The West Calder Loop

The day to day working of the Caledonian Railway Company, including its constituents and successors.
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IBrown
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:36 pm

The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

In addition to the Caledonian main lines (Caley ‘Shotts lines’) between Addiewell & West Calder stations, there was a single goods line – The West Calder Loop - that ran between Woodmuir Junction and Limefield Junction. The Loop served the shale oil industry in the area north of the main lines from the 1890’s and closed in the early 1960’s. I believe there was only one place that trains could cross, at Hermand Works, but apart from one ‘mystery’ box and signals at Stoneyburn / Addiewell (see below) there appears to have been no intermediate boxes or signals on it.

The North British (NB) also had a single goods line into Addiewell Oil Works running south from Addiewell Junction on its Bathgate – Morningside / Coltness (Wishaw) line - it too closed in the early 1960s. This line was built prior to the West Calder Loop.

An 1893 map shows the NB Branch and Caley Loop line crossed on a flat rail crossing, a signal box was located at the point where they crossed – in the Cuthill area of Stoneyburn - and there were signals on both lines. Later maps continue this flat crossing theme, but without the box, and with signals present only on the West Calder Loop. These maps are on the Scottish Map Library website, and can be zoomed:-

1893 revision - shows the flat rail crossing and a building marked as a signal box.

http://maps.nls.uk/view/82878216#zoom=5 ... &layers=BT

1917 revision - shows the building previously marked as a signal box at the flat rail crossing now carries no designation.

http://maps.nls.uk/view/82895739#zoom=6 ... &layers=BT

I visited National Archives of Scotland on 3/10/12 to view plans of West Calder Loop and Addiewell Oil Works branch. A flat crossing is a fairly unique installation in Scotland yet I found what was held in the Archives to be quite disappointing - plans without supporting documentation. The West Calder Loop plan RHP99176 is out of copyright and has been digitised into 12 separate screen displays each of which contain only a portion of the line, these individual frames are not linked so there is no pan facility between them rendering the overall picture far from clear. One frame RHP99176/8 “Crossing of Branch No. 6 with Addiewell Branch” is a drawing of a flat crossing between the two lines - evidence that Cuthill Crossing did exist - but it is basically only a couple of ruled lines with measurements and there is no supporting information on how this portion of line was worked / signalled. Given that Caledonian, 'NCB' and perhaps 'Scottish Oils' trainmen worked over the West Calder Loop, and the likely volatile nature of the traffic that worked over Addiewell Oil Works Branch, I believe some sort of basic signalling system must have existed to stop conflicting movements. But I don't know where that information is, what the ‘mystery’ box was or which company owned and staffed it. I can’t find any record of it at all.

Graham Roberts on Signal Box forum provided useful information:-

“The LNE 1937, 1947 and BR 1961 SAs mention Addiewell Junction to Addiewell Goods: worked by train staff - one engine in steam - train staff custodier (sic) Addiewell Junction signalman.

The Caley 1915 SA doesn't list the West Calder Loop as block worked, so there's no mention of its signal boxes if any... but there is a special instruction which maybe sheds some light on the ‘mystery’ box:

Westcalder Loop Line (Woodmuir Junction end) - Loganlea Colliery and Cuthill Crossing.

The Section, Woodmuir Junction and Cuthill Crossing, is worked on a time arrangement as under:-
Times for United Colliery Engine 6.0am to 9.30am, 1.0pm to 2.0pm, 4.0 to 6.0pm; Times for Caledonian Railway Co.'s engine: 9.30am to 1.0pm, 2.0pm to 4.0pm.
These times must be strictly observed by all concerned. During the times set apart for the working of the Caledonian Company's Engine as above, the line between Loganlea Colliery Junction and Cuthill Crossing is to be kept clear for the United Colliery Company's Engine."

There's a further local instruction about Limefield Junction and Hermand Siding which states the former Oil Works at Hermand is closed and the siding is now use for 'Farmer's, &c., traffic'. There is mention of a 'West Calder Loop Line Train Staff lettered "Limefield Junction and Hermand Siding," which is kept in the Signal Box at Limefield Junction', and which was also used for the Westwood Pits branch.

