East Coast Main Line

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Aberdeen Railway, a railway from Aberdeen, south-south-westward to the centre of Forfarshire. It was authorised on 31 July 1845, and opened on 30 March 1850. It cost very much more per mile than had been estimated, yet a good deal less than either the Scottish Central, the Edinburgh, Perth, & Dundee, the North British, or the Caledonian. It commences at Guild Street, adjacent to the upper dock and to the foot of Market Street: crosses the Dee at Polmuir, by the viaduct noticed on p. 12: proceeds by the stations of Cove, Portlethen, Newtonhill, and Muchalls, to Stonehaven: goes thence through the fertile district of the Mearns, by the stations of Drumlithie, Fordoun, Laurencekirk, Marykirk, and Craigo, to the northern border of Forfarshire: sends off at Dubton Junction a branch 3 miles and 160 yards eastward to Montrose: sends off again at Bridge-of-Dun Junction a branch of 3 miles and 862 yards westward to Brechin: proceeds by the station of Farnell Road to Guthrie Junction, and makes also a junction with the Arbroath and Forfar railway at Friockheim. That railway, previously formed, was leased to it in 1848, and ultimately incorporated with it. The Aberdeen itself and the Scottish Midland Junction were amalgamated in 1856, under the name of the Scottish NorthEastern: and the Scottish North-Eastern, in turn, was amalgamated with the Caledonian, in 1866: so that the Aberdeen is now the northern part of the Caledonian system. The length of the Aberdeen proper, exclusive of branches, is 49 miles, and inclusive of branches and of the Arbroath and Forfar, is 72 miles.

