The Waverley Line
Carlisle became a great 19th century railway city, with seven independent railway companies sharing the use of Carlisle Citadel Station, and the extensive goods yards.
The Border Union Railway was the successful proposal of the North British Railway for a line from Carlisle to Hawick in opposition to the Caledonian Railway that had proposal a similar line. Authorised in 1859, it ran from Hawick to the Port Carlisle Railway, to the north of its Carlisle Canal terminus, with a branch from Longtown to Gretna. It was the final link in what was to become known as the ‘Waverley Route’, which opened in stages (from the Carlisle end) between October 1861 and July 1862.
From Carlisle, the route passed the Carlisle Canal terminus near the Carr’s biscuit factory, crossing the River Eden on a viaduct a little to the west of the mainline viaduct. From here it continued past the Kingmoor Marshalling Yard through Harker, Lyneside, to Longtown, where it crossed the River Esk.
Just north of Harker, the M6/A74 was apparently built across the railway on the level to block re-opening of the line.
North of Longtown the line continued sandwiched between the River Esk and the A7, for a further 2 miles, passing Kirkandrews Tower, a 17th century defensive tower, and the Netherby estate of the late Sir John Graham (a staunch supporter of the railway in the 1850s/60s) before crossing the River Esk over the Thistle Viaduct.
There was a station at Scotch Dyke, 86½ miles from Edinburgh, near what is now known as Scot’s Dyke, which marks the border between England and Scotland.
The line passed to the LNER in 1923, became nationalised in 1948, and was closed in 1969, apart from the section south of Longtown for goods to the army depot.
The railway station named Scotch Dyke was opened on 25 October 1861 as ‘ScotsDyke’, and later renamed ‘Scotch Dyke’. It closed on 2 May 1949. It was a two-platform station with a level crossing to its north. Today (2006) the former station retains its building and platforms. The canopy of the building has a script reading “Speed and comfort by rail” with the ‘British Railways’ logo.
Photos by Simon Ledingham.
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Grid Ref NY 390729 (Thistle viaduct)
Grid Ref NY 410756 (Liddel viaduct)