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HISTORY

Situated in the county of Roxburghshire, in the Scottish Borders, Riccarton Junction was a railway village and station on the former North British Railway Edinburgh – Carlisle line known as the “Waverley Route”. There was no road access until 1963 when a forest track/bridle road was constructed from the B6399 road at Whitrope Summit, some three miles away. In its heyday there were as many as 118 residents in the village which had its own school. There was also a Post Office and retail grocery branch of the Hawick Co-operative Society situated latterly in one of the platform buildings. A branch line ran from Riccarton Junction to Kielder and Hexham until closure on 15 October 1956 when Riccarton ceased to be a “Junction”. In 1963 the “Beeching Report” proposed closure of the “Waverley Route”. During the same year the school was closed and the remaining children travelled by train to school in Newcastleton or Hawick.

When a doctor was needed he would travel from Newcastleton or Hawick by a scheduled passenger train or if the situation was urgent by freight train or pilot engine. If the patient needed hospital treatment they were taken by train to Carlisle where an ambulance would be waiting to transport them to hospital.

Sadly, the “Waverley Route”, including all stations between Edinburgh and Carlisle, was closed on 6th January 1969 thus marking the end of an era for this once busy railway outpost. By this time all residents in the village had moved out and since then all track has been lifted. Most of the buildings and infrastructure have also disappeared and Riccarton Junction has become one of Scotland’s lost villages. Today, all that remains is the “Island” platform, former generator building, the former School Master’s house and school building (now in private ownership) and the roofless shell of the former Station Master’s house. Except for the former School Master’s house and school building, the ground on which the former station and village once stood, including the railway trackbed in the area is now owned by Forestry Commission, Scotland.

During 1997 a voluntary organisation by the name of “Friends of Riccarton Junction” was constituted with the aim of restoring as much of the station as possible. To this end the “Friends” have obtained a long lease on the former generator building, the platform and surrounding area from Forestry Commission, Scotland. Following a great deal of fund raising and with the help of a grant from the former Leader Two project the former generator building has been restored and has become an Interpretive Centre. It is also used as an Administration Office and meeting room for the “Friends”. Again, after a great deal of fundraising and this time with the help of a 50% grant from the Hawick Partnership, major restoration work to the platform was undertaken during 2004. This included laying of track alongside the southbound platform and replacing the former telephone kiosk which once stood on the platform. Further trackwork was planned to take place during 2006 and it was hoped that in the not too distant future enough funding cound be secured to enable the restoration and reinstatement of the northbound platform in its entirety.

Unfortunately, at the 2005 Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Riccarton Junction, a number of members, who later proved themselves to be nothing more than FIENDS of Riccarton Junction, were elected as either officers or committee members and as a result of their actions, the whole restoration project quickly ground to a halt. Regretfully, since then, no progress has been made and at an Extraordinary General Meeting of the "Friends", held on 11 April 2008, in accordance with the Constitution it was unanimously decided to wind up the organisation.