Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
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Barry Rhys
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Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 10:25 am

Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Barry Rhys »

As some of you know, I have been intending to start this thread since seeing a photo of the Peebles CR station yard referenced in the Cattle Docks thread. The photo is one of the many thousands taken by the George Washington Wilson Co. throughout the second half of the 19th Century, over 37,000 of which are stored as glass plate negatives in the GWW photographic archive of Aberdeen University and viewable on their website here. But don't worry, I'll only refer to about 7 of them.

This post is strictly intended as an introductory posting to the topic by someone who has never visited the area, has seen only what is contained in the GWW photos and on a couple more Internet sites referred to below, and indeed who thought Peebles was the name only of a former Radio 1 DJ until reading the aforesaid Cattle Docks thread. I hope however that it will prompt some of you who have more details or pictures about the subject to do the right thing and help fill in the story.

As a taster for some of the unique features of this locality, here's an early postgrouping LMS view of the Caledonian Railway station.
Peebles CR Station train shed (from west).JPG
Peebles CR Station train shed (from west).JPG (29.84 KiB) Viewed 15717 times
What unique features? Well for a start, why is the platform seat located facing away from the train? Obviously for the line on the near side of the platform, I assumed - except that, as far as I can determine (at least in the 19th Century GWW shots), there is no other line. No, it would appear that this seat is set up to provide waiting passengers with a glorious view of the River Tweed flowing immediately past this side of the station. If this is indeed so, were there many other locations where platform seats were set up to give passengers a nice view, and not face the trains?

To introduce the Peebles railways I've prepared the following (very) rough map. Please don't attempt to scale bridge dimensions etc from the diagrams... The numbers in circles with arrows represent GWW photos that I've linked to below, showing their very approximate locations and viewing directions. Nearly all of these photos are vast panoramic views of the complete town, but the included zoom facility shows just how fine the original glass plates were - later I've reproduced 2 tiny zoomed locations to show the details that can be seen. For those who do not know anything of Peebles, the town sits mostly on the north bank of the River Tweed. The smaller tributary flowing through Peebles centre into the Tweed is Eddleston Water, which in fact was rerouted by the builders of the first Peebles station and apparently thereafter caused a lot of problems with flooding in the town. The bridge over the Tweed is basically the only bridge, and hence an excellent reference point for identifying photos. A second key identification feature visible in many photos but not shown on my map is an impressive weir stretching right across the Tweed immediately downstream of the point where Eddleston Water flows in. The diagram shows the railways as they had developed by around the 1870's - as far as I know not much changed thereafter until closures right at the beginning of British Railways days.
Peebles Railways.JPG
Peebles Railways.JPG (29.68 KiB) Viewed 15717 times
First then, a brief summary of the railway development. Most of this information is taken from an excellent book 'A History of Peebles: 1850-1990', which is reproduced in full on the website http://www.historyofpeebles.com . Chapter 20 The Peebles Railways starts at p.321 here - I definitely recommend you to read it.

First on the scene was the Peebles Railway Company, which received the Royal Assent on 8 July 1853 to build a line from Peebles approximately northwards to a junction with the NBR Edinburgh-Hawick main line near Eskbank. The terminus in Peebles was sited fairly centrally in the town, and the line opened for passenger and goods traffic on 4 July 1855 (shown in green on the diagram - unlike the CR and NBR I dunno what colour their engines were. Green seems a nice colour).

On 21 May 1858 the Symington, Biggar and Broughton Railway Company was incorporated to build a line eastwards from Symington on the Caledonian Railway main line just south of Carstairs Junction, diverging from Carstairs, to a terminus in the village of Broughton in the Tweed valley. The company was backed by the Caledonian Railway, and even before its line between Symington and Broughton was opened the little company had applied to Parliament in November 1859 for a Bill to extend the line from Broughton to a new terminus in Peebles on the south bank of the Tweed. The extension received Royal Assent on 3 July 1860, 4 months before the Symington to Broughton line was finally opened to traffic on 5 November 1860.

By now the North British Railway had recognised the Caledonian Railway's apparent ambitions to extend its reach into the Borders via Biggar and Peebles, and hastily promoted Bills for an NB line joining the Peebles Railway at Peebles and continuing south-eastwards to Innerleithen and thence to Galashiels on the Waverley Line. To cut a long (and fascinating - clearly explained in the above book/website) story short, a compromise agreement was reached between the CR and NBR that, in return for the CR not promoting the building of further extensions beyond the proposed SB&BR Peebles terminus, the NBR (which was negotiating a lease and subsequent purchase of the still independent Peebles Railway) would build a connecting line across the Tweed to enable Caledonian traffic to travel northwards towards Eskbank and south-eastwards over the NBR's proposed Innerleithen and Galashiels line. The CR was further to be allowed to establish its own mineral depots at Innerleithen and Galashiels, and the NBR was required to convey Caledonian mineral traffic to these depots at set rates. The CR was also given running rights over the connecting line and junctions built by the NBR; and finally the NBR would not oppose purchase of the SB&BR by the CR.