Caledonian Railway, a railway originally designed as a trunk line connecting Edinburgh and Glasgow with Carlisle, but now embracing an extensive district, and forming the second, in point of mileage, of the railway systems in Scotland. In 1845 an elaborate examination of the various proposals for providing railway facilities between England and Scotland was made on behalf of the Board of Trade, with the result that the Caledonian line, as then proposed, was approved. The act for the construction of the line was passed in July 1845, embracing a main line from Carlisle to Carstairs in Lanarkshire, dividing there into a fork reaching to Edinburgh on the one hand and to Glasgow on the other; with a spur from the latter arm of the fork to join the Scottish Central railway for Stirling, Perth, and the North of Scotland. In constructing these lines, 141 miles in length, there was used a portion of the Glasgow and Garnkirk and the Wishaw and Coltness railways, lines opened in 1831 and 1833, and ranking early in the railway enterprises of the kingdom. For the original line, which was completed in 1848, the authorised capital was £3,433,130 in shares and £1,030,200 in loans. By extensions, amalgamations, leases, and working agreements the Caledonian railway now consists of 733¼ miles of railway owned by the company, 176 miles worked under agreement, 76½ miles of other companies' lines used under running powers, and the Forth and Clyde Canal 52¾ miles, being a total of 1038½ miles of public communications in the hands of the company. Of the system there are 2½ miles consisting of four lines of railways, 453¾ miles consisting of double line, the remainder consisting of single line. At July 1881, the capital expenditure of the company amounted to £36,459,245, of which there was raised in shares £29,037,751 (of which sum £10,257,074 stood as 'ordinary' stock, £2,783,658 as 'deferred' stock, and the remainder as ' guaranteed ' and 'preference' stocks), and in loan and debenture stock £7,127,936, with some minor items of receipt. This Capital total is to a certain extent fictitious, owing to the creation of nominal capital in consolidating various guaranteed and preference stocks, formerly carrying various dividends into stock at one uniform rate, and the 'deferred' capital is also nominal, being created to represent the claims of some of those consolidated stocks to contingent rights of dividend under certain specified circumstances. It is thus impossible to say specifically how much ` hard money ' has been expended in the construction of the system, but it probably does not fall short of thirty millions sterling. In the half-year last reported, the railway carried 679,388 first class, 520,528 second class, and 6,416,487 third class passengers, making, with 7529 season-ticket holders, a total of 7,623,932 passengers, yielding a total revenue of £364,532. The goods revenue amounted to £859,625, the total revenue for the half-year being thus over 1¼ million of money. To carry this trade the company possessed 681 locomotive engines, 1602 passenger vehicles (including horse boxes, luggage vans, etc.), and 42,938 waggons, 30,644 of the latter being engaged in the vast mineral traffic of the company. In the course of the half-year those vehicles traversed in all 5,602,565 train-miles, of which there were run for passenger traffic 2,511,644 train-miles, and for goods and mineral traffic 3,090,921 miles. The gross revenue per train-mile was 57-68d., the passenger train average being 43-75d., and the goods train average 68-77d. per mile. As the main route of the mail service in Scotland, the Caledonian received in the half-year the sum of £26,866 for the conveyance of mails. The affairs of the company are controlled by a board of directors, fourteen in number. As now extended, the Caledonian railway system covers a large portion of the railway map of Scotland, having Carlisle for its southern, and Aberdeen for its northern, terminus, touching on the W Portpatrick, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Wemyss Bay, Greenock, Stirling, Oban, Crieff, and Perth, and on the E Arbroath, Dundee, Edinburgh, Leith, Carstairs, and Peebles. The only districts of importance in the S of Scotland to which it does not reach are Nithsdale in Dumfriesshire, and the middle and western portions of Ayrshire, and that great Border and E district which the North British railway holds. North of Perth and Aberdeen the country is served by the Highland, Great North of Scotland, and allied railway systems. The various parts composing the Caledonian railway will be incidentally noticed under the parishes and counties where they occur, and here the general scope of the system will be detailed, proceeding from S to N. From Carlisle to Beattock the line, which was opened in 1847, passes through a richly varied district, chiefly pastoral and cheese-producing. Six miles of the line are in England, and between the junction with the North British Longtown branch at Gretna and the Gretna Junction, a bridge over the Sark brings the line into Scotland. At Gretna Junction the Glasgow and South-Western main line strikes off to Annan and Dumfries, the traffic into Carlisle being conducted under running powers. The next junction on the Caledonian system is at Kirtlebridge, where the Solway Junction line, sanctioned in 1864, branches off, crossing the Solway to Brayton, on the Maryport and Carlisle line. The portion of the Solway Junction railway N of the Firth was purchased by the Caledonian in 1873. The first town of importance on the main line is Lockerbie, where important lamb fairs and other stock markets are held, and where the line branches off to Dumfries, Stranraer, and Portpatrick. The Dumfries, Lochmaben, and Lockerbie Company was incorporated in 1860, to construct a line 14½ miles long, running through a pleasing district, opening up to view the numerous lochs which give the old burgh of Lochmaben its name, and giving Dumfries an important outlet to the N and E. The line was amalgamated with the Caledonian in 1865. Westward from Dumfries, to Castle-Douglas, the railway, 19¼ miles long, is in the hands of the Glasgow and South-Western Company, but from Castle-Douglas to Stranraer and Portpatrick the railway is worked by the Caledonian Company, and hence reckons as part of its system. There are running powers and ` facilities ' granted under statute to enable the two companies to work those dissevered lines. The Portpatrick railway, which, although worked by the Caledonian, is held by an independent company under acts passed in 1857 and 1864, provides an important connection with Ireland by means of the steamers between Stranraer and Larne, now the 'shortest sea route' since the passage formerly maintained between Portpatrick and Donaghadee was given up. The total length of this railway is 62½ miles, including the branches to Stranraer and its harbour. Returning to the main Caledonian line, it is found to proceed northward through Annandale, till Beattock is reached. A line is (1881) projected to Moffat, 3 miles from Beattock, to bring that favourite spa into connection with the railway system. North of Beattock there are deep rock cuttings, and the line ascends on a steep gradient to the summit-level, where an elevation 1012 feet above the sea is reached, about 10 miles beyond Beattock. The basin of the Clyde is now reached, at the lower parts of which the Caledonian railway has its greatest source of traffic and revenue. At Symington, a branch to Biggar and Peebles, 19¼ miles long, is thrown off. This railway was constructed to Broughton, 8 miles, under an act of 1858, and in 1860 the extension to Peebles was authorised, and the line was amalgamated with the Caledonian in 1861. The main line is at this point, and for some distance northward, passing through a moorland and mountainous district, giving little promise of local traffic, but there are few parts of the railway system of the country where a larger or more important through traffic is carried. At Carstairs is an important junction. On the first construction of the line, it was merely the place where the lines for Edinburgh and Glasgow bifurcated, but it is now also the junction for the Lanark, Douglas, and Ayr route, and for a branch to Dolphinton, as well as a central goods and mineral yard for general traffic. The Dolphinton branch, 11 miles in length, was constructed in 1863. From Cleghorn, 3 miles beyond Carstairs, the Lanark and Douglas branch, authorised in 1860, leaves the main line, but the passenger traffic is now worked direct to Carstairs. In 1865, a line of 11 miles was authorised from Douglas to Muirkirk, and on the opening of the 'Ayrshire lines' of the Glasgow and South-Western railway in 1872, running powers gave the Caledonian direct access to Ayr. The Edinburgh section of the original line is 27½ miles long, and is now augmented by a series of branches and extensions. At Midcalder Junction the railway is joined by the Cleland line, 31 miles, constructed in 1866 to afford a short route between Edinburgh and Glasgow. This extension, which was opposed by the North British, was eventually constructed under an agreement by which the Caledonian consented not to oppose further the Tay Bridge scheme and other works then contemplated by the North British Company. An arrangement subsists by which all through passenger traffic between Edinburgh and Glasgow is shared between the two companies in certain proportions irrespective of the number of passengers carried by each. Nearer Edinburgh, a loop line 5¼ miles, constructed in 1872, leads to Balerno and Currie, rejoining the main line at Slateford. In the immediate vicinity of Edinburgh various connections have been made, being loops to facilitate the transference of traffic from the Leith branch, etc. A junction with the North British was also made, having in view the transfer of the North of Scotland traffic to the Company's own station, instead of to the North British ' Waverley' station; but this junction has never been so used. The Granton and Leith branches, 6¼ miles in all, were constructed as goods lines merely under acts of 1857 and 1862, but in 1880 the Leith line was opened as a suburban passenger railway, with several stations, affording facilities to residents N and W of Edinburgh. The western breakwater at Granton harbour is used as a quay for railway traffic, and there, as well as at Leith docks, the company derives a large traffic outward and inward. The terminus in Edinburgh is at the W end of Princes Street, and the passenger station is as yet a temporary wooden erection. Large goods and mineral yards have been laid out at Lothian Road and Morrison Street. From Edinburgh, the Caledonian holds running powers over the North British railway to its own station at Larbert in Stirlingshire, and also over the Graugemouth branch- It is proposed (1881) to make a new and independent access to the latter port, where the company has promoted the construction of extensive dock and harbour works, and where the Forth and Clyde Canal has its eastern connection with the sea. This canal, which was acquired by the company in 1867, was opened from sea to sea in 1790, and is 37 miles in length, with a summit-level of 150 feet, reached by 20 locks on the E side and 19 locks on the W. The capital, on amalgamation with the railway, was £1,141,333, on which the railway company guaranteed a dividend of £71,333 annually, or 6¼ per cent., converted in 1881 to a 4 per cent. stock by the nominal increase of the capital at that rate to absorb the amount of the annuity. Reverting to Carstairs Junction, the western fork proceeds to Wishaw, at which point, as already indicated, the route follows, as far as Glasgow, lines made under powers taken as early as 1826, comprising 19 miles in all. Between Wishaw and Glasgow, and by means of branches to a large number of out lying places, the map here presents a complex network of lines, the greater part of which is in the hands of the Caledonian. The main trunk route to the N over which the 'limited mail' travels diverges at Coatbridge, proceeding to Castlecary and Lower Greenhill, where the Scottish Central section, subsequently referred to, carries the line to Stirling, Perth, etc. Approaching Glasgow from the S, the route principally followed until lately was by the old Garnkirk route, reaching Buchanan Street station. The Central station in Gordon Street, with a splendid bridge over the Clyde above Broomielaw and parallel to Glasgow Bridge, was opened in 1879, at a cost approaching two millions sterling, since which time both the S and N traffic, and the trains by the direct Cleland and MidCalder route to Edinburgh, have been conducted to the new station. After crossing the river on leaving Glasgow, this line follows the route of the Clydesdale Junction, constructed in 1845, and incorporated as part of the Caledonian original system. It must suffice to say that the Caledonian in this district possesses lines to Larkhall and Lesmahagow, Stonehouse, Strathaven, Hamilton, East Kilbride, etc., and numerous mineral connections over and above its passenger lines. The Greenock and Paisley railway, opened in 1841, was taken as part of the Caledonian system in 1847, under a dividend guarantee, with a separate board for financial purposes. In 1879 this board had a unique experience, having found it necessary to obtain an act of parliament to create new stock to replace an amount fraudulently issued by one of the officials, with the effect of permanently reducing the dividend on the stock thus augmented. The Wemyss Bay railway, 10 miles, was constructed in 1863, and is worked by the Caledonian, and, by means of an extensive service of steamers, provides a favourite route to the watering places of the Clyde and the West Highlands. By an act passed in 1869, the Caledonian became joint-owner with the Glasgow and South-Western of the line to Kilmarnock. The Scottish Central railway, projected in 1845, was completed from Greenhill to Perth in 1848, this portion being 45½ miles in length, and some additions were subsequently made to it prior to its amalgamation with the Caledonian in 1865, this amalgamation being carried after a fierce parliamentary contest. The extensions before and since amalgamation embrace a branch to Denny, 3 miles, and a branch to South Alloa, where a ferry across the Forth to Alloa is maintained. At Dunblane, the Dunblane, Doune, and Callander, 10½ miles, branches off- This line was projected in 1845, and was leased by the Scottish Central, being subsequently amalgamated by it, and so eventually brought into Caledonian hands. The importance of this branch has been increased by the construction of the Callander and Oban railway, 72 miles, separately noticed, which is worked by the Caledonian Company. Near Auchterarder, a branch to Crieff, 9 miles, strikes off from the main line, and forms a circular route with the Crieff and Methven Junction, 11½ miles, and the Methven and Almond Valley to Perth, 6 miles, both now included in the Caledonian railway system. At Moncrieff, the North British Perth line via Fife joins the Caledonian, running jointly into Perth Central station. This station is the key of the whole of the traffic in the N of Scotland, and is in consequence a railway centre of great importance. The Caledonian Company possesses two routes out of Perth, one by the Dundee and Perth, 20½ miles to Dundee, and the other by Cupar-Angus to Forfar and Aberdeen. The line to Dundee, opened in 1847, was amalgamated in 1863 with the Scottish Central, and in 1865 with the Caledonian. From Dundee, the Caledonian holds the Newtyle line, 11 miles, which formerly left the town by a series of steep slopes worked by stationary engines, but was subsequently taken round by Lochee on better gradients, thus providing a line to that important suburb of Dundee. The Newtyle joins the other line from Perth, above referred to, near Meigle. The Dundee and Arbroath railway, 17 miles, was the first line in Scotland on which locomotives were used. It was opened in 1840, and at an early period in its history was leased to the Caledonian, by whom it was subsequently amalgamated as part of the Scottish NorthEastern system. In 1879, carrying out a scheme originally sanctioned when the Tay Bridge Act was passed, this line was converted into a ` joint ' possession of the Caledonian and North British companies, managed independently by a directorate elected by the two boards, so that this 17 miles forms an integral part of both systems. From the neighbourhood of Broughty Ferry is another cross line, joining the northern section from Perth. This is the Dundee and Forfar, or 'Forfar Direct' line, 17½ miles long.

