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Railway line explored in new book

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By Fiona Reid
Moffat
Railway line explored in new book

A NEW book is set to be released offering an armchair journey along the Beattock to Carstairs railway line over the years.

It is the latest title in the Ultimate Railway Encyclopaedia series and is written by Dennis Lovett and published by Middleton Press.

It focuses on the climb north of Beattock through the Lowther Hills, which provided spectacular scenery for passengers and demanding work for those on the footplate.

There’s mention of the ‘short-lived’ station at Auchencastle, which opened in January 1900 as a private halt for railway staff and their families living close to Longbedholm signal box. It closed in 1926.

However, when operational “passengers could join the train by means of a portable ladder”.

Ruttonside was another stop for railway staff, as was Greskine and Harthope.

The summit itself is 1016 feet above sea level and banking locomotives were used to assist heavy trains in each directions. As well as cottages for the workers, there was a small platform to take them to and from Moffat. The last staff train ran in September 1966.

After Beattock Summit, the line followed the Clyde Valley to Carstairs where the lines to Scotland’s two largest cities diverged.

And it also explores four branch lines, which provided additional traffic: Moffat, Wanlockhead, Peebles and Dolphinton.

The Beattock to Carstairs section opened in February 1848, although Beattock Station itself had opened the previous year.

By 1960 the summer timetable showed stations between the two communities were still well served by local trains, however by the middle of that decade most would be closed.

The publishers say: “This book makes an important contribution to local transport history.”

At 96 pages, it’s features 120 old never-before-published photographs and maps, as well as many interesting local details along the way.

n Beattock To Carstairs and will be available from local bookshops or direct from the publisher at £19.95 plus P&P.

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