Peebles Railways (OL135)
Peebles stands in a delightful setting, through which the River Tweed flows, in one of the most charming reaches of the Scottish Borders. The evidence that there were once three railway lines radiating from the town is now almost gone. However, the glimpse of an occasional earthwork on the road from Edinburgh, or the remnants of a metal bridge on the road from Galashiels, will suggest that the railway traveller of the past might have enjoyed the journey by train to the Borders town. The first line, the Peebles Railway, opened to the public from the county town of Peeblesshire to Edinburgh on 4th July, 1855 and it was said that the very next day the calls of fish wives could be heard in Peebles offering fresh fish to the locals for the first time. The Caledonian Railway encouraged the small Symington, Biggar & Broughton Railway to build a line towards Peebles, determined to reach the east coast of Scotland through the Borders. This objective was obstructed by the North British Railway, which intended to dominate the Border railways. Eventually, the Peebles Railway was taken over by the NBR and the Caledonian swallowed up the SBBR, Both these companies built attractive stations in the town and both ran express commuter services to Edinburgh, the 'Tinto Express' via Symington and the 'Peeblesshire Express' direct to Waverley via Eskbank. "Peebles Railways", published to celebrate 150 years since the opening of the first service in 1855, brings together a history of the three lines from promotion in the 19th century to closure in the British Railways era. While concentrating on the main lines, the author gives us a taste of the Talla Reservoir line and that at Culter Waterhead near Biggar, as well as branches to Polton, Penicuik and Dolphinton. The book does, however, cover the railway operations, the occasional accident and even the Border Show in 1906, a major event of its day. Bringing the reader up to date with details of closure notices and last trains, the story concludes with the plan to re-open the line to Galashiels from Edinburgh.
A well researched book.
Softback, 240 pages, numerous black & white photos
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Updated: 1 June 2020