The railways last described do not reckon as part of the 'through' route to Aberdeen, that being on the other line proceeding N from Perth. The first section of this route beyond Perth was constructed in 1847 as the Scottish Midland Junction line, reaching to Forfar 33¼ miles. A short distance from Perth this line receives on the left the Almond Bank and Crieff railway, already mentioned, and at Stanley Junction the Highland railway, which enjoys running powers over the Caledonian from this point to Perth, branches off. From Cupar-Angus, a branch leads to Blairgowrie, 5 miles this being part of the original scheme; at Meigle, a branch to Alyth, 5¼ miles, joins the main line, constructed under an act of 1868, and amalgamated with the Caledonian in 1875. Another branch, 3½ miles, goes to Kirriemuir, this having also been part of the original Midland Junction scheme. From Forfar on the one hand, and Arbroath on the other, there is a line, 15½ miles, originally a separate undertaking to unite those two towns, and opened as early as 1839. When the Aberdeen railway was projected, this line was incorporated as a fork, the railway to Aberdeen leaving at Guthrie Junction, and thus affording access to both the routes to Perth that have been described. The line to Aberdeen, 72 miles in all, embraces this Arbroath to Forfar fork, and branches from Bridge of Dun to Brechin, and Dubton to Montrose, with a triangle line at Guthrie to facilitate traffic with the diverging routes. In 1866 the whole of the lines now described from Perth to Aberdeen, which had already been associated as the Scottish North-Eastern, were incorporated with the Caledonian system. In 1860 there was constructed a line from Montrose to Bervie, 12 miles, which was worked by the Scottish NorthEastern, and afterwards by the Caledonian. In 1881, however, an act was passed amalgamating it with the North British railway, which had in the meantime constructed its Arbroath and Montrose railway, and became joint-owners, as already stated, of the Dundee and Arbroath line, the Bervie amalgamation thus making another step in the progress of that company towards an independent access to Aberdeen.