On 28 June 1861 the North British (Galashiels and Peebles) Railway Act was passed, and shortly afterwards on 1 August the SB&BR was amalgamated with the Caledonian Railway; the extension from Broughton to the new CR Peebles terminus then being opened on 1 February 1864. The NBR Peebles to Innerleithen line was opened 8 months later on 1 October, which included the construction of a new Peebles station and the closure of the old Peebles Railway terminus to passengers, although the station yard was retained for goods traffic. Finally the remaining NBR Innerleithen to Galashiels section was opened on 18 June 1866, so that the railway from Eskbank through Peebles and on to Galashiels effectively formed a parallel loop line off the Waverley Line.

The story of the connecting lines between the CR and NBR - the so-called Peebles Triangle, enlarged on the diagram - is a story in itself, which I'll detail in another post. In this post I want to concentrate on the Caledonian line; having taken the time to read thus far, I hope you'll take the time to click on the following links to the George Washington Wilson photos and follow the directions (make sure you right-click each link and open in a new window, otherwise every zooming and movement step on the photo will require an additional separate back click to return here). Unfortunately I cannot reproduce the photos here due to copyright reasons, but to be honest I'm just grateful that Aberdeen University have made them available on the Internet instead of hiding them away from prying eyes.

Caledonian station views

Photo 1: Peebles from above Neidpath Castle [GWW Archive Ref. GB 0231 MS 3792/C7628]
Looking eastwards, to the right of centre you can follow the Caledonian line on the right bank of the Tweed to the station. The end-on view of the engine shed to the left of the line, followed by the train shed (shown in the opening photo above) and station yard with goods shed to the right, are very clear. Also clearly visible are the weir on the Tweed and the station entrance road coming down from the Tweed bridge - this is often difficult to discern on views taken from Peebles itself. Most interesting though is the clear view of the NBR connecting line continuing on the south bank of the river then curving northwards and crossing the river on its own bridge in the distance, before disappearing from view among the trees and houses on the north bank; this line and bridge are rarely discernable in views of Peebles, in which the town is obviously the main feature and the line is off-picture.

Photo 2: Peebles from East [GB 0231 MS 3792/C2944]
This view is taken from a hill above the Peebles Hydropathic Establishment on the east side of Peebles, facing westwards. The photographer is so far away from Peebles that, on the far left of the picture, the full length of the connecting line crossing to the south bank of the river and snaking along an embankment on the riverside is extremely clear. The curved plate girder bridge appears relatively wide for its single line - possibly due to using straight plate sections for a curved bridge? The connecting line has its own portal beneath the road over the Tweed Bridge immediately before reaching the Caledonian station, however the connection arrangement with the latter is invisible beyond the portal - hopefully somebody will have some details. Incidentally, much of the NBR main line and its related amenities are visible on this and other photos, however I am deliberately leaving that aside until the subsequent Peebles Triangle discussion (after all, this is the CRA Forum!).

Photo 3: Peebles from South [GB 0231 MS 3792/E4107]
This is the picture from the Cattle Docks thread that started me off! Taken from south of the Caledonian station and showing the station yard, goods shed and train shed, Tweed Bridge on the right and a view of the weir and Eddleston Water beyond in the background. The picture is very bright - possibly even a little over exposed, but that is usually better for seeing details - and there are fantastic details of a large number of early outside-framed mineral wagons and cattle wagons.

Photo 4: Peebles from the East [GB 0231 MS 3792/E3070]
Another from the east taken from close to the Hydropathic Establishment, but a closer view that shows none of the connecting line and has a much clearer view of the CR station across the river. The connecting line portal is just visible at the far left, but the view of the riverside face of the station building with its three-arched entrance portico is especially fine. As I mentioned with regard to Photo 1, the arrangement of the entrance road between the river and station is extremely difficult to discern on photos taken from across the river, due I think to a wall along the river side of the road obscuring the actual width of the road - hence on this picture it appears that a passenger exiting the station building will immediately step off a 10ft ledge into the river! The engine shed is also discernible further along the line, and 2 rows possibly of railway workmen's cottages on the far side of the railway.

Photo 5: Peebles from North [GB 0231 MS 3792/E4108]
Not so much to see of the Caley on this shot, but it's the best overall view of the engine shed and water tower from across the river that I can find - in the distance (aren't they all!) at the left of the picture. Actually this is a nice view of Peebles, and of particular interest are the large number of fenced enclosures at the front of the picture. Could any 19th Century farmers who happen to be reading this confirm whether they are there specifically for the cattle market? - apparently transport of cattle was quite a significant business for the Peebles railways.

