Posted by: wrha | February 3, 2019

Saturday 2nd February

A lovely sunny day at Whitrope with a light covering of snow on the ground. The ideal sort of day for some heavy manual work, fortunately there was 10 ton of aggregate to shovel, ideal!
The small team had the task of spreading more of the aggregate out to form the loading/unloading area near the level crossing. Good progress was made through the day and by the end of the day the area was complete with a good even spread of aggregate. All that remains now is to remove the remaining material for use elsewhere on site. The area will then be compacted down ready for use.
A successful day with the targets for the day achieved.

Posted by: wrha | January 28, 2019

Saturday 26th January

Just a quick update. Saturday was a cold wet day, enough to test the metal of the most hardy volunteer.
During the week 20 ton of ballast had been dropped off at the level crossing ready for spreading to prepare the area for the low loader which it is planned to collect the Fowler. So despite the weather the outside work had to be done. A number of old sleepers were transported up to the crossing to use as part of the job and a start was made at getting an even spread of material across the area. About a third of the ballast was used, so something to look forward to next Saturday, when the rest of the pile will be used.
A little more work was done on the signal frame foundations which are slowly coming up to height.
A number of people were working on the LMS wagon which has now had most of the timber removed.
No pictures this week unfortunately as it was a bit wet and cold for photographs.

Posted by: wrha | January 19, 2019

Saturday 19th January

A cold day up at Whitrope with a light dusting of snow on the ground to welcome the volunteers. The snow melted although the day remained overcast and fairly grey.

Work continued on the site tidy up with a fair amount of rubbish collected from around the site. A fire was lite to burn some of the material and given the temperature, standing around the fire ensuring everything burned fine was a popular job!

Tom gave the mess hut a good clean out and it now looks much better.

Baz was up and did some work on the bug as it had a blocked fuel filter which was causing an issue. With the filter sorted out the bug ran a lot better.

Work continued on stripping down the lever frame, an ideal job for the cool conditions as a fair amount of effort was required to strip the components down. The first job was to remove the locking frame arrangement from the back of the frame. With these removed the individual levers could be split down. The frame came apart fairy well especially when the amount of time it has spent exposed to the elements at Whitrope is taken into consideration. All the components were labelled and stored, so the work can progress over the next couple of months cleaning and restoring the components to working order. By the end of the day all the parts were removed and the actual frame itself was put in store.

Away from the site work has progressed on sorting a repair programme for the Fowler and hopefully this can be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

Posted by: wrha | January 13, 2019

Saturday 12th January

A mild day saw a good number of volunteers on site, with a variety of tasks undertaken.

Jim got more courses of the walls built that will support the signal frame. This part of the project is advancing steadily and a couple more weeks should see the work complete.

The other part of this project is to strip the lever frame down and return it to working order. This will be a major task as the lever frame has been exposed to the elements for a long time. All the top covers were removed and the end cover loosened off, a fairly slow job as everything was pretty well rusted together. By the end of the day the end cover of the frame was removed and the next couple of weeks should see the frame stripped into its component parts.

Work continued on the bake van with the focus on the inside of the van. Davie was working on the LMS wagon removing more of the planking.

A start was made to a large tidy up of the site, which will ensure that the area will look much better for the new season.

A number of the volunteers then headed for Newtown St Boswells to collect a station trolley from the old station, which has kindly been donated. The trolley was somewhat larger than expected and took quite some loading. The woodwork was fairly rotten, but this will be a project that can be undertaken away from Whitrope to restore it ready for eventual display

Posted by: wrha | January 8, 2019

Whitrope Saturday 5th January

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Waverley Route and was a busy day at Whitrope. Pathfinders Tours were running a rail-tour from Birmingham to Tweedbank to mark the occasion and some of the passengers disembarked at Carlisle to follow the southern end of the line in a mini-bus. As part of the tour the group were due to visit Whitrope. They accessed the solemn at Steel Road and traveled along the old track-bed up to Whitrope.

To prepare for these visitors the stock was shunted out of the platform, which allowed RB004 to be used for trips along the line. The visitors had a trip along the line between the Whitrope tunnel end and the golden bridge. This was followed by coffee and a visit around the heritage centre. There was a great deal of positive feedback from the visitors as to all we had achieved at Whitrope.

Once the visitors had left to rejoin the tour at Tweedbank for the return trip to Birmingham, the stock was returned to the platform. This allowed work to continue on RB004, with Baz applying some yellow paint to one end of the vehicle. Work also continued on the LMS wagon with more old bolts cut off to allow the timbers to be removed. Jim continued work on the foundations for the lever frame at the end of the platform.

