St Boswells Station
Serious Railway Accident - 1898
On Thursday an accident occurred at Newtown St Boswells Station. While Joseph Law, Flagman on the ballast train from Longtown to St Boswells was engaged in shunting at the latter station he was accidentally knocked down by a wagon and severely injured. He was removed to Hawick Cottage Hospital where it was found necessary to amputate his right leg and several fingers on the right hand. Law, who is a married man, belongs to Longtown.
(The Border Advertiser 20th March, 1898)
Newtown Half a Century’s Railway Service - 1889
David Fairbairn a well-known figure to the travelling public at the busy station of
Newtown St Boswells, on Tuesday last completed his fifty year’s service in
connection with the railway.
Mr David Fairbairn was presented at the Royal Hotel, Newtown St Boswell’s with a handsome marble timepiece and a purse with twenty-eight sovereigns
“The centres of the steps leading up to the station were worn down until the Queen and Prince Phillip paid a visit to Newtown when they were carefully levelled
“You could jump on the train at Newtown to go to the International at Murryfield, get back on board after the match at Haymarket and be home before most of the cars were leaving Edinburgh”.
"Norman Hunter’s great grandfather drove passengers to and from the station in a horse drawn cab. His grandfather was a wheeltapper at the station “a sound wheel rings like a bell – a cracked or broken one gives a dull sound”.
"Mr Irvine, the last stationmaster kept pigeons in the garden at the bridge end of
the station. After the station closed the pigeons went wild and multiplied, multiplied and MULTIPLIED. Nets and different methods of ridding the village of the pigeons were tried, but failed. The station, the bridge and the pigeons are no longer there, but the humorous recollection of “all that slithering about” is still
“I thought blooming heck – what’s that noise!”. Later someone told me it was the
railway bridge which crossed the main road being blown up!”
The coming of the railway changed the village greatly since having been a typical small border village with a range of tradesman working in the close surrounding area, it suddenly became a centre of communication for the area. Workers, and the housing for them, were needed, and Sprouston Cottages was built to give them shelter. Sprouston Cottages was reputedly nicknamed "Cordy Raw" because all the railwaymen wore corduroy trousers.
With access to the railway, and through it to the wider markets, farmers were soon using the railway to transport live animals, and 'The Mart' sprang up. In fact, there were two Marts, one, still in use, opened by John Swan 1871
The station was opened on 20 February 1849 as Newtown Junction station. It was one of the major interchange stations on the line and served as the junction station for branch lines to Reston to the north, and Jedburgh and Berwick to the south.
Station signs read St Boswells change for Kelso, Jedburgh, Earlston, Duns, Berwick - but later closure of the other lines these were replaced with signs showing 'St. Boswells change for Jedburgh & Kelso bus services'.
In January 1853 the station was renamed New Town St Boswells and on 1 March 1865 it became St Boswells. This was despite the station being sited in Newtown St Boswells while the village of St Boswells was 2 miles to the south-east.
The original three-storey station building was on the up side and was stone-built with a slate roof and a short canopy. The building comprised a booking office, waiting room, toilets, refreshment room, Post Office and the stationmaster's house. The platforms were staggered with the up platform running across the road bridge to the south, where it formed an island with the bay platform serving Jedburgh and Berwick line trains. There was also a bay on the down platform for Reston line trains.
A number of improvements were made to the station over the years. Initially there were no buildings on the down platform, but a waiting room with a canopy was later built, and the canopy on the up platform building was lengthened. At first there was no footbridge, but an open wooden footbridge was provided at the south end of the down platform before 1898, and this was later rebuilt as a covered bridge with a wide covered stairway going down to the station forecourt.
There was an extensive goods yard to the north of the station on the up, side with three sidings, one of which passed through a timber goods shed. The yard had a loading dock, end dock and a 3-ton Crane. The yard was later extended to the east with further sidings serving the Southern Central Market, with extensive cattle pens.
Initially there was no signal box but when
the yard was enlarged two boxes were provided. The north box was on the down side beyond the entrance to the yard, and a wooden South box was built adjacent to the footbridge on the down platform; this was later replaced with a large brick box towards the centre of the down platform, the upper floor overhanging the platform for improved visibility. This box controlled access to the shed yard.
To the south of the station there was a stone-built two-road engine shed with a pitched roof backing onto the bay line. This had a stone water tower in one comer with a large cast iron water tank on top, and there was a stove in the room below to stop the water freezing in the winter and to provide hot water for foot warmers for first class passengers.