Photo 6: Neidpath Castle from Tweed Bridge Peebles [GB 0231 MS 3792/E1246]
This shot is quite unlike the others, as it shows nothing of Peebles itself. As the title says, it was taken from the Tweed Bridge at its north end and facing upstream to capture Neidpath Castle in the centre distance. The full width of the weir is in the foreground, with a beautifully clear shot of the Caledonian water tower and engine shed, water column, and turntable (not visible on any other of the photos) to the left. Can someone identify the engine just coming off the turntable? - that's quite a chimney! Jim Summers also made mention in the GWW Photographs thread here of the signal halfway up the hillside, visible immediately above the engine shed. All in all, with the castle, hills and forests in the background, and with scarcely another building in sight (okay, a little slight zooming necessary) and the Caley engine shed and water tower apparently out in the sticks, this is a startlingly beautiful photograph - definitely my favourite.

Well, that's all for now folks. More on the NBR's deviousness and the Peebles Triangle, shown partially dotted on the map (is that giving too much away?), shortly.

Neil
Last edited by Barry Rhys on Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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jimwatt2mm
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Neil,

Are you aware of the book 'Peebles Railways' published by the Oakwood Press, ISBN 0 85361 638 8? This gives a detailed account of the history of both the original Peebles Railway, subsequently the NBR line, and the S B & B which became the Caley line.

The portal through which the connecting line passed beside the Tweed Bridge is still extant and the area between it and the rail bridge is now a car park and public park, with a footpath on the old embankment. The line itself is also part of a footpath and the Neidpath viaduct, by which the line crossed the Tweed a couple of miles before the town is still there as is a second bridge over the Lyne Water at Lyne. You can see both of these on Google Earth if you follow the track of the line.

Incidentally, some of the bridges on my new layout are based on a couple on the SB&B just outside Symington which are still extant.

Jim W
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Worth waiting for Neil,

To help identify structures I have attached OS maps of the Caledonian station from my collection. Dating photographs of Peebles is always difficult because of the relatively few changes during its 100 or so years of existance. Sometime in the 1880's the goods shed was extended by an additional 2 bays to the original design and in matching stonework to the extent that in later years "you can't see the join". The only other change took place in the run-up to the 1906 Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland Show. The contrasting responses of the CR and NBR are detailed in Peter Marshals Oakwood Press book, whereas the Caledonian welcomed the prospect and set about expanding their already generous facilities, the NBR Board did nothing to endear itself to the local business community by openly questioning whether Peebles was a suitable venue!
In any case the main alterations on the South Bank (of the Tweed) were additional sidings, a larger 60ft turntable (unusually from Ransomes rather than Cowans) adjacent to the original, the installation of the bay or dock platform (thus the station seat facing over the Tweed in the intro photo), leading to re-signalling and a new signal box.
PEEBLES 1898-1908.jpg
PEEBLES 1898-1908.jpg (224.7 KiB) Viewed 15645 times
Helpfully the station site was surveyed by the OS as the attached before and after published 1898 (top) and 1908 (lower).
PEEBLES 1865.jpg
PEEBLES 1865.jpg (141 KiB) Viewed 15662 times
For completeness I also attach the 1865 OS map with the shorter goods shed but otherwise the same. There are several commercial postcards of the site some of which may be the GWW shot (under licence?). Note also that the 2 rows of cottages in the background of Photo 4 were company built and owned (the name Caledonian Cottages on the 1865 map is a bit of a clue here).


Dave L
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Dave Lochrie »

The locomotive in Neidpath Castle from Tweed Bridge Peebles looks like an 1870 Dubs pattern 2-4-0 with a modified weatherboard very similar to the condition of No 24 in the well-known picture of Biggar in the mid 1870's.
CR No 24 at Biggar in 1870's.jpg
CR No 24 at Biggar in 1870's.jpg (150.5 KiB) Viewed 15636 times
The view looking west from Tweed Bridge was another of those standard postcard views. The post-1906 shot (dock platform and re-positioned turntable) is a mono scan of a hand tinted colour postcard from the same viewpoint (I can't find the colour version) but the amount of detail shown in this version provides plenty of modelling inspiration - the short delivery lorry on a parcel collection or drop, enamel signs on white-painted fencing with only 2 horizontal rails, branch train standing clear of the trainshed, gas lamps probably with white posts, loco? (which, I suspect, is still a 2-4-0 taking water from the same early (Grand Junction) pattern water crane and the riverside promenade. Framed by the river in the foreground with rising tree covered hills behind, they don't come much more modellable than this, though the site was theoretically squeezed between these geographical features, the station did cover a generous site.
PEEBLES -post 1906.jpg
PEEBLES -post 1906.jpg (122.74 KiB) Viewed 15636 times
Barry Rhys
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Barry Rhys »

Jim, I wasn't aware of the book until you mentioned it. I've since checked the True Line Index and found there was a Book Review of the Peebles Railways book in TTL 102, so at least I've read the review now! TTL 102 was actually my second True Line after joining. Obviously very forgetful... I'll keep the book in mind when I'm over in the UK next.

By the way, I've found that the TTL Index also lists a major article in True Line 52 about Peebles station; perhaps a person of more years' CRA membership than I could check it out? I wonder if it has any structure drawings and photos.

