Charlesfield Munitions Factory

Author: 
John Furnevel

In 1942 the government opened a munitions factory at Charlesfield, near St Boswells.


Charlesfield Halt: The bridge that once carried the Waverley route over an unclassified road, one and a half miles south of Newtown St Boswells, seen here looking east in February 2017. The wooden platforms of Charlesfield Halt were constructed here in 1942, for the benefit of workers at the nearby munitions depot (now an industrial estate) visible in the background. Access to each platform was via steep pathways on the south side of the bridge to the right. The path nearest, serving the down platform, has been widened since closure to enable access for farm vehicles. John Furnevel 14/02/2017 [Ref 58295]

It was  located in the 'V' formed by the junction of the Waverley route and the Kelso branch to the south of Kelso Junction.

Built by ICI, Charlesfield specialised in the production of incendiary bombs.


Charlesfield Halt: In 1942 a Government munitions factory was opened at Charlesfield, to the south of St Boswells, located below the 'V' formed by the Waverley route and the Kelso branch. The site was provided with a freight only rail link consisting of a spur off the Kelso branch to the east, while a quarter of a mile to the west a passenger halt was provided on the Waverley route for the benefit of factory workers. At the end of WWII Charlesfield became a Royal Naval armaments depot, remaining in military use until 1963. The site was subsequently transformed into what is today a busy industrial estate. (The last recorded use of Charlesfield Halt was in late 1959, with official closure taking place in 1961.) Imagery (c) 2016 Google and (c) 2016 DigitalGlobe. Annotations by John Furnevel. (c) 2016 Google and (c) 2016 DigitalGlobe 14/02/2017 [Ref 58281]

The factory was provided with a freight only rail link consisting of a spur off the Kelso branch to the east, while a quarter of a mile to the west a passenger 'Halt' for the use of factory workers was opened on the Waverley route.

Approximately 1,300 people were employed at the site at the peak of production.


Charlesfield Halt: The remains of the wooden gate at the foot of the steep pathway leading to the up platform at Charlesfield; still visible through the undergrowth on the east side of the bridge in February 2017. John Furnevel 14/02/2017 [Ref 58306]

At the end of WWII bomb production ceased and Charlesfield became a Royal Navy armaments depot, remaining in military use until 1963.

During the 1970s, following several years of of use by agricultural organisations, the site was gradually transformed into what is now a busy industrial estate, with ready access to the A68 trunk road less than half a mile to the east.


Charlesfield Halt: Looking north from the site of Charlesfield Halt in February 2017. The Eildon Hills are just visible through the trees. John Furnevel 14/02/2017 [Ref 58333]

The siding off the Kelso branch into the site was disconnected shortly after the end of the war, while the last recorded use of Charlesfield Halt was in late 1959, with official closure taking place in 1961.


Charlesfield Halt: Standing on the trackbed above the bridge at the north end of Charlesfield Halt in February 2017, looking east along the unclassified road leading to the former munitions depot, visible in the background. John Furnevel 14/02/2017 [Ref 58342]


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Charlesfield Halt: A BR Sulzer Type 2 with an up train on the Waverley route in the mid 1960s, seen here shortly after leaving St Boswells. On the embankment just above the rear coaches stood the wooden platforms of Charlesfield Halt, opened in 1942 to serve a Government munitions factory located off picture to the right. [] Dougie Squance (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) // [Ref 58394]




A BR Sulzer Type 2 with an up train on the Waverley route in the mid 1960s, seen here shortly after leaving St Boswells. On the embankment just above the rear coaches stood the wooden platforms of Charlesfield Halt, opened in 1942 to serve a Government munitions factory located off picture to the right. [See image 58342]
Dougie Squance (Courtesy Bruce McCartney) [//]


The SLS (Scottish Area)/BLS ^Scottish Rambler no 2^ joint Easter rail tour was a 4-day marathon that ran from 12-15 April 1963 and involved no less than 14 different steam locomotives. Seen here on day 3 of the tour is B1 no 61324 bringing the special back from a visit to Jedburgh. The photograph is thought to have been taken from the siding that ran into the former munitions factory at Charlesfield, with the train about to cross over the minor road linking the A68 and the B6359 to the south of St. Boswells.

K A Gray [14/04/1963]


View north from the site of Charlesfield Halt in 1998. Some ballast re-cycling seems to have taken place. This halt served the nearby wartime ICI/Nobel factory.
Ewan Crawford [//1998]


The former junction for the Charlesfield Munitions Factory looking east in 1999. I was standing on the Kelso branch with the Charlesfield siding off to the right. This view is not possible today as the newly planted sapling trees (back then) are now an impenetrable thorny barrier.
Ewan Crawford [//1999]


View west from the former Kelso Branch showing the branch to the Charlesfield Munitions Factory (on the left) approaching the former site, now an industrial estate. The junction location is now very overgrown with thorny bushes.
Ewan Crawford [//1999]


In 1942 a Government munitions factory was opened at Charlesfield, to the south of St Boswells, located below the ^V^ formed by the Waverley route and the Kelso branch. The site was provided with a freight only rail link consisting of a spur off the Kelso branch to the east, while a quarter of a mile to the west a passenger halt was provided on the Waverley route for the benefit of factory workers. At the end of WWII Charlesfield became a Royal Naval armaments depot, remaining in military use until 1963. The site was subsequently transformed into what is today a busy industrial estate. (The last recorded use of Charlesfield Halt was in late 1959, with official closure taking place in 1961.) Imagery (c) 2016 Google and (c) 2016 DigitalGlobe. Annotations by John Furnevel.
(c) 2016 Google and (c) 2016 DigitalGlobe [14/02/2017]


The bridge that once carried the Waverley route over an unclassified road, one and a half miles south of Newtown St Boswells, seen here looking east in February 2017. The wooden platforms of Charlesfield Halt were constructed here in 1942, for the benefit of workers at the nearby munitions depot (now an industrial estate) visible in the background. Access to each platform was via steep pathways on the south side of the bridge to the right. The path nearest, serving the down platform, has been widened since closure to enable access for farm vehicles.
John Furnevel [14/02/2017]


The remains of the wooden gate at the foot of the steep pathway leading to the up platform at Charlesfield; still visible through the undergrowth on the east side of the bridge in February 2017.
John Furnevel [14/02/2017]


Looking north from the site of Charlesfield Halt in February 2017. The Eildon Hills are just visible through the trees.
John Furnevel [14/02/2017]


Standing on the trackbed above the bridge at the north end of Charlesfield Halt in February 2017, looking east along the unclassified road leading to the former munitions depot, visible in the background.
John Furnevel [14/02/2017]

Further images of Charlesfield Halt.

Further images of the Edinburgh and Hawick Railway.