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Roxburgh Viaduct

The Old North British Railway Line

Kelso Railway Station

Kelso Railway Station, at Maxwellheugh, lay on the St Boswells to Tweedmouth line. This line was created by the linking up of two separate lines, The North British Railway line from St Boswells to Kelso and the Newcastle and Berwick Railway line from Tweedmouth. The N.B.R branch line was opened to a temporary terminus at Wallacenick on 17th January 1850, and to Maxwellheugh Station in January 1851. The N&B opened its line as far as Sprouston on 27th July 1849, which left a two-mile gap between the two lines. This gap was filled two years later when the companies met at Mellendean Farm. The completed line opened on 1st June 1851.

The route was double tracked throughout, although the St Boswells to Kelso section was later reduced to single track. Probably the greatest excitement for enthusiasts in the area was the diversion of the East Coast Main Line from Edinburgh to London, down the St Boswells to Tweedmouth route during the floods of 1948. On 12th August 1948, the torrential storms which caused the Tweed to break its flood record at Kelso by three and a half feet, washed out six bridges on the ECML between Grantshouse and Reston closing the line for the next two months. The result was that the non-stop 'Flying Scotsman' and other mainline traffic was diverted down the Tweed Valley, which was now a single track line with a speed limit of 25 mph between St Boswells and Kelso. There was no water available for the expresses between Tweedmouth and St Boswells so trains had to take on water before Tweedmouth or at Galashiels. By October the ECML was open to freight traffic and by 1st November it had re-opened for passengers. In 1954, again at the end of August, flooding again affected the ECML and the 'Elizabethan', another non-stop express came through Kelso. Flooding at Melrose closed this line too, but after two days all was back to normal.

Passenger services on the line ceased on 13th June 1964 with the last train comprising three coaches pulled by Hawick engine No 78048. Freight traffic ran on St Boswells to Kelso for the last time on 1st April 1968, Kelso to Tweedmouth having closed three years earlier. Today, there is little, if anything, to see at the site of the station as the new Kelso bypass follows the route of the old line for part of the way. 'Station Road', however, acts as a permanent reminder of days past.

Kelso Scotland, Scottish Borders UK