The LMS 1937 SA : Limefield Junction, the Westwood Pits /Hermand Siding branch is worked on a time arrangement: LMS engines 9am to 5pm, Scottish Oil engines 5pm to 9am. No mention of a train staff.

Grahams thoughts, summarised:
(i) there was a signal box at the NBR/CR flat crossing in 1893, but removed by 1917;
(ii) this flat crossing was referred to as "Cuthill Crossing" in 1915
(iii) there was a practice of sharing West Calder Loop line access between the Caley and the colliery company at specific times
(iv) the West Calder Loop was worked by train staff, but it's unclear whether, in 1937 or even 1915, there were actually through trains on it.

Might the West Calder Loop have been worked, even as early as 1915, as independent segments from Woodmuir and Limefield junctions respectively, with a sleeper fixed across it at both sides of Cuthill Crossing?

Perhaps an earlier NB or CR SA would shed more light, if anyone has one? “


The full discussion on Signal Box forum

http://www.signalbox.org/forum/viewtopi ... oop#p51525

Woodmuir Jn on OS map

http://maps.nls.uk/view/82878231#zoom=5 ... &layers=BT

There are 3 photos of Woodmuir Jn., all taken from the Up side (to Edinburgh) and look towards Addiewell, West Calder and Edinburgh.

‘Woodmuir Junction’ Photo 1 shows the West Calder Loop swinging left away from the main lines – the bing in the background is Addiewell Oil Works shale bing, still there today but much reduced and landscaped.

http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_edin_t/1_ ... nction.htm

‘Woodmuir Junction’ Photo 2 shows that it must have been a fairly busy place in its day.

http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_edin_t/1_ ... tm#picture


‘NCB No 13’. The photo shows that private locos worked between the West Calder Loop and the BR sidings adjacent to the main line.

http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/1_edin_t/1_ ... _no_13.htm


So is there a pre-1915 Caledonian Sectional Appendix in existence, and does it shed any further light on a box and signals at Cuthill Crossing?
Last edited by IBrown on Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:48 pm, edited 6 times in total.
David Elvy
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by David Elvy »

I managed to find a good few maps for the Stoneyburn area for the simple reason the lines encircled the village where I live, but, none of them identified the line which ran just to the south of our house as being Caley.
You message has most definitely got my attention; if you have any other information or links to where information might be available could you please pass it on.

I will be up at the village community centre Friday evening and will see what some of the locals can remember.


David
Jim Summers
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by Jim Summers »

Harry Knox's book on the Shale and Shale Railways is launching at ModelRail at the SECC in a couple of weeks.

He'll be on Douglas Blades' stand, if you want to explore it with him.

It'll be a good book to have anyway.

Jim S
charles d
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by charles d »

There was another line in this maze which ran from the Caley loop heading West and then curving round to the North to connect into Foulshiels Colliery (which was served also by the NBR line between Addiewell Jnct and the flat crossing)

The connection faced East and workings from Woodmuir Jnct/Loganlea would require a reversal to access Foulshiels.

Foulshiels and Loganlea were United Collieries pits before NCB and there MAY have been workings between them which may have lasted into the 1950s. The IRS Scotland book tells us that Foulshiels ceased coal production in 11/1957 but that the rail system was retained until 1963. However, no reason is given but coal from other pits may have come in for washing. David, a question for your locals perhaps? An NCB loco is recorded in the IRS book at Foulshiels up until 1960 but may of course have been taken out of use prior to that date

Harry Knox had borrowed maps of the area from me when he was researching his forthcoming book so the answers may be forthcoming soon. Apologies for rambling somewhat away from the flat crossing.

David, the course of this line could be made out quite recently - it curved round the West end of the Juniors football ground

Charles d
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

elvan4472 wrote:I managed to find a good few maps for the Stoneyburn area for the simple reason the lines encircled the village where I live, but, none of them identified the line which ran just to the south of our house as being Caley.
You message has most definitely got my attention; if you have any other information or links to where information might be available could you please pass it on.

I will be up at the village community centre Friday evening and will see what some of the locals can remember.


