Bruce McCartney Greenlaw and the last train to Kelso Last train to Greenlaw The Langholm branch Final years of the main line Execution Book
The unique Stephenson's link motion-fitted "Black 5" no 44767 heads an unusual train consisting of  three Hunslet shunters. The train is seen (first and second) at Stobs heading north towards Hawick, where the loco took water. The third and fourth photos are couple of miles south of Kelso junction, near the site of Greenend siding.
A south-bound train passes through Stobs station, December 1968 Class 47 no. 1836 heads a north-bound stopping train at Newcastleton, December 1968
Final years of the main line
The official closure date for the Waverley route was January 6th 1969 - the last day of full operation was Sunday 5th - a day which could not pass without ceremony or protest. The RCTS organised a special train, which ran from Leeds to Edinburgh via Carlisle and the Waverley route (the trip depicted in Geoff's Rail Diaries "Last Day of the Waverley Route"). Bruce was out and about too, to see and photograph the special (we may even have got in each other's way, in the scrimmage around the platform end...). The preceding Saturday 4th January was not without its fun either - a BR-organised excursion really upset the local people - producing a non-enthusiast organised protest. For years BR had done nothing locally to promote the line, yet here they were advertising the closure and making capital out of the local folk's loss of the railway! The first I'd known of the Sunday protests was when D9007 slowed to walking pace on the climb towards Whitrope summit from Riccarton Junction - the rails had been greased. Elsewhere, protesters donned top-hats, and, complete with a black coffin, proclaimed the economic decline that would result from closure. The coffin, addressed to Richard Marsh, then Transport Minister, was put on the last south-bound train. There had been word received at Hawick that the points at Whitrope Siding had been tampered with, so the Hawick pilot, a Clayton, was sent up before the final southbound working, "The Pullman" (in spite of Pullman cars having been withdrawn years before, the late train from Edinburgh was always locally called "The Pullman"). The Clayton left Hawick station ahead of the passenger train which had D60, Lytham St Annes stuck at Hawick, whilst the last rites of a piper playing "The Floo'rs of the Forest" - and "Campbeltown Loch" were heard!  There was in 60's terms a massive Police presence, perhaps half-a-dozen. Gordon Hall, a signalman, had swapped shifts so that he could pull the signal for the last train.  However, due to events at Newcastleton, he never achieved this end, and had to give the driver the "section clear, but station or junction blocked" message verbally. Thus the last passenger train to leave Hawick left on Monday 6th January at about 0015hrs bound for London. This very last southbound train was seriously delayed by protesters who had chained themselves to the level crossing gates at Newcastleton, where the local minister, Rev Bryden Maben, was arrested.  Earlier they had hijacked the stationmaster's Land Rover, driven it on to the level crossing and let down the tyres. It was only after some negotiation by the local MP David Steel, that a) the line level crossing was cleared, and b) the minister was released. The Clayton ran ahead to Kershopefoot, crossed to the north-bound line where it straddled the level crossing, preventing any sort of repetition.  And in due course, considerably delayed, D60 pulled out of Newcastleton.
A Deltic-hauled ran is seem near Galashiels; the Eildon Hills form the shapely backdrop January 4th, 1969: local protest at the BR excursion.
5 January 1969 A quiet Hawick station, on that fine January morning moments before D9007 "Pinza" arrived with its train from Leeds (the Border Terrier is the McCartney family's "Mickey"...)
D9007 arrives with the RCTS special (with Geoff on board...), is duly recorded by the many photographers, then departs for Edinburgh. The return working, the penultimate southbound train, ran non-stop in darkness
All photos are copyright Bruce McCartney. Contact Bruce if you wish to use them in any way
Bruce McCartney’s book”Memories of Lost Border Railways” is now available, and it’s a great read. Click the book for more details
Final years of the main line