The district commanded by the Caledonian company is very much diversified, both as regards the scenery of the line, the character and occupation of the population, and the nature of the traffic drawn from the various sections. In no part of its system does it present memorable engineering works, although the difficulties of crossing some of the mosses on the original line from Carlisle, the solid rock tunnels on the Greenock line and at Moncrieff Hill, the heavy cuttings near Beattock, the romantic and adventurous route through Glen Ogle on the Callander and Oban line, the bridge over the Clyde at Glasgow, and the central station there may deserve special notice. In Glasgow it forms the principal means of communication between this centre of the cotton, iron, and shipbuilding interests of Scotland, and the famous mineral district of Clydesdale, in which the railway holds such a commanding position. At Greenock, Grangemouth, Granton, Leith, and Dundee, a large shipping trade is done, carrying coals and iron for export, and receiving a varied traffic in the imports from the Continent and America at those various ports. The line from Carlisle to Perth forms the main artery in Scotland of the great postal stream borne through the country by the ' limited mail,' and to Callander and Aberdeen the mail is carried forward by rapid trains, as it is beyond Stanley over the Highland line. As a passenger line the Caledonian takes high rank, its stations embracing all the 'eight large towns' in Scotland, as well as nearly every populous district in the kingdom. As an access to the picturesque parts of Scotland, the railway occupies a position of great advantage. It issues an extensive programme of routes for tourists, embracing, on its own line, Bothwell, ' Tillietudlem,' and the Falls of Clyde near Glasgow, with Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, and Aberdeen amongst the attractive towns, and a journey of unexcelled interest through Perthshire and Argyllshire to Oban and the West Highlands. It also offers a series of circular tours through the highlands and islands by means of the steamboats and railway companies with which the Caledonian Railway Company is in alliance. It forms part of the west coast route of communication between England and Scotland, acting in close alliance with the London and North-Western Railway Company. In this relation the Caledonian enjoys a large share of the traffic to and from England, and a practical monopoly of the railway traffic between Liverpool and Scotland.

Dundee and Arbroath Railway, a railway in the S and SE of Forfarshire, from Dundee east-north-eastward to Arbroath. It was authorised, in 1836, on a capital of £266,700 in shares and £88,900 in loans; was opened in April 1840; became amalgamated with the Scottish North-Eastern in July 1863; and passed, with the North-Eastern, to the Caledonian in July 1866. On Feb. 1, 1880, the North British Railway Co. became joint owners of the line with the Caledonian Co. It is 17 miles long; traverses the parishes of Dundee, Monifieth, Barry, Panbride, St Vigeans, Arbirlot, and Arbroath; and has junctions at Broughty Ferry with the northern terminus or Dundee-ward fork of the North British railway, and at Arbroath with the E end of the Arbroath and Forfar railway, and through that with the Aberdeen section of the Caledonian. It commences at Trades Lane in Dundee; runs parallel with Dock Street; crosses, for about a mile, a baylet of the Firth of Tay; traverses a very deep rock cutting on the Craigie estate; intersects, at two different points, the road between Dundee and Broughty Ferry; goes along Broughty Ferry links, and through the barren sands of Monifieth and Barry; traverses thence, for 6 ½ miles, a tract of little interest; and has, in its course, both under and over it, a number of beautifully constructed bridges.

North British Railway, a railway whose name was first applied only to the line from Edinburgh to Berwick, and now Forming the largest Railway organisation, as regards mileage, in Scotland. The earliest sections of the North British railway, as now consolidated, were the Monkland and Kirkintilloch, the second railway in Scotland, opened in 1826, and the Ballochney. opened in 1828, which, with the Slamannan, opened in 1840, were amalgamated as one line in 1848, were afterwards amalgamated with the Edinburgh and Glasgow, and came to the North British in 1865, as subsequently noticed. Amore direct portion of the original North British was the Edinburgh and Dalkeith, which ranks as- the fifth railway in point of time in Scotland, and which. was opened in 1831. This line obtained some celebrity under its title of the 'Innocent Railway,' given to it by Dr Robert Chambers in one of his essays, indicating its safety and slow-going character as compared with lines on which locomotives were used. `In the very contemplation of the innocence of the railway you find your heart rejoiced. Only think of a railway having a board at all the stations forbidding the drivers to stop by the way to feed their horses!' This railway, running from Edinburgh to Dalkeith and Dalhousie, with branches to Leith and Fisherrow, was 17 ½ miles in length. Prior to its absorption by the North British in 1845, it was used chiefly for the conveyance of coals and farm products, but had also a regular service of passenger omnibuses, drawn by horses. The branch to Leith, and a part of the branch to Fisherrow, have been put out of use, and form wooded mounds that may some day puzzle the antiquary. The next portion of the system was the Edinburgh and Glasgow, opened in 1841, and amalgamated with the North British in 1865, having previously absorbed the Edinburgh and Bathgate line (authorised in 1846) and the three early railways previously named. In 1842 the Edinburgh, Leith, and Granton railway was opened, and this was amalgamated with the Edinburgh and Northern on the opening of that line from Burntisland in Fife to Perth and Tayport (for Dundee) in 1847, the latter being absorbed in the North British in 1862, and being known as the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee for the intervening fifteen years. The railway which gives its title to the system was opened in 1846, and consisted of the main line, 58 miles in length, and the branch to Haddington, 5 miles. In the previous year the powers of the Edinburgh and Hawick Company had been acquired before any steps at construction were taken, and this line (of which the utilised section of the `Innocent Railway' formed a part) was opened as an integral portion of the North British. By the formation of the Border Union railway, Hawick to Carlisle and the Border Counties, Hexham in Northumberland to Riccarton (forming a junction there with the preceding), and by the construction of many branches, and the absorption of many lines independently constructed, the North British became the large organisation embraced under that name.