David
Hi David


Most of my information comes from doing a lot of walking in the 1990’s in the triangle bounded by Fauldhouse, West Calder and Bathgate, including the West Calder Loop and the Stoneyburn / Loganlea footpath over the Breich water. A lot of landscaping had been done, both viaducts were down (the one at West Calder end remains as a public footpath) and few landmarks remained except of course The Five Sisters, Addiewell Parish Church and Foulshiels bing. Basically, I’d nothing to refer to back then – I’d a lucky break with one photo in a book by Gemmell of a train shunting Addiewell Oil Works, which showed Addiewell Parish Church in the background. It was the church I recognised while out walking, and that was how I located that site. Quite evocative, the smoke deflector was still in place on the bridge over the NB Branch at Livingstone Street, Addiewell.

Foulshiels pit was of course serviced by both NB and Caley both of which had a level crossing over Main Street, Stoneyburn within a few hundred yards of each other. The NB one was easily recognisable at the far east end of the village, but I fancied that on a walk I saw the remains of the gates of the Caley one in the centre of Stoneyburn at the tall white building at Park View - both gate posts still remained on the south side of the street and the Caley Foulshiels branch ran northwards there on the east side of the Bowling Green. Stoneyburn pit lay just on the other side of the road (Elizabeth Gardens).

In the last 3 years or so, old-maps.co.uk put some excellent maps on-line covering from present day back to 1800’s, facilitating a transitional picture over time, by selecting maps by date from a menu. In the beginning these gave excellent detail – good definition, street names etc., but in the last year or so they have deteriorated. But that was how I converted suspicion of a level crossing to fact that there was a crossing there – from a map on that website.

I try to use National Library website maps now, and there is one which incorporates a slider facility which by moving the slider can show change over time on the same map, the early ones being NLS and the current one being Google.

In 2012, two new local websites really filled the blanks with old photographs of what was there: Addiewell Heritage, and Stoneyburn Memories. West Lothian Council Heritage Museum, Linlithgow support both and I have visited it and made contact with Sybil Cavanagh by email who is responsible for both websites. She put a request on Addiewell Heritage on my behalf for information on Cuthill Crossing, but she warned the website launch was ‘soft’ so a lot of local people may not even know of its existence. A photo stream was added which included a lot on local NB & Caley railways, and excellent photos of the demolished viaducts … I tried tonight to locate them but the website has changed and I cannot find that photo stream which included photos of the Loganlea pit railway sidings and their connection with the West Calder Loop.

http://www.addiewellheritage.org.uk/pag ... 4p31p.aspx


Some confusion does arise on the Stoneyburn website concerning the two level crossings. I was discussing what the buildings were on the west side of Cuthill siding at the NB level crossing, and Sybil Cavanagh replied:-

There is explanation in John B. Murray’s book, ‘Stoneyburn: the forgotten baby’, page 9, of what one of these buildings was:
‘The census of 1871 shows that there was a cottage at the level crossing on the main street at the eastern end of the village. This was owned by the Caledonian Railway Company and housed the crossing keeper, Joseph Wood and his family. It was demolished in the Fifties when the Foulshiels Colliery closed.’


The confusion may be that in 1871 the east end of the village is the present day centre, and IMO the cottage for the Caley Crossing Keeper is more likely to be placed next to the Caley crossing, than the NB one, for operational reasons.

Then on the Stoneyburn website:-

The first few years of the 1990's have seen the almost derelict Park View flats completely refurbished and the building now consists of 36 maisonette flats. A new bungalow was built on the north side of the Main Street on the site of the old Cuthill Crossing Cottage next to the new school.

http://www.stoneyburn.com/stoney/history/history4.htm

The school was built at the east end of the village near NB level crossing. Then there is the name given to the cottage – Cuthill Crossing cottage. So is this a cottage provided by Caledonian for a pointsman at Cuthill Crossing, a few hundred yards south, rather than a crossing keeper for the Caley level crossing a good bit further west? Or does it take its name from the siding (Cuthill siding) or the general area (Cuthill farm)? The NB level crossing was known as Cuthill Level Crossing and had gates normally closed against the railway, worked by trainmen, so that also adds to the mystery of why the Caley would build a crossing keeper's cottage there.

