Lady Victoria Pit Signal Box (1894-1969)
Opened on the Edinburgh and Hawick Railway (North British Railway).
Lady Victoria Pit was served by a large yard and sidings warranting their own signal box. A major expansion of the Newbattle Colliery led to a new connection and exchange sidings being laid out on the east side of the Waverley Route. The whole scheme was built on a grand scale and included the new village of Newtongrange, to the north. The pit was named for Lady Victoria Alexandrina, wife of the 9th Marquess of Lothian, Schomberg Henry Kerr. It was opened by the Lothian Coal Company.
Neighbouring Lingerwood Mine (just to the east) was already served by a private colliery line (Newbattle Collieries Railway whose origins lie with the Marquis of Lothian's Waggonway) from a connection made close to the Newbattle Viaduct at West Bryans Siding. With the new colliery having the central washery the railway connection here made more sense. Prior to this it was served by a tram road which ran from close to Brewer's Bush. The layout varied.
Lady Victoria Pit was sunk between 1890 and 1894 and the signal box opened in 1894. The upper part was in timber and switchroom in brick. Private sidings, not connected to the main line, had served the site during the sinking.
The new connection, a double track branch, was made just north of the Brewer's Bush Bridge. Due to the falling gradient to the north it was made such that departing trains left to the south. The main line was protected by catch points a little distance to the north.
The double track connection led directly to the exchange sidings, on the west of the site. By reversal the main sorting sidings could be reached and, by a second reversal, the washery would be reached.
The exchange sidings continued as a private line which served the north end of the washery and turned tightly east to meet the older colliery railway near Lingerwood Mine. This allowed closure of the existing connection by Newbattle Viaduct.
A detached part of the Lothian Lines (North British Railway), approved by its Act, was to add a new pair of exchange sidings to the south of the Brewer's Bush bridge (a new girder span crossed the new lines). These sidings were approached from the north and became the principal exchange point where the colliery locomotives would place a loaded coal train for picking up. The sidings could be access from the colliery network without fouling the main line. The new sidings were a huge improvement on the awkward southern departure for loaded trains, the vast majority of coal trains ultimately heading north.
The private sidings were expanded by a second set to the south of the Brewer's Bush bridge. A locomotive shed was added close to the bridge in the 1960s.
The Butlerfield Coal Stocking Site, or Newbattle Coal Stocking Site, was established to the west of the Waverley Route. This was a loading facility for opencast coal.
With the closure of the Waverley Route to passengers in 1969 the exchange sidings became the southernmost extent of the line. The southbound line of the route north was taken out of use, working one-engine-in-steam from Millerhill Junction. This lasted until 1971.
The track, sidings and signal box were cleared. A railway hut survived close to the bridge. The pit itself remained in operation using road transport. The pit was mothballed in 1981 and officially closed in 1982. This was not the end for the surface buildings which were retained to become one of the sites of the Scottish Mining Museum. The locomotive shed also survived.
The railway re-opened in 2015 as a single track line. A replacement Newtongrange station was opened to the north of the former signal box and serves the village and museum.
Eskbank and Dalkeith
Rosewell and Hawthornden
Other railway and industry locations
Lady Victoria Pit Locomotive Shed
Newbattle Coal Stocking Site
Lady Victoria Colliery
Dean Oil Works
Arniston Engine Pit
Arniston Emily Pit
West Bryans Siding
|Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.|
A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Scotland - The Lowlands and the Borders v. 6 (Regional railway history series)
Forgotten Railways: Scotland
Galashiels 1897: Selkirkshire Sheet 08.02 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Selkirkshire)
Galashiels to Edinburgh: Including the Lauder and Dalkeith Branches - the Waverley Route (Scml)
Hawick 1897: Roxburghshire Sheet 25.07 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Roxburghshire)
Hawick to Galashiels: The Waverley Route Including the Selkirk Branch (Scottish Main Lines)
Last Years of the Waverley Route
North British Railway, Vol. 1 (Standard Railway History)
North British Railway, Vol. 2 (Standard Railway History)
On the Waverley Route
Railways Of Scotland 2: The Waverley Route DVD - Cinerail
The Waverley Route Through Time
The Waverley Route: Its Heritage and Revival
The Waverley Route: The Postwar Years
Waverley Route: The battle for the Borders Railway
Waverley Route: The Life, Death and Rebirth of the Borders Railway
Waverley: Portrait of a Famous Route