Dave, thanks for all the plans and photos. Perhaps I should edit my post to state "the seat is set up to provide waiting passengers with a glorious view of a train standing in front of the Tweed"? While the extension of the goods shed towards the Tweed Bridge on the 1898 and 1908 plans is very clear, do you know whether the square-ish object between it and the bridge on both plans is a new building? If the distinctive cross-hatching of buildings on the 1898 plan is consistent then this square form should also be a building - have you seen it on any photos? The only similar-shaped item at that location in Photo 3 of the original goods shed (which I suspect was taken around the 1870s) appears to be a vegetable patch; hmm, cabbage I think, or maybe beetroot (in Scotland?). Did the OS include vegetable patches in their maps? So many questions...

In the 1898 plan (only out of interest, nothing to do with the railway) there is something like a large island in the middle of the Tweed immediately opposite the station building, that is not there in the 1908 plan! And is a 'caul' a Scottish term for a weir?

The post-1906 shot confirms my thoughts about the wall that I mentioned regarding Photo 4, although I'm surprised that it appears to be quite high for a person on the entrance road to the station building - possibly around shoulder-height, preventing nice views when exiting the station building - although obviously that's only a guess without being able to see the other side. Is it possible that the two-rail fencing is actually white-painted cast iron railings? Also, until seeing the OS plans I had never realised just how close to the station the turntable was - even the original one, let alone the 60' resited one in the photo. There are just so many features packed into this small area. I wonder, what is the logic behind having a train shed covering 2 tracks, but only one of which has a platform - just to make it airier for consumptive passengers? Obviously only one platform was thought necessary, but why then have a train shed? I note that on both the 1865 and 1898 OS maps the non-platform track protrudes through the shed but then terminates, whereas the 1908 map shows that the track has been extended to join the outside loop line continuing on to the NBR connecting line.

The eye-candy aspect is extremely welcome too, compared with my dry text! Thanks.

Neil
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Barry Rhys
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Barry Rhys »

Right folks, now for the second bit of the topic title:

The Peebles Triangle and NBR Yard

When I first checked out the GWW photo of the CR station yard (Photo 3 above) referenced in the Cattle Docks thread, I searched the GWW Archive photos simply using the search term 'Peebles' - for which there are 128 photos. On expanding many, I found several with very clear views of a goods yard, but I couldn't match any of the structures such as the goods shed and cattle dock. Slowly (too slowly!) it dawned on me that this was a totally different yard, which is what led me to the History of Peebles book/website and the fascinating story of the Peebles Triangle.

As I described in my opening post, the NBR agreed to build a connecting line across the Tweed to enable Caledonian traffic to travel northwards towards Eskbank and south-eastwards over the NBR's proposed Innerleithen and Galashiels line. The CR was also given running rights over the connecting line and junctions built by the NBR; this line and its 2 junctions form the triangle of lines shown on my map. Between the triangle and its new station the NBR built a goods yard, seen in Photo 4 packed with cattle wagons, minerals and opens. At the left of the picture you can clearly see the CR/NBR connecting line west-north curve converging on the NBR line - then crossing over 2 sidings within the yard throat before joining the main running line. However to see the full triangle, have a look at the following photo:

Photo 7: Peebles, from East [GWW Archive Ref. GB 0231 MS 3792/A0490]
Yet another view taken from a hill above the Peebles Hydropathic Establishment on the east side of Peebles, facing south-westwards, but this time showing at the left of the picture almost the full extent of the Peebles Triangle. So what is the little path disappearing under the remarkably stout road bridge at the far left? Well, ahem, that's where the CR trains to Innerleithen and Galashiels were supposed to be running... Hence the dotted line on my map. To explain this apparent aberration, I can do no better than quote the following short extract from the aforesaid History of Peebles (p.333):

"Examination of the Board of Trade Inspecting Officers' reports, which are lodged at the Public Records Office at Kew, reveals the following situation: when Captain Tyler, RE, inspected the line between Peebles and Innerleithen on 22 September 1864 he made no reference to the junctions demanded by the Act. However, on 24 May 1866, Captain Rich, RE, examined the Innerleithen-Galashiels section and also the link line in Peebles between the North British and the Caledonian, both of which had been notified as being ready on 16 April 1866.

The Captain did not like the west-north curve as it crossed the sidings in the NB goods yard on the level. He commented that the west-south curve "was laid down - part of it still remains, but the points have been taken out. I recommend that it be replaced and the present junction [ie. the west-north curve] be taken out". The NB chairman, Richard Hodgson, wrote to the Board of Trade stating that it was not the intention to open the connecting line for passenger traffic in the meantime, but he stressed that passenger trains could not conveniently be worked in the west-south curve "as they would require to be backed into Peebles station instead of running direct into it as proposed by the branch executed". Captain Rich responded that the sidings crossed by the west-north curve should be moved. They remained in place with the link line crossing them on the level until the latter was removed in 1961!