The company, as consolidated, serves the whole of the SE of Scotland from the Tay to the Tweed, and stretches to several westerly points, besides holding in the N a half share of the Dundee and Arbroath railway, the lines by the coast to Montrose and Bervie, and running powers to Aberdeen. Its southern termini are Berwick, Hexham, Carlisle, and Silloth, and the other terminal points to which it reaches are Airdrie, Wishaw, Hamilton, Glasgow, Helensburgh, Larbert, Perth, and Bervie. Besides this there are a number of branch and cross lines that fill up the scheme, such as the branches to Kelso (where the Berwick branch of the North-Eastern railway is joined), to Langholm, Jedburgh, and Selkirk; the line from Newtown St Boswells to Earlston and Duns, through Berwickshire to Reston on the main line; the branches to Gretna, Port Carlisle, and Silloth; and the line running from Galashiels to Innerleithen and Peebles, with branch to Dolphinton, and returning to main line at Eskbank. There are also short lines to Penicuik, Roslin, and Polton; to North Berwick, Haddington, Macmerry, Musselburgh, and Fisherrow harbour; and the connecting link between South Leith and Portobello. Those branches are all S of the Forth, in connection with the main and Carlisle lines. Edinburgh forms a central point in the system, at which all the main lines converge. Westward, the lines are to Glasgow, to South Queensferry (soon to form a part of the main route N on the completion of the Forth Bridge); branches from the main Glasgow line to Bo'ness, Grangemouth, and Larbert, from the last of which the Company holds running powers to Perth; and the southern route to Glasgow (formed out of the Bathgate railway and late westward continuations), with lines through the coal districts of Airdrie and Slamannan. The company possesses a half share of the City of Glasgow Union railway, and is now (1884) constructing a suburban connection in Glasgow, largely underground, the object of the latter being both to promote local city traffic and to obtain a quicker route from Helensburgh, etc., to the chief station in the city. The lines running immediately out of Glasgow are those to Helensburgh, Maryhill, Strathblane, Killearn, etc. The latest addition here is the line to Aberfoyle, through the `Rob Roy' country. A branch runs from Dumbarton to Balloch (Jamestown) on the shore of Loch Lomond, and there joins the Forth and Clyde line, from Balloch through the Buchanan country to Stirling, made in 1854, and leased to the North British in 1871. The company owns the line from Stirling to Dunfermline and Thornton (with branch to Cambus and Alva), also from Alloa by Dollar and Kinross to Ladybank, the main route from Burntisland to Perth and Tayport (for Dundee), the East of Fife line from Thornton to Anstruther, a branch from Leuchars to St Andrews, a branch from the same junction to Newport to join the Tay Bridge, and a line between Newport and Tayport. The Anstruther and St Andrews railway, when complete, will give railway communication to Crail and the East Neuk of Fife. From the scattered nature of the numerous branches, the working of the line is of an involved and intricate nature, and although the mileage of line is the largest in Scotland, the revenue of the railway is less than that of the Caledonian railway. The railway, at the beginning of 1884, consisted of 425 ½ miles of double line, 570 miles of single line, 32 miles of the Union Canal (which had been purchased by the Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1848), and ferries over the Forth at Queensferry and Burntisland, and over the Tay from Tayport to Broughty Ferry, about 8 miles in all. In addition to this the company work other lines of 57 ¼ miles, and run trains over 122 ½ miles of `foreign' railways, making a total of over 1200 miles of public communications directly or partly in the control- of the company. At January 1884 the capital expenditure of the company amounted to £32, 533, 313, consisting of shares £24, 456, 525, debenture stocks £6,145, 933, loans £1, 686,691, premiums received on issue of stock £231, 040, and balance due £13,122. The remarks made on the capital of the Caledonian Railway Company (vol. i., p. 219) apply equally to this account of capital, and need not be repeated. The actual money spent on the North British railway probably does not amount to thirty millions.

In the half-year last reported the company carried 827, 804 first class, 354, 525 second class, and 8,085,066 third class passengers, making, with 7988 season tickets, a total of 9, 275, 383 passengers, yielding, with mails and parcels, a revenue of £489, 697. The goods and mineral traffic, with live stock, yielded a revenue of £835, 801, giving a total revenue of 1 1/3 million of money for the half-year. This traffic required the services of 573 locomotive engines, 1754 passenger vehicles, 32, 062 waggons of various kinds, besides steamers at Burntisland, Queensferry, and Tayport, to conduct the ferry traffic. Including the steamer passages, this plant traversed, in the passenger department, 2, 407, 293 train miles, and in goods service, 3, 273, 276 train miles, being a total of 5, 901,177 miles. The revenue earned amounted to 54.94d. per train mile, the rate being 45.99d. in the passenger traffic and 61.99d. in the goods traffic. The affairs of the company are administered by a board of thirteen directors.

