THIS week, the team from the Live Borders Museum and Gallery, Tweeddale Museum brings us history on the three railway stations of Peebles.
There have been three railway stations and lines in and out of Peebles, although you have to look hard to see the evidence!
By the 1840s, various plans to introduce railway links to Peebles had failed and local businessmen, especially mill owners, felt disadvantaged through the lack of an efficient and fast transport system.
An article in the local newspaper in January 1852 stated “The time has now come when, if we wish to maintain our relative position with the rest of the country, we must have a railway.”
A few months later, the Edinburgh and Peebles Railway Company was established. Plans to build railways were authorised on July 8, 1853 and on April 2, 1855 the steam locomotive Soho arrived from Edinburgh.
This seems to have been a demonstration run, for it was not until May 29, 1855 that passenger coaches and goods wagons were brought to Peebles.
The first station was near to where Tesco’s is today. The trains were an instant success with seven trains each way daily to Edinburgh taking 65 minutes. Coal was delivered and cloth from the mills was sold throughout the country.
On the first day it was reported that a fishwife from Portobello came to sell her wares and sold out!
The line was leased to the North British Railway in 1861 who eventually bought the Peebles Railway Company in 1876.
By 1864, the second line to Galashiels via Innerleithen was opened and this development required the new station called NBR South to be built.
This was next to the current Holland and Sherry buildings on the current main road to Edinburgh and gave its name to Station Car Park.
The Border Show of the Highland and Agricultural Society was held in Peebles in 1906 and the North British Railway extended and improved the Peebles station to accommodate the expected 20,000 daily visitors to the town.
As it transpired, delays were inevitable with the logistics of transporting so many people and livestock!
The rival to the NBR, the Caledonian Railway Company, was successful in their plans to establish a third line from Peebles linking to eventually to Glasgow.
The station, goods yard and cottages were built at Dukehaugh and the line opened in 1863.
As part of the approval to this, the government demanded that a linking loop line be built between NBR South Peebles and Caledonian stations.
Although this was rarely used, the route can still be seen today crossing over the Tweed and along the Kingsmeadows car park.