The conclusion to be drawn is that the NB neither intended that the link line by the Tweed should ever be used by passenger trains nor that the opportunity should ever be presented for through trains to be run to the south from the Caledonian line. In short, the NB built the line to observe the requirements of the Act and, without having the slightest intention of fulfilling its purpose, they promptly put it out of commission. The Caledonian cannot have pushed the matter either, but for over a hundred years the earthworks remained as a reminder of the follies wrought in the age of railway competition."


Finding these photos which so graphically show the described transgressions was a bit like taking a walk in the country and discovering bits of railway structures, and trying to fit the description to the visible evidence. Although no dates are included on the online GWW archive photos I think they must have been taken no later than the 1870s, and possibly only shortly after the events described. I can see why Captain Rich had such misgivings about the west-north curve crossing the sidings on the level - the thought of passenger trains crossing over these lines inside their points in the midst of shunting operations possibly gave him the willies. But can it really be that the Caledonian simply said nothing about the missing Innerleithen/Galashiels connecting curve, shown so clearly in the photos?

As quoted above, the west-north curve crossing the sidings remained into the 1960s. Two photos in the Disused Stations website show the crossing in the 1950s here and in November 1961 here (6th from bottom). The website at http://www.disused-stations.org.uk has details including layouts and photos of both the Peebles Railway terminus (later retained by the NB for goods traffic) and the replacement NB station, but unfortunately not of the CR station.

I wonder whether such an arrangement of the curve passing over the sidings could ever have been sanctioned by the Board of Trade for passenger traffic? Could various safety measures have been implemented - signalling, point interlocking, trap points etc - to allow such an arrangement? Certainly looking at the photos, the total space covered by the triangle seems very small and the curves of relatively tight radius, so the only prospects of implementing such a triangle outside the throat of the NB yard would appear to be either rebuilding the whole triangle further southwards, or massively curtailing the size of the yard by moving its entrance further north - a prospect made difficult by the fact that the NB line is already diverging away from the yard in a long curve. I can well imagine the battles that could have ensued were either of those options to be demanded.

Triangular Point Indicators

In the enlarged portion of my map there are 2 little crosses shown on the NB line within the triangle curve, denoted 'Triangular Point Indicators'. However I must stress that this is merely a conjectural identification from one (me) who had not even heard of such a beast until being introduced to a Stevens & Sons Point Indicator, 1862 Patent, by one Dave Lochrie in the GWW Photos thread here (make sure you're logged in to view the post as the thread is in the Registered Members' section 'Association Resources'). I've reproduced the diagram of the Stevens Point Indicator in Dave's post extracted from "Railway Signal Engineering", and below it a microscopic extract from Photo 7 for comparison, and hopefully identification, purposes:
Stevens & Sons Point Indicator, 1862 Patent.jpg
Stevens & Sons Point Indicator, 1862 Patent.jpg (116.04 KiB) Viewed 15596 times
Peebles Triangle NBR Point Indicators.jpg
Peebles Triangle NBR Point Indicators.jpg (38.83 KiB) Viewed 15596 times
Both of the Point Indicators (assuming that is indeed what they are) are sited on the NB main line of the triangle, clearly visible by zooming in on Photo 7; one immediately south of the little bridge at the midpoint of the triangle side, and one at the entrance to the yard throat. It is unclear however exactly which points the indicators are indicating. The former presumably indicates the setting of the next points after the bridge, as it is not sited adjacent to any. These points diverge rightwards to form the 'main' line (please ignore the rake of three engine-less wagons standing thereon!) and leftwards into the yard. The second indicator however is located nearly adjacent to these same points. Is it possible that the first indicator is a 'repeater' of the second indicator, due to the latter being obscured to approaching drivers by the narrow bridge? Any further information about the application of these devices would be very welcome - does anybody know how long they would have remained in use?

I don't intend in this topic to cover all the exact dates of closure etc of the Peebles railways, as they are well covered on the History of Peebles website. I will note though that, although the former Caledonian line between Broughton and Peebles was closed to all traffic in 1954, the CR station (renamed Peebles West Goods Station) remained in use for goods traffic served only by the connecting line across the Tweed from the auld enemy until the station and connecting line's closure in 1959. Apparently the Caley turntable (quoted in the website as being "50-foot", although Dave has shown that it was in fact a 60-footer) had remained operational in spite of the closure of the engine shed in 1939, and after the closure of the Peebles ex-North British shed in 1955 the connecting line started to be used by locomotives on the daily Galashiels-Peebles goods train requiring to be turned on the Caledonian turntable!

I have to wonder just what traffic was foreseen to flow over the Tweed at the inception of the Peebles triangle. Apart from maybe coal merchants having storage facilities in one of the Peebles yards where obviously the particular unloading location was critical, why would traffic emanating or finishing at Peebles not simply be carried over the Tweed bridge if destined for, or coming from, say, Glasgow via the CR? If Innerleithen and Galashiels were seen as important targets for the Caledonian, why was the situation with the unfinished triangle allowed to remain in spite of the Act and related agreements dictating otherwise? Has anybody seen details of what traffic did in fact travel over the connecting line, and whether it was for through carriage or only loaded/unloading in Peebles?