The outline of the railway given in the foregoing brief narrative of its origin and extent shows that the company commands a large and important district. As a local line it has entire control of the counties of Berwick, Roxburgh, Haddington, Edinburgh, and Fife, and it competes with the Caledonian for through or local traffic at the principal places in Scotland. Owning the shortest and most level route between Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as a subsidiary route by Bathgate and Coatbridge, it offers the best means of communication between these cities, but under an arrangement made when the Tay Bridge was projected, the traffic between these places is divided between the companies in fixed proportions without reference to the actual number carried by each. As regards London, the North British forms an integral part of the East Coast route by York, Newcastle, and Berwick, completed in 1850 when the Queen opened the Victoria bridge at Berwick; and the `Flying Scotsman' between Edinburgh and London, performing the distance between the cities in 9 ½ hours, is one of the fastest trains in the world. Through the line viâ Hawick to Carlisle, the North British also forms a part of the Midland route to England; the trains northward from London, etc., forking at Carlisle, westward by the Glasgow and SouthWestern, and eastward by the North British. Through Fife, besides a monopoly of local service, the company maintains trains to Perth and the north, the ferry, however, rendering this route but little favoured by through travellers. A better competition with the north is maintained by a special service of trains to Perth viâ Stirling, under the running powers conferred on the company when the Scottish Central, the neck of the railway system of Scotland, was absorbed in the Caledonian. In the same way, a rival service is maintained to Aberdeen over the Dundee and Arbroath and Arbroath and Montrose lines, with running powers beyond, the last secured to the company on the absorption of the Scottish North -Eastern by the Caledonian. The rivalry of the two companies is, in brief, the principal feature of Scottish railway organisation, the public reaping the benefit in numerous and rapid trains, and keen competition for goods and mineral traffic - a rivalry not always beneficial to the shareholders, but of late years having been modified to their manifest advantage. In the construction of the North British, there have been many considerable engineering works, including the great bridges over the Tay and the Forth to be subsequently noticed. The original line, Berwick to Edinburgh, presents no extensive works, though offering to the traveller some highly picturesque glimpses as it touches the sea near Berwick and at Dunbar, and passes the defile of Peasebrig. The Border Counties line, from Hexham in Northumberland to Riccarton (with branch to Rothbury and Morpeth), takes the traveller through a district of great interest, and climbing over the Cheviot Hills crosses the Border at a high elevation. From Carlisle northward to Hawick the line is not important in any engineering sense, but in the ascent and descent of the watersheds and the passage of Whitrope tunnel the line shows gradients and curves which rendered the use of `bogie' engines a matter of necessity in working the fast express trains. The summit-level at Falahill is frequently in winter the scene of obstructions from snow drifts. As this line passes through the Scott country and the scenes of Border story, it attracts large numbers of visitors annually, especially to Melrose (for Melrose and Dryburgh Abbeys and Abbotsford), Kelso, Jedburgh, etc., also to Selkirk, Innerleithen, and Peebles for angling in St Mary's Loch and the many fine streams throughout the district, and on the local lines to Roslin Chapel, etc. Between Edinburgh and Glasgow, the main line is a notable and costly engineering work, it having been made before the power of locomotives to overcome gradients and curves was properly understood. It includes two extensive stone viaducts over the Almond and Avon, and the cuttings and tunnel near Winchburgh were made at immense cost. The trains suffer from delay in entering Glasgow by a very long tunnel with an incline so steep that it must be worked by a rope and stationary engine. To overcome this delay as regards the Dumbartonshire and local Stirlingshire traffic, the suburban route in Glasgow already described was projected. The Edinburgh and Glasgow line passes close to Linlithgow, a favourite resort to visit the royal palace there,- but in too many places, particularly at Falkirk, the line avoids the towns, partly from the desire to make straight as well as level runs on the railway, and partly from the idea in those early times that the vicinity of a railway was not desirable. The town of Falkirk is best reached by the Grahamston station on the Larbert junction line, the station being actually in the town, while that on the main Glasgow line is about 2 miles distant. At Cowlairs the company maintains large engineering and carriage building works, where about 2000 persons are employed. The Fifeshire section of the system is devoid of engineering importance, but at the ferry between Granton and Burntisland there is an ingenious contrivance perfected by Sir Thomas Bouch in 1851, under which goods trains are shipped and unshipped at any state of the tide on large steamers built for the purpose. A movable platform, level above and diagonal below, is raised or lowered on a sloping face to the necessary level, and from it flying booms in pairs carry the rails forward to meet the stern of the vessel. The steamers used are large and broad, and are built with separate engines for each paddle, so as to leave the centre of the deck free to receive waggons on several lines of rails over its whole length. The movable platform is raised or lowered by steam, and the waggons, in trains of five or six, are run on and off by chains worked by the stationary engine. The first vessel, the Leviathan, built by Napier of Glasgow, is still in use, but other and larger 'floating railways' have since been built. With the exception of such slight accidents as are perhaps inevitable in working such a system, it has been used daily in all weathers, and with unqualified success during the whole period since it was constructed. A project to adapt the same system at Queensferry was made in 1861 by Bouch, but was not carried out, and then efforts were directed towards bridging the two rivers. Those works are so intimately associated with the engineer who first devised them that their story may best be told in the words of the memoir of that distinguished engineer, published by the Institution of Civil Engineers after his death in 1880:-

