David Steel, who was travelling on the train, was called upon by Traffic Inspector MacBain in attempt to calm the situation and act as go-between. He bargained with the villagers and the police for release of the minister in return for the safe passage of the train.

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Photo courtesy and copyright John Goss

Finally allowed access to the crossing, the Clayton set off for Kershopefoot, the station just yards over the Border into England where it crossed over lines to return north.

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Photo courtesy and copyright Bruce McCartney

Now running almost two hours late, Lytham St Annes set off from Newcastleton after isolating the rear coach that had its brake pipe severed, and a brief halt on the crossing when the communication cord was pulled.

At 01.58 on Monday 6th January 1969 the final scheduled service made its way out of Scotland and over the Border at Kershopefoot, as 107 years of a main line railway passed away.


Locomotives to have worked over the route on Sunday 5th January (into Monday 6th) are:

Class 17
D8606

Class 40
D264

Class 45
D60 Lytham St Annes

Class 47
D1974

Class 55
D9007 Pinza


Written and compiled by Matt Stoddon for and on behalf of the Waverley Route Heritage Association.

Article copyright WRHA 2019.

 

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