Neil
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dumb buffer
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by dumb buffer »

According to Peter Marshall's book, the West to East connection was not completed to ensure that running powers for the CR to Galashiels would not be activated.

From the same source, there were about five wagons daily transferred between the CR and the NBR, an NBR loco making two trips a day across the connection.

No passenger trains regularly traversed the link, but there is a record of at least one CR excursion (from Lanark to Galashiels) using it. The engine was changed in the NBR goods yard.

Regards

Allan F
Barry Rhys
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Barry Rhys »

dumb buffer wrote:According to Peter Marshall's book, the West to East connection was not completed to ensure that running powers for the CR to Galashiels would not be activated.

Allan F
Allan, does the book give any details about what exactly the running powers were intended to comprise? The online reference quoted (which I'm sure is not in any way an authoritative reference with regard to the railways section) only states "The Peebles and Caledonian Railway companies were each given running powers for their locomotives over the connecting line and junctions to be constructed by the North British." There is no mention of to where the running powers should extend; and the reference also states "the North British was required to convey mineral traffic from the Caledonian to these depots [ie. the mineral depots at Innerleithen and Galashiels that the agreement empowered the Caledonian to establish] at set rates", which seems to imply that Caledonian locomotives were not themselves intended to haul the trains beyond "the connecting line and junctions" at Peebles.

There does seem to have been quite a lot of cattle traffic in the Peebles yards. Certainly I have read of a regular Peebles cattle market, and there was also an abattoir in Peebles. Assuming that the market was on the NB side of the Tweed (and maybe even close to the site shown in the foreground of Photo 5 in my original post) I wonder whether cattle for Peebles arriving on the Caledonian line "alighted" in the CR yard and were herded over the Tweed Bridge and through the town centre, or whether the full cattle wagons were hauled across the connecting line and unloaded either in the NB ex-Peebles Railway terminus station yard or in the yard adjacent to the triangle. I'm sure the NB option would have been more preferable for Peebles residents!

Neil
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dumb buffer
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by dumb buffer »

Neil

As always with these things there are a lot of complexities, and I would really have to suggest you get a hold of Peter Marshall's book. He suggests that the West to East link was included in the plans at the behest of the CR, who had always seen their Peebles branch as a springboard into the Midlothian coalfields, and the Borders swpinning towns. But he then suggests that the link was laid in 1866 and immediately disconnected to bar CR access. The link which remained was built and owned by the NBR, and there were no running powers for the CR. (The CR had to use a short stretch of the link for running round, and it was agreed that the NBR would not charge the CR for this).

I would have to quote the book in full to get more background.

Incidentally, the Archive has just aquired a list of running powers possessede and exercised between the companies in Scotland in 1901, and Peebles doesn't feature atall

Regards

Allan F
Jim Summers
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Jim Summers »

I was rootling around in the National Archives today, and noted a request by the General Manager in 1897 for an explanation as to how the movement of Caley traffic (including coaches) was to be handled at Peebles. I think it is implied there was some shuffling of feet, and I didn't see any follow up.

Jim S.
JimG
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by JimG »

Barry Rhys wrote:By the way, I've found that the TTL Index also lists a major article in True Line 52 about Peebles station; perhaps a person of more years' CRA membership than I could check it out? I wonder if it has any structure drawings and photos.
Neil,

I dug TTL52 out this evening and checked the item on Peebles station. It was actually featured in a more general article on stone built stations with train sheds. There is a diagram showing a basic plan view of the station building and the train shed, and a couple of pictures which, I think, have appeared in this thread.

Jim.
Dave Lochrie
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Dave Lochrie »

I hadn't paid much attention to the building at the end of the goods shed road (A), but now that Neil has drawn my attention to it I can only guess at the purpose of the structure. I don't have a clear enough photograph to even establish what material it is constructed from.
Peebles Structures.jpg
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Mystery Building.png
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It has a twin gable roof with roof lights on each slope , it sits adjacent to, and parallel to the end of the goods shed siding. I have poor quality shots showing the south elevation (above picture enlarged from a tinted postcard) and here
http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/searc ... d=SC682554 -suggesting 2 full height- 12 -15 foot high doors) and distant shots of the east and west (gabled) elevations suggest no windows. I can't trace a photograph from the north, but I suspect the presence of at least one door for rail loading. My initial guess would be some form of cold store for meat -but would rooflights on such a building not be counter productive?
As an alternative to my wild guesswork, Peebles was covered by (2) surviving Estates Dept plans, which seem to have been prepared for many Caledonian stations as part of the LMS handover. These are usually pretty detailed as to the function of each building, and would, I expect, solve the mystery. Unfortunately neither myself in darkest Cornwall, or Neil in his nuclear shelter in South Korea, have ready access to the NAS, but if someone closer is making the trip, the relevant RHP references are attached.
Peebles 1923 Estates Plans.jpg
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Dave L
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Dave Lochrie »