'After the floating railway, already described, had come into operation, Mr Bouch's attention was drawn to the desirability of having a more direct connection between the north and south of Scotland, by carrying uninterrupted railway communication across the two estuaries of the Forth and the Tay. Taking the Forth first, besides laying out the scheme for a railway ferry at Queensferry, he projected the Glasgow and North British railway, plans for which were lodged in l864, and in which it was proposed to cross the estuary by a fixed bridge. This was proposed to be 3 miles long, and was to extend from the south side to a point called the Stacks, about a mile above Charleston on the Fife shore, the piers consisting of wrought-iron cylinders supported on a wide base on the silt bottom of the river. An experimental pier for this bridge was prepared and partly sunk to its- place, attracting much attention amongst professional men at the time. The bridge was to have been 125 feet above high-water level, and five of its spans were to have been 500 feet each, to cross the fairway of the river. After considerable progress had been made with the experimental pier, the project was abandoned, on the failure of Mr Hodgson's policy as chairman of the North British railway. The question of bridging the Forth was, however, not lost sight of by Mr Bouch, who in 1873, after the Tay Bridge had been begun, projected a design of a much bolder character. He removed the point of crossing to Queensferry, where the width was much reduced, but the depth much increased. Taking advantage of the island of Inchgarvie, in the middle of the estuary, as a foundation for a central pier, he proposed to cross the deep-water channels on each side by two spans of 1600 feet each, elevated 150 feet above high-water line. Each span was to be supported by suspension chains, having a deflection of 375 feet, the stiffening necessary for railway traffic being provided by tie-rods and strong lattice girders. The piers were formed of cast-iron columns, strongly braced, and their total height from the foundation was upwards of 600 feet. The advantages promised by this scheme were so great that the several railway companies, both English and Scotch, who were interested in the traffic on the eastern side of the kingdom, eagerly professed their willingness to support it, if it were practicable: but on account of the unexampled boldness of the design, they stipulated that it should be submitted to the opinion of some of the highest engineering authorities in the kingdom. Accordingly a committee of four eminent engineers, Sir John Hawkshaw, Messrs W. H. Barlow, G. P. Bidder, and T. E. Harrison, was appointed for the purpose; and at their suggestion an elaborate investigation of the proposed design, in full theoretical and practical detail, was undertaken by Mr W. H. Barlow and Dr Wm. Pole, assisted on some points by the Astronomer Royal, Sir G. B. Airy. Their report was given on the 30th June 1873, and it was so favourable that the four referees pronounced an unqualified approval of the plan. They said: 2 It affords us great satisfaction to be able to give our sanction to a work of so imposing a character, and to express our high approval - of the skill, scientific research, and practical knowledge which have been brought to bear upon the elaboration of this interesting work."

' Some years elapsed, in consequence of financial difficulties, before the scheme took a practical shape, but in 1878 a company was formed, the contracts for the Forth Bridge were let, and on the 30th September in that year the works were formally begun.

' Although Mr Bouch had, as early as 1849, expressed his determination to bridge both estuaries, it was not till 1863 that the first proposal for a Tay Bridge was made public, and not till July 1870 that the bill for this purpose received the royal assent. As originally designed, the Tay Bridge differed in some of its details from the scheme ultimately carried out. As eventually built, the bridge was within a few yards of 2 miles long: it consisted of eighty-five spans, namely, seventy-two in the shallow water on the north and south sides varying from 29 to 145 feet; and thirteen larger spans over the fairway channel, two of these being 227 feet, and eleven 245 feet wide. The rails rested on the upper members of the girders generally, but on the lower members of the thirteen large spans. The system of wrought-iron lattice girders was adopted throughout, Mr Bouch adhering to the form of construction which had been successfully employed in other works designed by him. The piers were originally intended to be of brickwork, but after the fourteen nearest the south shore had been thus erected, the fifteenth showed a failure of the anticipated foundation, which led to the abandonment of brick and the introduction of iron. In the lesser piers the group of pillars consisted of four of 12 inches diameter, and for the larger spans six pillars were used, disposed in two triangular groups of three each, and stiffened with cross bracing. After many vicissitudes and delays caused by unexpected difficulties in carrying out the work, the line was completed continuously from shore to shore on the 22nd of September 1877, after which date there was a heavy ballast traffic across the river, testing the carrying power of the bridge in a satisfactory way. The inspection of the work by Major-General Hutchinson, R.E., on behalf of the Board of Trade occupied three days, and on the 31st of May l878, the bridge was opened with much ceremony and rejoicing, the engineer being presented with the freedom of the town of Dundee. Traffic on the bridge was at once begun, and a direct service of trains from Edinburgh and Glasgow to Aberdeen was organised, saving much time and inconvenience by the abandonment of the ferry crossing and the double change of conveyance it involved. The improvement was fully appreciated by the public, and in June 1879 the Queen crossed the bridge on her journey southwards from Balmoral. As a mark of royal approval of the striking achievement of the engineer, the Queen commanded the attendance of Mr Bouch at Windsor, and on the 26th of June 1879, he received the honour of knighthood.

' The traffic was continued uninterruptedly till the evening of Sunday the 28th of December 1879, when a violent hurricane arose, and during the passage of a train from Edinburgh across the bridge, the central portion fell into the river, carrying with it the entire train and its load of about seventy passengers, all of whom lost their lives. An inquiry was instituted by the Board of Trade into the circumstances of the accident, the evidence showing much conflict of opinion as to its cause. There could be no doubt, however, of the almost unprecedented violence of the gale, and Sir Thomas Bouch strongly held the opinion that under this force some part of the train had left the rails, which he considered would amply account for the disaster. He had for some time not been well, and under the shock and distress of mind caused by the casualty his health more rapidly gave way, and he died at Moffat on the 30th of October 1880. In his death the profession has to lament one who, though perhaps carrying his works nearer to the margin of safety than many others would have done, displayed boldness, originality, and resource in a high degree, and bore a distinguished part in the later development of the railway system.

' One unfortunate effect of the disaster was to paralyse the operations that had been favourably going on to. wards the larger project of crossing the estuary of the Forth. The public had, for the moment, lost faith in large iron bridges; the Board of Trade made larger demands of security, and the Forth Bridge Company, rather than persevere in so bold a scheme in the face of a temporarily unfavourable phase of public opinion, resolved to abandon the undertaking, or at least to wait till a more convenient season for its further prosecution.'

