Sunday, 13 March 2016

Earlston Railway Cuttings 1 - Celebrating the First Sod

11th October 1862 was a local holiday in Earlston to mark the cutting at Greenlaw of the first sod for the Berwickshire Railway, with shops and businesses closed for the day.  

An article in "The Southern Reporter" 23rd October 1862 gives us a contemporary and entertaining  account of the celebrations  on that occasion:

"Villagers were put on the "qui vive" by the arrival of the brass band of the 2nd Selkirkshire Volunteers who reached here between 8 and 9 o'clock, and after partaking of refreshments and discoursing several spirit stirring tunes, proceeded onwards to the centre of attraction.

They were quickly followed by the majority of our male population in carriages, gigs and omnibus, and not a few in long carts - the occupants making every village and farmstead they passed resound with their oft repeated and hearty "hurrahs".

Of what passed at Greenlaw it is unnecessary to to speak here, suffice to say that the whole of our sightseers arrived home between 6 and 7 o'clock in the evening, all highly gratified by the proceedings, not from what was seen or heard, but from the fact that they had had a period [a stop] put to their desponding fears, and had witnessed the realisation of their ardent hopes. The commencement of the railway will open up a ready means of communication in every direction.

Towards night, rain began to fall which to a great extent marred the effect of a large bonfire on the Western Green, the materials for which had been kindly contributed by Messrs Wood, Gasworks; Smith, merchant; Brownlie. wood-merchant.

The Messrs Wilson, manufacturers, not only closed their factory, and placed their horses and carts at the disposal of their employees. but forwarded a liberal supply of refreshments and had also secured in Greenlaw a private room for their reception."

 A goods train from Earlston travelling between Gordon and Greenlaw.
Copyright  © Bruce McCartney.  All Rights Reserved.  

This article is the first in a series of newspaper clippings 
on the railway through Earlston.  



  1. Hello. Your features on the railway and the old newspaper cuttings are really interesting. Will you be able to look and see if there are any articles about the construction of Leader foot viaduct? I hadn't realised The Southern Reporter was that old! Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your interest in our blog posts on the railway. The Kelso Chronicle of 23rd December 1864 reported on the construction of the Leaderfoot viaduct. Interestingly it is named in the article as the Drygrange viaduct. If you would like a copy, please request this through the e-mail: - marked for the attention of Susan. Otherwise you can consult old Borders newspapers at the Heritage Hub, Hawick.


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