PEEBLES from the west, 1900.jpg
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Additionally here is an enlargement of the postcard view from the west (around Neidpath Castle) similar to one of the GWW images but later (postally used 1902, but image probably a few years earlier). In addition to the mystery shed, visible behind the goods shed, note also the clear view towards the rail bridge across the Tweed. The present Priorsford Footbridge was built in 1905 (in preparation for the great show) and is recorded as a replacement for an earlier bridge dating from 1817, but there is no evidence of this earlier bridge in this shot (I'll have to go back to checking some of the GWW pictures).
The rail bridge itself was 275 ft long,on a curve, composed of 4 bow-string girder spans on stone piers. The next 2 post-1905 images from near-identical commercial postcard views, relate back to an earlier post on the painting of ironwork (though the structure is again technically NBR not CR) As always allowances have to be made for artistic lisence, both have got the brick piers on the footbridge correct, but neither have correctly depicted the stonework on the house alongside the railway on the north bank. Incidentally was this house (which still exists) altered to accomodate the railway or built to follow the curve of the rail line. Neither seems more credible, this sort of thing is far more common in densely developed urban areas.
Priorsford Bridge -Valentine PC .jpg
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Priorsford Bridge -Kerr PC .jpg
Priorsford Bridge -Kerr PC .jpg (184.06 KiB) Viewed 15491 times
Dave L
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by dumb buffer »

Slightly related to this thread..... I've been rereading Peter Marshall's book. In it he refers several times to "Wharncliffe Meetings". Has anyone any idea what a "Wharncliffe Meeting" is?

Allan F
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Alan, I remember having to look this up.
A Wharncliffe meeting is a meeting of the shareholders of a railway company, called for the purpose of obtaining their assent to a bill in Parliament bearing on the company's railway. So called from Lord Wharncliffe, its originator
Source: Brewers "Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898". Although the 3rd Lord Wharncliffe was a Director of the MS&LR and later the GCR, I suspect the term must relate to his father the 2nd Lord Wharncliffe, but in what specific circumstances I don't know.

Dave L
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by dumb buffer »

Thank You. It did sound a bit like that, but it isn't (I think) explained in the book. And I've never come across it before.

Allan F
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Dave Lochrie »

Neil,
I hadn't noticed the disappearing island, don't know how the Edwardians explained this, but nowadays we attribute this sort of thing to climate change, a quick check on google earth shows the island to be alive and well. The OS were notorious for their arrogance in refusing to acknowledge the possibility of errors, but on this case some of the aerial photos confirm total lack of an island.
The "Concise Scots Dictionary" does indeed confirm that a caul is a dam or weir, and that the late 16th century origin for this is obscure.

Re the 1906 image, although some later (1890's onwards) contracts used iron railings, timber fencing (not always painted white) with either 2 or 3 horizontal bars, was the norm.
Peebles detail.jpg
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This later 1930's shot of the same area looking towards the bufferstops confirms standard timber fencing, though no longer in pristine white. Ignoring the fact that the LMS have turned the bench around, I am surprised that the 1905 rebuilding and the big show did not see Peebles issued with the later pattern of monogrammed end, station seating. There seems to be no rule as far as this was concerned but most 20th century rebuilds got the new more comfortable style. Photos of the branch's intermediate stations at Stobo and Lyne both show these to have been equipped with the "posh seats".
Other details visible here are the standard passenger line buffer stop arrangement, the lampost still with it's Caledonian name sticker (the LMS versions had black lettering on yellow), and a fine collection of enamel adverts, all of which were pre-group designs: Bryant & Mays Matches, Mazawatee Tea, Virol, Tennant's Lager and Swan Vestas.

Train Sheds - personally, these are one of my favourite features of early Scottish (as well as NER, Furness and even Brunell GWR) stations, especially when combined with an adjacent goods shed.(both my layouts have this feature stone on Blairdrummond and brick on Camelon, and if I ever get round to building Loch Katerine for The Trossachs the drawings have already been done for it's timber shed) Many of these had 2 tracks under the overall roof, and a single plaform face was the usual arrangement. Originally the idea was to provide additional protection for carriage stock. Peebles was an especially grand version in architectural terms. The eventual conversion of the 2nd road to a run-around was an acceptance that the siding was probably rarely used for its original purpose.

Dave L
Last edited by Dave Lochrie on Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John Lindsay
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by John Lindsay »

In answer to Dave Lochrie's question above:

"Incidentally was this house (which still exists) altered to accomodate the railway or built to follow the curve of the rail line. Neither seems more credible, this sort of thing is far more common in densely developed urban areas."

It seems that the railway predated the house. If you look at the GWW photo 2 listed above (Peebles from the East) you will see the house is missing. Why it was built so hard against the railway I don't know. However, it does look a rather nice house, I had a look at it on Saturday. The railway line is now part of the garden.

John L
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Cally »

I was 4½ years old in the spring of 1946 when the family moved from Cupar to Peebles. We stayed the first night in a boarding house on Frankscroft. My first recollection of Peebles is that when we all set off in the morning on foot down Frankscroft a locomotive with a few wagons was working its way to the end of the long siding at the southern side of the goods yard of the Caley station. Ever since then I have had a special interest in the Caley station.