Within two years of the fall of the Tay Bridge the North British Railway Company obtained an act authorising the construction of a new viaduct, differing in many points of detail from the original structure. Starting from nearly the same points N and S, the new bridge stands about 50 yards W of the old. In the number and arrangement of spans it is identical, and in the method of sinking the foundations and bringing up the structure above high -water mark the process is the same. It differs (1st) in being a double instead of a single line, by which the lateral stability and carrying capacity are increased; (2d) in the upper structure being in solid plates of malleable iron, instead of groups of cast-iron columns; and (3d) in being less in elevation above high water o. s. t. The reduction in the height caused an obligation to be imposed on the company to tow all vessels proceeding to Perth or elsewhere above bridge. The engineer of this bridge is Mr Barlow, and its estimated cost £800,000.

Although under the Act of 1878 the Forth Bridge was formally begun as already stated, no steps were taken to carry on the work, and the destruction of the Tay Bridge caused the scheme as designed by Sir Thomas Bouch to be abandoned, and a new design to be prepared. This was done by Mr Fowler, who made several very important alterations, although, as before, the two spans of 1600 feet crossing the fairways of the river, remain necessary features of the design. As in the case of the Tay Bridge, the structure provides a double line, and in the wider spans these are built independently and separated by a distance of 100 feet, with lateral bracings connecting them, so that additional stability- is thus secured. The bridge is approached by a long viaduct of 30 spans on the lattice girder principle, and in the two main spans the suspension -principle has been abandoned, those spans being instead constructed in a semi-circular form below on the cantilever principle. In this case also a reduction in height was authorised by the Act, and from the careful tests taken, and the determination of the board to make a structure immovable by any hurricane within experience, the bridge possesses high elements of stability. Although this structure has been noticed under the North British Railway, it does not belong to that company, being independently promoted under a guarantee for traffic and dividend to which the Great Northern, Midland, North-Eastern, and North British Railways are parties. The North British is charged with the duty of working the bridge and its connecting lines at 50 per cent. of the gross traffic, while the various companies, besides a guarantee for the dividend, are bound to direct a stated amount of traffic to the bridge.

Another work of engineering importance is the bridge over the Esk at Montrose. This bridge as designed by Bouch failed, owing to the bad foundation furnished by the ' back-sands, ' and considerable expense was incurred in erecting a new lattice girder bridge, which was opened in 1882. A fine iron bridge, designed by Bouch, crosses the Dryden burn on the Edinburgh and Rosslyn line, and the bridge crossing the Tweed below Melrose, carrying the railway to Earlston, is an imposing stone structure, and as it carries a single line only it appears very slender owing to its great height, and having shown some indications of yielding at one end, the piers have been strongly re-inforced there.

The character of the traffic borne by the North British railway is much diversified. As a passenger line it ranks first in Scotland, a larger proportion of its revenue being derived from this source than is the case with its great rival line the Caledonian. It is the sole means of railway communication over a very large district, and in the denser parts of the country it maintains a lively competition with the other lines. In mineral traffic it has connection with docks or harbours at Leith (by two lines), Bo'ness, Burntisland, Charleston, Glasgow (by the Stobcross docks), Silloth, etc. It has considerable fish traffic from Dunbar, Eyemouth (to which a railway is about to be made), Granton, Anstruther, etc. Its tourist district embraces the Scott country, and such interesting historical places as Lochleven, Dunfermline, Falkland, St Andrews, and Linlithgow. Its importance as a part of the shortest and swiftest route from Edinburgh to London, and as the best line from Edinburgh to Glasgow, has already been adverted to, and over both those lines it conducts an important part of the postal service. The history of the North British has been one of many vicissitudes. In Mr Richard Hodgson it possessed a man of great energy and foresight, and his endeavours to realise a gigantic and well compacted system plunged the company into serious financial difficulties, which formed the subject of a special investigation in 1867. It is one of the features of the later history of the company, that most of Mr Hodgson's ideas have since been carried out. By great boldness he secured the access to Carlisle from Hawick, which, had it fallen into the hands of the Caledonian, would have made the now picturesque and favourite ' Waverley Route ' a cul de sac. On Mr Hodgson's downfall the company secured a man of no less ability and courage in Mr Stirling of Kippendavie, who, for fifteen years, ruled the destinies of the railway. It was under his direction that the company pushed into the great Lanarkshire coalfield by the ' Coatbridge undertaking, ' which made the Edinburgh and Bathgate railway a through line, and by special lines running to Hamilton, etc. The Glasgow connection was strengthened by the construction of the Stobcross docks and connecting lines, while northward the construction of the Forth and Tay Bridges, the acquirement of one-half of the Dundee and Arbroath, the new railway to Montrose, and the purchase of the Bervie line indicate a policy pointing to a direct route to Aberdeen and the north, entirely independent of those ' running powers ' from Larbert to Perth, and from Arbroath to Aberdeen, already held as the fruits of keen parliamentary strife. At the beginning of 1879 the company seemed to be approaching an end of its difficulties, but the fall of the Tay Bridge, and the consequent loss of traffic and money, caused the fortunes of the company again to droop. A revival speedily followed, however, and in the spring of 1883 the ' ordinary ' stock obtained a dividend of 5 per cent., a rate which had not been paid since 1848, and which was in 1884 increased to 5½ per cent. During thirteen of the intervening years no dividend was paid on that stock, although as a rule all the ' preference ' dividends have been fully paid. In 1848, it may be stated, the entire capital receiving dividend was £1, 080, 000, while in 1884 the capital was over thirty-two millions, the ' ordinary ' capital above referred to as then receiving 5½ per cent. being over four millions and a half. a part of the recent policy of the company has been to encourage the formation of local lines, and after their into the system under terms more or less favourable. Under various heads throughout this work (Border Counties Railway, Berwickshire Railway, etc., etc.) will be found particulars of a number of railways which have been in this way amalgamated with the North British.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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