Another location conundrum

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
Post Reply
Niall Ferguson
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 10:23 am

Another location conundrum

Post by Niall Ferguson »

Many years ago I went through all the railway images held at the Signal Tower Museum in Arbroath (and there were quite a few). They are now with Forfar Archives at Restenneth BUT (and it is intentionally a big but) they did not retain the Signal Tower's index numbers, but gave them new ones and kept no record of the other. That means that they now are having great difficulty (but are trying very hard) to identify images for me for which I only have the old index numbers.
However, here are two images (Signal Tower PA1979/299 and PA1979/301 for what that's worth). 299 is labelled "Level Crossing and Road Bridge at St Vigeans circa 1890" and 301 is "Railway House and level crossing at St Vigeans circa 1890" They appear to be views of the same location and the white gates (which look like they are intended to block the two routes at right angles by opening/closing them) are visible in both images. The church is visible so I assume the map from 1901 shown is relevant (as always, there is a map join just below to a different sheet) but I see no sign of a railway relevant to the white gates and certainly none running in front of the cottage in one of the images. On the map the Arbroath & Forfar line (on the left) does seem to cross the road to the church on the level, whereas a bridge carries the Montrose branch over the road on the right.
Google Earth seems to show that a stream flows under the twin arch bridge (and still does - it is the cars not allowed bit of road) and the cottage is still there too, but what was the purpose of the white gets, and where exactly is the course of the original A&F line?
Knowing how good people here are, I'm hoping someone can explain the relationship between the two photographs and the map!
St Vigeans Church Map 1901.jpg
St Vigeans Church Map 1901.jpg (95.41 KiB) Viewed 392 times
Attachments
Google Earth St Vigeans.jpg
Google Earth St Vigeans.jpg (104.75 KiB) Viewed 389 times
07641 small.jpg
07641 small.jpg (121.61 KiB) Viewed 392 times
07634 small.jpg
07634 small.jpg (109.99 KiB) Viewed 392 times
Graham R
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:44 am

Re: Another location conundrum

Post by Graham R »

Hi Niall,

I am not sure it is so much of a conundrum since both images are in your book on the Arbroath & Forfar :) But anyway ... I think the first image is taken from the edge of St Vigeans churchyard opposite the gates to the "new" cemetery (new in the late 19th century that is), which appear in the foreground; the view is looking south-east. The other is taken from the embankment of the NB main line to Montrose and looks west. The same individual appears to be in both shots so presumably he is the crossing keeper.

It is easier with reference to the 25-inch map - I have added a purple dot for the first photo location, red for the second one, the crossing-keeper's cottage with its decorative barge-boards and adjacent crossing hut is blue and the "stream" in light blue is the Brothock Water, or Burn as it's known locally, which gives its name to Aberbrothock/Arbroath. The building with the big lum in the first photo is the "Preserve Works", marked as a brewery on older maps, and the schoolhouse was the isolated building just north of the red dot, and on the extreme right of the second photo.
st-vigeans-lc.png
st-vigeans-lc.png (654.46 KiB) Viewed 372 times
Here is a commercial postcard which gives a similar view, although the gates look slightly different and may have been renewed since the time of your archive photos (the card was posted in 1916). The crossing keeper must have been ben the hoose at the time ...
St Vigeans including Level  Crossing PC Oct 1916.JPG
St Vigeans including Level Crossing PC Oct 1916.JPG (34.03 KiB) Viewed 372 times
regards
Graham
Graham R
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:44 am

Re: Another location conundrum

Post by Graham R »

I had a look with Streetview and realised you can see almost the same scene as the first archive photos, except that, as usual, the trees have grown:
st-vigeans-streetview.jpg
st-vigeans-streetview.jpg (60.21 KiB) Viewed 338 times
The railway passed just in front of the white crossing-keeper's house.

Streetview can also take us to the other side of the level crossing. This view shows the former trackbed looking towards Forfar, now the lawn in front of of the crossing-keeper's house. The gates were where the bright flower-bed is next the wall.
st-vigeans-streetview-1.jpg
st-vigeans-streetview-1.jpg (71.03 KiB) Viewed 338 times
As far as I recall, if you walk the other way along the path on the former trackbed towards Arbroath, you can see stone sleepers with the holes for trenails to hold the chairs still evident, re-used as wall material next the line.

regards
Graham
Niall Ferguson
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 10:23 am

Re: Another location conundrum

Post by Niall Ferguson »

Graham
Just goes to show that One should look back to what one has previously said! The postcard view is very good and really helps explain things. I got confused by the relationship between the stream and the railway and need to go and get my Arbroath & Forfar book out of the loft and re-examine it! Google earth/Streetview wasn't around then, of course which certainly helps in identification.
Niall
Post Reply