Overall a really positive day with happy volunteers and visitors.

Posted by: wrha | January 6, 2019

The Waverley Re-Union railtour

Saturday 5th of January marked 50 years since the closure of the Waverley Route and to commemorate the event a rail-tour ran from Birmingham to Tweedbank. The tour brought two class 50 locomotives onto the re-opened northern section of the Waverley Route. The first appearance of a class 50 on the re-opened line brought a class of locomotive that was associated with the northern sectioned of the West Coast Mainline in their early years. So a return to Scottish soil for a class that very much made it’s initial mark in Scotland.

The tour which arrived at Tweedbank about 1/2 an hour early had a stop over of just over an hour making for a very busy spell for the small retail outlet. The station was awash with enthusiast out to grab a shot of the locomotives at a new location for the class.

The tour then returned back up the line to Edinburgh before preceding on to Birmingham. A fitting way to mark notable day in Border history, which has been partly rectified. We will see if the 60th or 75th anniversary may be marked with a longer run along the Waverley Route?

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.

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

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


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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

Class 40

Class 45
D60 Lytham St Annes

Class 47

Class 55
D9007 Pinza

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

Article copyright WRHA 2019.


Posted by: wrha | January 4, 2019

Commemorating 50 years since closure – Part 2

Saturday 4th January 1969 was just another day of normal services over the Waverley Route, with a few railtours traversing the route as it was due to close less than 48 hours later. Freight services ran as normal, as did the through and local passenger trains.

D1974 took the Scottish Region Grand Tour No.6 railtour southbound over the line on its way to Newcastle, before heading back via Berwick. This was held up at Millerhill for around twenty minutes due to a bomb scare.

D9002 hauled a northbound railtour from Newcastle via Carlisle, that returned from Edinburgh via Berwick.

D5131 (0920 Carlisle to Edinburgh) and D5311 (1500 Edinburgh to Carlisle) carried the Border Railway Society’s “Farewell to the Waverley” headboard.

Locomotives to have worked over the line on that final Saturday included the following, and where these survive their TOPS numbers and current locations are in brackets:

Class 17

Class 24

Class 25

Class 26
D5311 (26011 – Nemesis Rail, Burton upon Trent)

Class 37
D6846 (37146 – Wensleydale Railway, Leeming Bar)
D6851 (37667 – Locomotive Services Ltd, Crewe)

Class 40

Class 45

Class 46

Class 47

Class 55
D9002 Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (55002 – National Railway Museum, York)


hawick 040169 d160

At 10.55 D160 stops at Hawick with the 09.30 Edinburgh to Carlisle whilst the protests continue on the platform watched closely by the local constabulary. A symbolic black coffin addressed to the transport minister, Richard Marsh, waits to be sent south by train. Photo courtesy and copyright Bruce McCartney

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Also at 10.55 D6851 idles its way north down the gradient at Shankend working the late running 08.30 Carlisle to Millerhill freight. This would pass D160 near Stobs just a few minutes later. Photo courtesy and copyright John Clark


At 13.16 D5317 slows its train ready for stopping as it passes Longtown signal box and level crossing on the 13.00 Carlisle to Edinburgh. Photo courtesy and copyright M.G.Stoddon Collection


It’s now around 13.30 and Deltic D9002 is seen paused at Riccarton Junction on the railtour from Newcastle. Photo courtesy and copyright Allan McKever


D9002 heads up the gradient at Laidlehope Culvert towards Whitrope. Photo courtesy and copyright Allan McKever



Posted by: wrha | January 3, 2019

Commemorating 50 years since closure – Part 1

Right up to the closure of the Waverley Route demonstrations and petitions were organised in an attempt to fight the closure. Leading this fight was Madge Elliot from Hawick, seen in Bruce McCartney’s photo below at Downing Street on 18th December 1968, with the Earl of Dalkeith and Sir David Steel before they handed in the petition against the proposed closure.


Listen to Madge describing the Downing Street visit on the following audio file.



Posted by: wrha | December 17, 2018

Saturday 15th December

A very cold day with weather warnings in force saw a limited number of volunteers on site.

Work focused on a good clean in the buffet and exhibition coaches. With floors hovered, upholstery brushed and tables scrubbed.
Jim moved a number of blocks down to the site for the lever frame with some of them split ready for laying, when the temperature rises a little (ideally a lot!!).

Some work was done freeing up the signal pulley equipment brought down to the workshops last weekend. These were freed and greased ready for use next year.
An examination of the lever frame showed that it will hopefully be a reasonably straight forward job to split it to allow the mechanisms to be restored ready for use.

This will probably be the last working weekend before Christmas, so Merry Christmas to all our readers.


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