But I drew a blank for photos of the Cuthill Crossing area itself. One of the photos of the NB Addiewell viaduct was taken tantalisingly close the photographer must have been standing right at the Crossing. Also, there was a footbridge over the West Calder Loop located behind 47/51 Cuthill Crescent where the path that crossed it started – (this became the current Stoneyburn / Loganlea footpath).

Surely someone local took photos there? Even if it was of the 5 Sisters it would still be looking east and Cuthill Crossing would be right there in the foreground. After all, that is how the very first photo of the West Calder Loop viaduct was captured - accidently - in the background of a family group posing for a photo (see Addiewell Heritage website for that photo) but other photos of it appeared in the photo stream.
Last edited by IBrown on Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
IBrown
Posts: 330
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

charles d wrote:There was another line in this maze which ran from the Caley loop heading West and then curving round to the North to connect into Foulshiels Colliery (which was served also by the NBR line between Addiewell Jnct and the flat crossing)

The connection faced East and workings from Woodmuir Jnct/Loganlea would require a reversal to access Foulshiels.

Foulshiels and Loganlea were United Collieries pits before NCB and there MAY have been workings between them which may have lasted into the 1950s. The IRS Scotland book tells us that Foulshiels ceased coal production in 11/1957 but that the rail system was retained until 1963. However, no reason is given but coal from other pits may have come in for washing. David, a question for your locals perhaps? An NCB loco is recorded in the IRS book at Foulshiels up until 1960 but may of course have been taken out of use prior to that date

Harry Knox had borrowed maps of the area from me when he was researching his forthcoming book so the answers may be forthcoming soon. Apologies for rambling somewhat away from the flat crossing.

David, the course of this line could be made out quite recently - it curved round the West end of the Juniors football ground

Charles d
There were three pits - Loganlea No3 lay south of the Caley main line at the end of the Woodmuir Branch - see OS map for Woodmuir Jn. Longanlea Nos 1 & 2 lay on a short branch running west off the West Calder Loop on the Woodmuir Jn side of the viaduct. Foulshiels lay at the end of the branch off the Loop which ran north over Main Street Stoneyburn. Trains working Foulshiels would require to run towards Cuthill Crossing and propel back. The 3 pits were worked as one unit, and Loganlea No2 had the plant which supplied electrical power to all 3 pits.

I posted a link for Woodmuir Jn which showed an NCB tank engine there. There were comments included under the photo on the history of the loco.
charles d
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by charles d »

The third pit you mention South of the main line was, to the NCB at least, officially known as "Woodmuir" but Loganlea 3 sounds a fairly logical nickname, somewhat similar to Polkemmet - nobody I knew in the 1950s/60s period called it anything other than "Dardanelles" after the date of sinking of the No 2 shaft

Meanwhile back at the flat crossing - I have had a look at the LNER appendix dated 1937 and there is no mention of any instructions for working over the crossing. A 1" to the mile map revised 1923/24 still shows the Caledonian line in place but traffic may have ceased even by then with the crossing being taken out between these dates. Can anyone confirm?
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

charles d wrote:......
Meanwhile back at the flat crossing - I have had a look at the LNER appendix dated 1937 and there is no mention of any instructions for working over the crossing. A 1" to the mile map revised 1923/24 still shows the Caledonian line in place but traffic may have ceased even by then with the crossing being taken out between these dates. Can anyone confirm?
Hi,

Graham Roberts had provided the following SA information for me on NB Addiewell Branch which I did not include here-

The LNE 1937 SA mentions Line 130, Addiewell Junction to Addiewell Goods: worked by train staff - one engine in steam - train staff custodier (sic) Addiewell Junction signalman. It lists Foulshiels Siding and Cuthill Siding as worked from ground frames controlled by Annet's Key, and mentions Addiewell Oil Works Sidings and Addiewell Goods Sidings as worked by hand points, with a notice board at the Oil Works Sidings showing here the staff section ended and yard working began. It also mentions Cuthill Level Crossing had gates normally closed against the railway, worked by trainmen. The line is also listed in the 1947 and BR 1961 SAs.

