14th November 2019 · ‘The Waverley Route’

Presenter: Dennis Lovett

We welcomed Dennis Lovett on 14th November with his presentation titled ‘The Waverley Route’.

Dennis’s presentation took us on a journey from Edinburgh to Carlisle with images of ‘then and now’ as far as Tweedbank and then on to Carlisle.

The line was constructed in two phases, firstly the Edinburgh & Hawick Railway which opened in 1849 and then the Border Union Railway on to Carlisle which opened in 1862. Access to Carlisle was obtained by the NBR leasing the Carlisle & Silloth Bay Railway which had running powers into Citadel Station, while main line status was obtained in 1876 when the Settle & Carlisle line opened.

The route was challenging to operate with two significant summits, with locomotives based at St Margarets, Hawick, Carlisle Canal and sub-sheds at Galashiels, St Boswells and Riccarton.

The line closure in 1969 was hotly disputed, its demise being to allow for the WCML electrification to Glasgow. A sustained campaign, led by Madge Elliot, saw the line reopened to Tweedbank in 2015 and its projected target of 648,000 passengers per year has already been more than doubled, with aspirations now for doubling some of the present single-line sections, electrification and extension to Hawick and eventually to Carlisle.