Trouble on the Dalkeith Line
Trouble on the Dalkeith Line ……………..
Dalkeith was at one time connected by rail to many places such as Peebles and Carlisle. The station stood where Morrison’s Supermarket is located. In the second half of the 20th century, many railway stations closed as buses were allegedly the new way forward for public transport.
Completed in 1831, the Innocent Railway, was a horse-drawn railway line connecting St Leonard’s area of the capital city and Dalkeith. This was Edinburgh’s showcase railway and its tunnel is one of the oldest in the United Kingdom. The story of the railway starts in 1826 when a group of Dalkeith pit owners formed the Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway Company and invested in a horse-drawn goods line linking the rich coal seams of Dalkeith with-hungry for coal central Edinburgh. The Edinburgh New Town was flourishing and a building programme included four or five storey houses which were located in the wide streets and crescents – coal was a basic prerequisite for these houses to function on a daily basis.
Further branch lines were added to the coast at Leith and Fisherrow near Musselburgh. The completion of the Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway saw demand for coal in Edinburgh treble over the next decade.
In 1845 the Edinburgh to Dalkeith line was bought by the much larger North British Railway Company. One of the company’s first acts was to withdraw all horse-drawn carriages and convert the track for steam traction. The Edinburgh-Dalkeith railway’s short-lived age of ‘innocence’ had ended.
The Southern Reporter of 2 October 1873 reported how a five year old boy fell over a bridge at Eskbank Station. On a Sunday night, while a number of people were waiting at Eskbank Station for the train from Peebles to Edinburgh, a five year old boy, who was the youngest son of Mr King, the manager at the Dalkeith Advertiser office, was with his two brothers and some other children. They appeared to be playing on the wooden bridge which crossed the line at the station when the youngest of the King brothers accidentally fell from the bridge on the line below.
As you can imagine, this incident caused considerable excitement and the unfortunate boy was lifted and carried home. However, the local doctor, Dr Thomson, was in immediate attendance. On examination, it was found that the fall, though from such a great height, had caused no dislocation or broken of bones. Indeed this was a miraculous escape!! Many people who witnessed this stated that it was a wonder the boy was still alive and not killed on the spot.
The Dalkeith Advertiser reported the story of a local lad named James Hogg, a grocer, who stayed in Gordon’s Close. James was on the railway platform between eight and nine p.m. on a Friday night and was leaning against one of the railway carriages but when the engine shunted the train, James lost his balance and fell off the platform!! One of the carriage wheels passed over both legs above the knees, breaking the left leg and severely bruising the right one. He was taken to the Edinburgh Infirmary.
In 1871, William Scott was a porter at Dalkeith railway station. As he went about doing his job, he was beaten up on the platform.
In 1880, Charlies Sorrie, a Dalkeith guard, was shoved down steps by two men and beaten up. The two men had refused to show their tickets and decided to take revenge on the poor guard.
A charge was made against a rather confused traveller in 1883! The traveller had been arrested for behaving in a riotous way in Dalkeith’s South Street in the early hours of the morning. His defence: he claimed to have boarded the wrong train and had come to Dalkeith from Edinburgh by mistake. Believe that if you like ………………
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One Dalkeith is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) No. SC048018