The only recollection I have of the office NB line SA is that trains were restricted to 10mph over Addiewell Viaduct, which I thought may have been wooden trestle construction but discovered only last year was actually plate girder construction resting on masonary piers. For the record, the NB Addiewell Branch was built by none other than Thomas Bouch, of Tay Bridge Disaster fame. And strangely enough National Archives of Scotland hold engineering drawings of plate girders used to strengthen the Addiewell viaduct after it was built! But it still retained a 10 mph PSR over it. The photos I referred to in an earlier post also show something about this line which I find puzzling: there is a 'pole line' on the Addiewell Branch - at least over the viaduct and on the right had side of the cutting between the south side of the viaduct and Livingstone Street overbridge. A pole line suggests to me it was there for a signalling system - at least at one time.

Ian
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

2 images taken from West Calder Loop Plan RHP99176 held by National Archives of Scotland, courtesy of BRB (Residuary).
Cuthill Crossing showing how the West Calder Loop crossed the NB Addiewell Branch. Very short on detail.
Cuthill Crossing showing how the West Calder Loop crossed the NB Addiewell Branch. Very short on detail.
RHP99176-8-CutXing-CRA.jpg (85.31 KiB) Viewed 30757 times
Woodmuir Junction
Woodmuir Junction
RHP99176-6-Woodmuir sig house-CRA.jpg (70.95 KiB) Viewed 30757 times

20/12/14 - I removed an image which I've learned was erroneously captioned.
Last edited by IBrown on Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:50 pm, edited 3 times in total.
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

Edited 20/12/14 - I thought this drawing to be the Hermand Oil Works around half a mile east of Cuthill Crossing on the West Calder Loop. After further research I've discovered there were 3 Hermand Oil Works (6 if you count 'Old' and 'New') and the one on the West Calder Loop was better known as 'Breich' , but it is not at Breich village, it probably takes this name from the Breich Water which runs through the area.

Hand written notes bottom left are for another Branch Line into the 'other' 'Hermand Works which lay south of the Shotts Lines at West Calder, and 'the signal house' is for Limefield Junction, on the 'Shotts main line, contolling the junction there with the eastern end of the West Calder Loop.


"Hermand Siding - Company to buy land from Mr Moring? and lay single line of rails from main line to the Bridge. Farle Demmett & Co? to build bridge, make all embankments and lay rails double line south of Bridge (see letter from C Johnstone 19/11/66)"

Hand written notes top right are instructions for a 'signal house' and specific signals for this location, "signed off" -
"1 Junction signal.
3 Distant signals
5 'handles' to work 6 points
Indicators on points 2 to 7"

Date is 1866, and C Johnstone is one of the owners of Hermand Works..
This is Limefield Junction. It does not refer to the 'Hermand Oil Works' on the West Calder Loop.
This is Limefield Junction. It does not refer to the 'Hermand Oil Works' on the West Calder Loop.
RHP99176-5-Hermand sig house-CRA.jpg (82.52 KiB) Viewed 30755 times
Last edited by IBrown on Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

Courtesy National Records of Scotland GD344/13/182 - a hand-drawn sketch of the West Calder Loop dated 2nd August 1917. Endorsed with an account of what appears to have been a track condition survey carried out on that date - whether it was in use, by what and how often - it is a snapshot in time which answers many outstanding questions, and confirms there was once a signalbox at Cuthill Crossing, the remains of which were still visible then, together perhaps with one of it signal posts.
GD344/13/182 West Calder Loop courtesy of National Records, Scotland
GD344/13/182 West Calder Loop courtesy of National Records, Scotland
GD 344-13-182.jpg (45.18 KiB) Viewed 29250 times
For clarity this is what the handwriting on the sketch says, by location, starting at Cuthill Crossing and working clockwise over the Loop:-

At the Level Crossing of the Caledonian West Calder Loop line and the NB Addiewell Oil Works Branch.

CR rails lifted between the NB rails.

Old signal cabin, partly dismantled.

Signal post, disused.