My knowledge of the Caley was simply based on my own observation up until 1959 when the family left Peebles and moved to Aberdeen. In 2005 I decided that I should research more about the railways in Peebles and that lead very quickly to an invitation to the launch of Peebles Railways at which I met and later got to know several people including Peter Marshall, the author of Peebles Railways, Rae Montgomery, the author of the chapter in the book History of Peebles 1850 – 1990 about the railways of Peebles, and Ron Glendinning, whose father was the last signalman/porter at the Caley. Through these contacts and of course Peter Marshall's book I learned a great deal about the railways in Peebles.

I am impressed and amazed at the research you have all undertaken and the detailed information about the Caley station you have gathered together. The main purpose in my posting to this thread is to thank you for all your work and in particular for the following two pieces of information that are new to me.

Bay platform
I was aware that extensions were made to the station for the 1906 Highland Show but not the detail; I was intrigued to learn that these included the bay platform – I had assumed that this had been constructed with the original station.

Second track through the train shed
Like others I was also puzzled about the second track through the train shed but neither Peter Marshall nor Ron Glendinning could offer any thoughts on this. I am most interested to learn that until the 1906 alterations this track terminated a short distance beyond the shed roof. In the light of this it is difficult to think of any original purpose other than storage and protection of carriage stock. I note Dave's surmise that the conversion of this track to a run-around was an acceptance that the siding was probably rarely used for its original purpose.

In my time I never saw this track being used and it was very rarely used in Ron Glendinning's time (1935 to 1948). The track outwith the train shed was used for all passenger train run-rounds and also in the arrangements for exchange of goods traffic as described to me by Ron.

However the sloping timber roof immediately the track was well sooted so obviously there had been significant use somewhere along the line. Up to 1906 engines would barely and rarely go under the shed roof whilst shunting carriages into the shed and from about 1935 onwards we know that this track was rarely used; so between 1906 and 1935 the track must have been used a bit, probably for run-rounds?

I am not able to help with technical information but the following may be of interest.

Mystery shed
I am able to help with the mystery shed located beyond the goods shed. Ron tells me that this was a wool store and he believes it was built for this purpose. The use was dwindling in his time but he does recollect seeing an engine taking a van through the goods shed and into the wool store. The wool was for nearby Thorburn's mill and was collected from the wool store by horse and cart.

The following are extracts from my own piece on The Railways of Peebles.

Troop train on the link line
'A troop train passed through the Caley in 1940 or 1941. Ron believes it was travelling from Stobs Camp near Hawick to Greenock. LNER would have hauled the train from Hawick to the North British station. Two Caley bogeys 4-4-0 (the same type as was used for the regular passenger trains on the Symington route) were dispatched from the Caley to collect the train at the North British (a rare foray by LMS locomotives onto those particular LNER metals?). They then brought the train round to the Caley and came into the main passenger platform, where they had to wait until they got the all-clear to proceed to Symington.

The train had been hauled from Hawick to Peebles by a V2 locomotive (a 2-6-2 in green livery). This was a particularly large locomotive and Ron had never seen such a locomotive before. The LNER turntable at the Engine Shed yard was far too small for this locomotive but it was thought that the one at the Caley might just be large enough. It was decided to give it a try and the locomotive headed round to the Caley shortly after the troop train had departed for Symington. The buffers of the engine over-hung the turntable by quite a bit but the wheels fitted onto the 60 ft. turntable with inches to spare, allowing a successful turning. The locomotive stopped at the water column and thereafter headed tender first back to the North British so that it was then in the preferred forward position for its journey back to its depot in either Galashiels or Hawick'

Livestock traffic
'Prior to 1938 the auction mart was located in Montgomery Place. At that time there were cattle pens built on the main loading bank at the Caley and Ron Glendinning believes that all livestock coming through the Caley going to or coming from the auction mart would have been loaded or unloaded through these pens and herded through the streets to the auction mart.

Around 1937 work started on the construction of a new auction mart at South Park. Ron remembers that at that time the old engine shed at the West was razed to the ground and the rubble from this was used in the building of the new auction mart. The new mart was opened in 1938 and at the same time LMS built a new loading bank exclusively for livestock traffic on the southern side of the south-most siding with a fenced track linking the loading bank to the nearby road leading up to the auction mart. Because of the convenience of this facility even the LNER livestock traffic started to use it!'

Larry
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Re: Peebles Railways and the Peebles Triangle

Post by Bill_Gensheet »

Most interesting having visited Peebles the other day.
The West station site has recently been cleared of some (later) buildings. See Google Streetview which was updated July 2021.

The deep link images referred to above no longer work and now redirect to a higher level page. Those wanting to view the images (which are highly recommended) should go to:

University of Aberdeen / digital collections / Photographic collections / George Washington Wilson / UK / Scotland / Peebleshire

https://abdn.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/di ... 0710005941

(until it moves again !)
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