Antique expert reminisces about lost lines

Jedburgh Station in the 1950s
Jedburgh Station in the 1950s
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ONE of the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow’s experts has published a book on former railway routes, writes Sally Gillespie.

And Paul Atterbury’s Lost Railway Journeys includes information about the Roxburgh to Jedburgh line, one of a multitude closed in the 1960s and early 1970s across Britain.

He writes: “High in the list of regions of Britain most devastated by the railway closures of the 1960s is the Scottish Borders.”

Jedburgh’s once-proud textile industries were busy users of the seven-mile branch line which ran along the Teviot and Jed Water.

The line was the main gateway to the town through the 19th century and into the 20th, he argues.

Disaster struck in 1948 when the track was damaged by floods: passenger services stopped immediately, but basic repairs enabled freight trains to run until 1964.

Mr Atterbury writes: “Today, in Jedburgh itself, there is little sign of the railway.

“The site of the station and the goods yard has vanished beneath an industrial park, but the trackbed is apparent as it leaves the town past the rugby club’s field.

“From this point, it is easily discernible in the landscape and, considering the early date of closure to passengers, there is plenty to be seen, including station houses and platforms at Nisbet and Kirkbank, both now private, and a platform at Jedfoot. Here, and elsewhere, the trackbed is a part of the Borders Abbeys Way.

“Never far from the river, the route is an enjoyable walk, especially on the approach to Roxburgh with the grand arches of the Teviot viaduct in the distance.”

The Weymouth-based expert has written previously about railways and he chose the 36 lines and journeys covered in his new book to show the diversity of routes lost.

The antiques expert writes of the lines in their prime and as they are now, weaving memory, nostalgia and imagination into his work.