CR traffic from / to Foulsheils Colliery worked between Woodmuir Junction and the Colliery by United Collieries’ engine.

At Hermand (or Breich) Oil Works on West Calder Loop line
Hermand Oil Works – Buildings all dismantled and all rails except the main line and loop line torn up and lying loose.

At West Calder (or Fell's) Oil Works on West Calder Loop line
Dismantled and rails grown over with grass.

At Limefield Junction
Hermand Oil Works branch closed and rails lifted. Quarry and Brickworks closed

Beneath the main lines (still describes the West Calder Loop).

Rails and permanent way in good condition between Limefield Junction and Westwood Pit (Used daily by Edinburgh No. 6 Mineral).

Rails and permanent way in fair condition between Westwood Pit junction and Site of Old Hermand Oil Works (not used).

Rails and permanent way in defective condition between Site of Old Hermand Oil Works and Level Crossing over NB Line. Rails are eaten through with rust and sleepers very much decayed. Young shrubs and trees growing between the rails some of them 8 feet in height and indicates that the line has not been in use for 10 or 15 years.

Rails and permanent way between Woodmuir Junction and Level Crossing in good condition and is worked over several times a day both by our engines and the United Collieries’ engines which brings all the traffic from Foulsheils and places it in the sidings at Woodmuir Junction.


Excerpts from Museum of Shale Oil History

Newspaper accounts of the day show Hermand (Breich Works) stood idle for long periods during its lifetime. Established in 1885 it did fairly good business until it amalgamated with the Walkinshaw Oil Company, Paisley in 1890. Crude Oil produced at Hermand was refined at Inkerman Refinery, Paisley. The refinery was rail connected to the Caledonian’s Greenock line (near today’s Glasgow Airport) and a major fire occurred that there in 1885 was said to have been caused by a shower of hot embers from a passing train. It had been idle since 1886 and needed modernised. The Walkinshaw company was wound up in 1890. Inkerman produced little after 1890 and the refinery, plant and equipment was sold off in 1900. A New Hermand Oil Company was then formed in 1899, production had recommence in 1897 after it had been halted for many years, but in 1902 it then lost half its crude oil business when the Linlithgow Oil Company went into liquidation. This refinery was located near Bridgend at the end of an NB branch line from Linlithgow station on today’s E&G., production there ending in 1903. The Liquidator could not find a buyer for Hermand (Breich Works) as a going concern, it was sold piecemeal by Public Roup and the Company wound up in 1905.

The collapse in shale oil prices saw many of the smaller oil companies with less modern less cost effective Works go under. The 1903 time of the Work’s closure coincides with the non-use of that portion of the West Calder Loop between Hermand and Cuthill Crossing - as GD344/13/182’s “10 or 15 years” suggests. Hermand was the second Oil Works closure on the West Calder Loop Line - see below - there was no longer a flow of traffic for that direction.
RHP99176/7 Mr Fell's or West Calder Oil Works courtesy of National Archives, Scotland
RHP99176/7 Mr Fell's or West Calder Oil Works courtesy of National Archives, Scotland
RHP 99176-7crop.jpg (35.79 KiB) Viewed 29250 times
RHP99176 contains nothing of the eastern part of the West Calder Loop beyond Cuthill Crossing, except one image dated 1867 of ‘Mr Fell’s Oil Works’ sidings. GD344/13/182 helped me identify RHP99176/7 ‘Mr Fell’s Oil Works’ sidings as the ‘also known as’ West Calder Oil Works, in production 1862-79 and doing well until it too changed business from producing oil, to refining it, just when the price of the finished product fell. West Calder Oil Works was sold to ‘Paraffin Young’ in 1880 and torn down, cannibalised and scrapped.

