Riccarton Junction: A Carlisle-Edinburgh train rolls into Riccarton Junction in September 1963. The photographer's two sons - with camping gear, after an idyllic holiday here - are just visible on the platform.
Frank Spaven Collection (Courtesy David Spaven) /09/1963

Riccarton Junction

Location type


Names and dates

Riccarton (1862-1905)
Riccarton Junction (1905-1969)

Opened on the Border Counties Railway.
Opened on the Border Union Railway (North British Railway).


This was an important location in Scottish railway history. This was a large station, junction, locomotive shed, workshops, yard and railway owned village all built at a remote location in the Scottish Borders with no road access. It is a highly evocative location built on the famous former Waverley Route. Here the double track mainline from Edinburgh and Hawick, to the north, split to run south west as a double track line to Carlisle (single until 1863) and south east as a single track to Hexham. The junction was to the south of the station allowing both routes to use platforms accessible from the south.

The station had an island platform on a gentle curve with a single track bay platform at either end. Two long and plain single storey buildings abutting each other were on the platform between the bays. These buildings provided the ticket office and waiting rooms, village shop (a branch of the Hawick Co-op), post office and pub. (There was some similarity of style to the later built station restaurant at Crianlarich.) In later days a slightly incongruous bright red telephone box stood to the north of the buildings. A long footbridge connected the north end of the platform to Riccarton Railway Village. The north end bay was removed and filled in long before closure.

To prepare the site for the station, junction and sidings a considerable amount of material was deposited to create a level surface.

The original shed was a three road building to the west of the station with a two road workshop alongside to its east. Between this building and the station were several storage sidings. This group of lines was approached from the north, the line closest to the station reconnecting at the south end alongside the works smithy. The shed's duties were associated with the junction, Hexham route and bankers for the long climb to Whitrope Summit not far to the north.

After closure of this shed (it burned down in 1900) the sidings were retained and locomotives were later (1945) based at the coaling stage and turntable, located on a loop on the east side and south of the station, connected at the south end to the Hexham line only. The works relocated to Lochpark Siding south of Hawick [2nd] in 1921.

Riccarton Railway Village consisted of several rows, a stationmaster's house and a school house with a population of around 150. Employees had to travel by train to go shopping and attend church as there were no roads to the location.

The station and junction were controlled by two signal boxes, both opened in 1881.

The north box, on the east side, controlled the northern approach from Whitrope Siding and the fan out of rails to the shed yard to the west, several loops, the station and further loops on the east site.

The south box, in the 'V' of the junction and harled against weather, controlled the junction and approaches to the south.

The line to Hexham closed in 1958. A portion of it was retained as storage sidings and as a headshunt for the coaling stage. The trackbed was used as an makeshift dirt road for access.

The north box closed in 1959 but was not immediately demolished. Much of the former shed yard was lifted and several loops.

The station finally gained road access - by dirt road - just before the end in 1963 with a Forestry Commission dirt road.

Complete closure was in 1969.

After closure the site was used by the commission and the platforms were buried under logs and detritus. The site was dug out again in the 1980s.

A single hut, the generator building in the former shed yard, survives. Portions of platforms also survived. Of the village the schoolhouse remains in use as a house and the ruins of the other buildings.

There was some restoration to the station site after formation of the 'Friends of Riccarton Junction' with nameboards installed, platforms repaired, track laid (2005), a brake van placed on the track, a telephone box installed and the remaining hut restored. Much of this has since been removed.

The former trackbeds survive as dirt roads.

Although Riccarton is lost to us and can never be as it was just a couple of miles to the north at Whitrope Siding a heritage line is in operation with plans to expand southwards. Whitrope Heritage Centre

A bothy, a former shepherd's cottage which predates the railway, has seen it all come and go and it still stands in a secluded wooded spot just to the south.

Riccarton itself is a farm two miles to the south.


Station junction shed workshops yard village remote

External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

01/08/1859Border Counties Railway
Authorised, with North British Railway (and specifically Richard Hodgson) support to extend to Riccarton Junction (Border Union Railway (North British Railway)).
01/07/1862Border Counties Railway
Opened throughout, the final portion opens from Falstone to Riccarton Junction.
01/07/1862Border Union Railway (North British Railway)
The line from Edinburgh Waverley to Carlisle Citadel via Galashiels and Hawick [2nd] is completed. The line opened from Hawick [2nd] to Scotch Dyke. Stations opened at Hawick [2nd], Barnes, Shankend, Riccarton, Steele Road, Newcastleton, Kershope Foot, Penton, Riddings Junction (and Canonbie on the incomplete Langholm branch). (Alternative date 01/08/1862.)
  /  /1864Border Counties RailwayNewcastle and Carlisle Railway
First train runs from Newcastle Central to Riccarton Junction.
15/10/1956Border Counties Railway
Riccarton Junction to Hexham (Border Counties Junction) closed to passengers.
01/09/1958Border Counties Railway
Riccarton Junction (excluded) to Bellingham (excluded) closed to freight.
06/01/1969Edinburgh and Dalkeith Railway Edinburgh and Hawick Railway (North British Railway) Border Union Railway (North British Railway) Carlisle and Port Carlisle Railway and Dock
Edinburgh (Portobello East Junction) to Hawick [2nd] to Carlisle (Port Carlisle Junction) closed to passengers. Newtongrange [1st], Gorebridge, Tynehead, Heriot, Fountainhall, Stow, Galashiels [1st], Melrose, St Boswells, Hassendean, Hawick [2nd], Stobs, Shankend, Riccarton Junction, Steele Road, Newcastleton stations closed.
  /08/2000Border Union Railway (North British Railway)
The 'Friends of Riccarton Junction' install a nameboard at the former Riccarton Junction station. The sign was unveiled by MSP Christine Grahame.

News items

14/12/2020Borders Railway: Feasibility study on extension moves closer [Border Telegraph]


A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Scotland - The Lowlands and the Borders v. 6 (Regional railway history series)

A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Scotland - The Lowlands and the Borders v. 6 (Regional railway history series)

An Illustrated History of Carlisle's Railways

Border Counties Railway Through Time

Border Country Branch Line Album

Border Country Branch Line Album

Border Railway Portfolio

Borders Railway Rambles

Branches & Byways: Southwest Scotland and the Border Counties

Carlisle to Hawick: The Waverley Route (Scml)

Forgotten Railways: Scotland

Hawick 1897: Roxburghshire Sheet 25.07 (Old Ordnance Survey Maps of Roxburghshire)

Hexham to Hawick: The Border Counties Railway (Country Railway Routes)

Last Years of the Waverley Route

North British Railway, Vol. 1 (Standard Railway History)

North British Railway, Vol. 2 (Standard Railway History)

Railways Of Scotland 2: The Waverley Route DVD - Cinerail

The Border Counties Railway Steam Memories 1950's-1960's: Newcastle to Reedsmouth No. 68, pt. 1

The North British Railway a History

The Waverley Route Through Time

The Waverley Route: The District Controller's View 'Edinburgh (Waverley) - Carlisle Via Hawick'

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