St Boswells and Riccarton were sub-sheds of Hawick (64G), 100 ft in length with room for six locomotives. There was also a coal yard and a turntable. A water column was provided in the shed yard with others at the end of both platforms. By the late 19th century a 3-storey, 6-bay railway granary with two hoists and a siding on its north side had been built at the south end of the shed yard. St Boswells shed closed in November 1959.
St Boswells station closed to passengers on 6 January 1969 but remained open for goods traffic until 28 April 1969. The track was lifted in 1971, and the station buildings were quickly demolished. By 1977 only the platforms, goods shed and engine shed and. granary remained.
The platform areas and goods yard are now a car park with a small residential development (Old Station Court) occupying the site of the station building and fore-court. To the south of the road a council depot car park occupies the site of the up platform, but the bay platform and overgrown track bed survive adjacent to the engine shed.
St Boswells is the only surviving small engine shed on the Waverley route. The front entrance was bricked up many years ago but the building is still in good condition, complete with timber roof trusses. For many years the yard was used as an oil storage depot but it is now owned by Cooks van hire. The shed is currently empty but a planning application was submitted in October 2010 to use it for vehicle maintenance. The water tank on a stone tower at one comer of the shed is also remains, see below.
Info. Source - Nick Catford
In August 1948, serious flooding caused the collapse of a number of bridges and culverts on the East Coast mainline in south east Scotland. Hence, many of the trains were diverted via Selby and Leeds, over the Settle-Carlisle line.
From 24th August, the A4's non-stop run
was diverted over the Waverley route to
St. Boswells, then via Kelso to Tweedmouth
to re-join the mainline. On this first run, No. 60028 Walter K. Wigham managed to run nonstop from Edinburgh to Kings Cross,
a record setting distance of 408.65 miles. These runs required some luck as regards running and signals, but the drivers took
great pride in achieving a nonstop run.The following runs set the nonstop record
The village has been deserted since the railway was
taken from us, so many worked there and mostly in “cords”.
You’d often see these old worthies seated on the barber’s window on Friday, pay day.
I think our most vivid memory would be of the “Pullman” rocking through every night at 11.00pm. On a clear night you could hear it leave Melrose Station, down past Ravenswood, two hoots at North Box and thunder through”.
Railway Employees Supper - 1875
The annual supper in connection with the railway employees was held in the Black Bull on Wednesday last. Upwards of 40 sat down to an excellent supper provided in Mr P Clark’s excellent style. During the evening, a number of songs
were rendered by various parties and the company broke up at an early hour, highly pleased with their entertainment.
69,128 passengers booked at St Boswells Station while 13,049 tons of merchandise and minerals and 5,627 tons of coal were dealt with in that year in addition to the livestock.
Mrs Maimi Wood - Bookstall
Maimi Wood held the key to the bookstall at the station and opened up every morning at 7.0pm.
“We sold daily newspapers and magazines such as ‘Picture Post’, ‘Everybody’, ‘Tit-Bits’, and others. Boys were employed to deliver the papers We sold boxes of chocolates and cigarettes as well”.
“There were two doors – one was into a room which was never used – well – sometimes when a coffin was left in there until it was transferred on to another train.
“We used to go into the Waiting Room – a lovely coal fire in the grate – we’d go in to warm ourselves”.
Sandy Douglas 1990
“We would work through six weeks of harvesting with horses and binders. We had to cart the bags of wheat or barley to the station with the horses – you would have, maybe six carts going in, loaded with ten bags to each cart – a short cart with one horse pulling it
You’d come up into Newtown, round by the Railway Inn and into the station yard. Someone from the station would stick a card in the side of the carriage which was allocated to you, you see, and then you would unload all the bags on to the truck – he never
bothered you while you were unloading but when you’d finished he’d return and close it up..
It was grand at the station, you had plenty of room down there
in the yard. You had your own places to go to. The wagons would
be about and up to about 8 or 9 feet in height and you’d have unloaded a few tons by the time you were finished; that was with bags weighing sixteen stones each. Sometimes I went with potatoes if there was an overspill at the farm. We never thought anything of it – that was your working day, you know. Later they had lorries to take them away”.
When I worked at Stow (1930’s) we used to drive the cattle along
the road – you never had a lorry or nothing coming in these days – even the sheep going to the sale – they were all put onto the train at the station. A’ve seen us put on a dozen or twenty cattle and once they arrived in Newtown they were out of the trucks and straight into Swan’s Mart. It was very dirty and clatchy at the market in those days, not like it is now.