So as one signalbox’s existence is confirmed, another is not, as RHP99176 is silent on a signalbox controlling the crossing loop and sidings at Hermand (Breich Works).
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

GD344/13/182 contains another piece of almost lost history. It shows a line leaving the West Calder Loop mid-way between Cuthill Crossing and Hermand, endorsed ‘rails lifted’. That line does not appear on OS Maps but other sources confirm a ‘siding’ did leave the Loop 200 metres east of Westwood Rows, crossed the road east of Breichdykes Cottages and terminated at a site south of Breichdykes farm.
http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15 ... 3&layers=6

Aerial Map 1950 shows the route described above.
http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15 ... 3&layers=9

The Scottish Shale Website says it was built to serve Westwood Paraffin Oil Works which had a very short life, 1863-65, were dismantled in 1871 and next to nothing is known about them.
http://www.scottishshale.co.uk/GazWorks ... Works.html

That a line that should have closed in 1865 now appears on a 1917 sketch of active and inactive railways suggests it was used for another traffic many years after the Works closed. There are a number of nearby pit shafts which Scottish Shale Website suggest may have served the Paraffin Works. After the Works closed, Breichdyke Pits may have loaded minerals on this line. Unfortunately, next to nothing is known about these pits too. The line could have produced a westward flow of traffic over the West Calder Loop for many years.

Breichdyke Pits 1 to 10
http://www.scottishshale.co.uk/GazMines ... sPits.html

The Westwood Paraffin Oil Works ‘Snippet’ contains another piece of almost lost history: “Caledonian Railway – The Cleland and Mid-Calder Line. The Loop Line, which is the longest of these branches, is already connected to the oil-works of Messrs. Fell & Raeburn, and will shortly be connected with that belonging to Mr Stewart of Westwood”. (The Scotsman 26th November 1868).

Fell owned the West Calder Oil Works (drawing of connection attached in my last post, see “Gavieside” on OS Map link below). Raeburn owned yet another, Grange Oil Works. The Scottish Shale Website items on Grange Works do not show the West Calder Loop or any rail connection. I’ve given an OS Map link, the common factor linking the two maps is Stepend Bridge and Guns Green for Grange Works, and Gavieside for West Calder Works.
http://www.scottishshale.co.uk/GazWorks ... works.html

http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15 ... 9&layers=6

So that is 4 Oil Works and their associated pits which closed before 1900. This is perhaps the reason the westward flow over the West Calder Loop stopped, part of the line fell into disrepair, and the crossing was broken over the NB Line.
IBrown
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Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

I mentioned in earlier posts about confusion caused by different reports of one or more cottage(s) the Caledonian built in Stoneyburn for its employee(s), summarised below.

Courtesy Sybil Cavanagh, West Lothian Archives:

There is explanation in John B. Murray’s book, ‘Stoneyburn: the forgotten baby’, page 9, of what one of these buildings was:

‘The census of 1871 shows that there was a cottage at the level crossing on the main street at the eastern end of the village. This was owned by the Caledonian Railway Company and housed the crossing keeper, Joseph Wood and his family. It was demolished in the Fifties when the Foulshiels Colliery closed.’

Courtesy former Stoneyburn Memories website:

'Cuthill cottage was built about 1870 as a home for the pointsman on the Caledonian Railway Company's line to the well-established colliery at Loganlea. His job was to switch the points to send the trains to either this pit, or to the later pit at Foulshiels.'
http://www.stoneyburn.com/stoney/history/history3.htm (Broken Link)

'--- next to the 'White Gates' level crossing in the middle of the village, --'
http://www.stoneyburn.com/stoney/history/history6.htm (Broken Link)

'The first few years of the 1990's have seen the almost derelict Park View flats completely refurbished and the building now consists of 36 maisonette flats. A new bungalow was built on the north side of the Main Street on the site of the old Cuthill Crossing Cottage next to the new school. '
http://www.stoneyburn.com/stoney/history/history4.htm (Broken Link)

West Lothian Council gives three ‘Cuthill’ catchment areas in Stoneyburn for its local schools: Cuthill, Cuthill Cottage and Cuthill Siding. It appears from this that Cuthill Siding was (also) the postal address of the cottage(s) at the NB level crossing on the main street east of the village. It is also the name for the NB Public siding there (Cuthill siding). I don’t know if another cottage was built in the (now) centre of the village or if all accounts are for the cottage(s) at the NB level crossing and known by different names?

Tucked away under Mining Accidents:-

Another Caledonian employee, William Moon Jackson, unmarried, was found dead in tragic circumstances on 27th December 1870. The two newspaper accounts managed to garble some details but both give Jackson’s employment as ‘a pointsman at Cuthill on the loop line of the Caledonian Railway.’ Jackson’s home address is given as Cuthill Siding.

27th December 1870
http://www.scottishmining.co.uk/345.html

Pointsman was an early name for Signalman. This appears to me to have been a signalman at Cuthill Crossing, which may have been known locally by different names, e.g. Cuthill (above) or ‘Level Crossing’ (GD344/13/182).

CR (Foulsheils) level crossing, NB Level crossing, Cuthill Siding Cottage, Cuthill Crossing signalbox, 1917
http://maps.nls.uk/view/82895739#zoom=5 ... &layers=BT
David Elvy
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:26 am

Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by David Elvy »

Jim Summers wrote:Harry Knox's book on the Shale and Shale Railways is launching at ModelRail at the SECC in a couple of weeks.

He'll be on Douglas Blades' stand, if you want to explore it with him.

It'll be a good book to have anyway.

Jim S
Jim,

Unfortunately this book gives Stoneyburn and Foulshiels, as the pit was known, only a brief mention.

Ian,

I have also failed on the family picture front, if you would like a history of the different housing and stages of construction theirs plenty of family photos. I have only found 1 photo of the bing when it was being levelled by which time the railway was gone. My in laws and wife remember playing on the two bridges but again no photos of the bridge or viaduct.
My farther in law unfortunately has dementia and only just remembers working at the foulshiels.

What I can do is take any photos you might wish of the present day, you'll probably already know the NB line on the north side of the road has now been surfaced with mixed gravel and the CR line that went west from the crossing is also a footpath around the back of the village.

Let me know if I can help with any photos.

David
IBrown
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:36 pm

Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

David,

I am sorry to hear of your father-in-law's condition. Thank you for keeping a watching brief for further material.

I have a photo which is much too large to post here and it is for another project, but there is a twin-peaked bing on it which I think is Foulshiels but I cannot positively identify it as such as I have only seen it in 'the flesh' after levelling, and in one photo taken in Loganlea which shows a straight-on southerly aspect of it, and one peak. Was Foulshiels twin-peaked on a north-south axis?
David Elvy
Posts: 453
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:26 am

Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by David Elvy »

Going west from the crossing with the NB the Caledonian went slightly south and over a bridge back towards the main line, at one point in time their was a spare spur that branch off before the bridge carried on for about 50 yards then curved north, originally I believe this branch served the original Stoneyburn mine shaft, lately maps show it continued north to meet the Bathgate / Addiewell passenger connection, does anyone have any further details on this short spur off the West Calder Loop?

David
IBrown
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:36 pm

Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

David,

I think you are describing the Caley link to Foulshiels, which trailed off the West Calder Loop between Cuthill Crossing and the viaduct:-

"Foulshiels pit was serviced by both NB and Caley both of which had separate level crossings over Main Street, Stoneyburn within a few hundred yards of each other. The NB one was easily recognisable at the far east end of the village, but I fancied that on a walk I saw the remains of the gate posts of the Caley one in the centre of Stoneyburn at the tall white building at Park View - both gate posts still remained on the south side of the street and the Caley Foulshiels branch had ran northwards there on the east side of the Bowling Green. (The original) Stoneyburn pit lay just on the other side of the road (Elizabeth Gardens)". Stoneyburn pit was not rail connected, though perhaps loaded coal at Cuthill Public siding.

The NB link trailed off its Addiewell Oil Works Branch just to the north of Cuthill Public siding. I'm not sure where Foulshiels pithead buildings were, but the NB link looks to have gone back round the east and north side of the bing to a coal loading point on the west side. The Caley looked to have come up on the west side of the bing to the same loading point.

Ian
IBrown
Posts: 330
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:36 pm

Re: The West Calder Loop

Post by IBrown »

I can't find a decent map, but this aerial shot captures Foulshiels layout 1944/50. Pithead seems to lie on the north side of the bing?

http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=15 ... 4&layers=9
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