Some Early Lines
Old Railway Companies
Berwickshire Railway, Bishop’s Stortford,Dunmow & Braintree Railway
A couple of old LNER lines
Incorporated on 17 July 1862, the line provided a cross-country route from the Duns branch of the North British Railway to the Tweed Valley at St. Boswells. The first sod was cut by Lady Campbell at Easton Park on 14 October 1862, though the line opened to Earlston on 16 November 1863, construction of the Leaderfoot viaduct delayed things. St. Boswells was reached on 2 October 1865. The company amalgamated with the NBR under an Act of 13 July 1876, with effect from 1 August. Floods on 12 August 1948 caused so much damage to the line that it closed to passengers between Duns and Earlston immediately.
The Duns Branch and the Berwickshire Railway together formed a through railway route from Reston, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, to St Boswells in the Scottish Borders. The line was promoted in two stages. The first was from Reston on the Edinburgh to Berwick main line to Duns (then spelt Dunse, and the county town of Berwickshire); it opened by the North British Railway in 1849.
The second section was promoted independently by the Berwickshire Railway Company, but with considerable assistance from the North British Railway. It opened most of its line in 1863, but delay in constructing a large viaduct, Leaderfoot Viaduct, led to the opening of the final section of the line being delayed until 1865.
The Berwickshire Railway’s superb viaduct across the Tweed at Leaderfoot 19-4-1988
The North British Railway had conceived the line as a strategic trunk route across southern Scotland, but this development was never realised, and the line was never heavily used.
During the violent rainstorm in the area in August 1948 the line was breached west of Earlston, and the passenger train service ceased permanently. Duns reverted to being a branch line terminus from Reston until that too was closed to passengers in 1951.
Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmore & Braintree Railway
Incorporated on 22 July 1861 to build an 18 mile link between Bishop’s Stortford and an end-on junction with the Maldon, Witham & Braintree Railway at Braintree, it ran into trouble long before completion. The Great Eastern had already acquired transfer powers (21 July 1863) and the company was vested by an Act of 29 July 1865, becoming part of its system on opening day, 22 February 1869. The line was closed, apart from some seaside excursions, with effect from 3 March 1952, but the line was used in June 1960 to test BRs prototype ‘Road-Railer’.
Dunmow Station – By Steven Duhig from Bowie, Maryland, USA – MWB16Uploaded by scillystuff, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7437021
The line was originally one of several schemes promoted in the 19th century, which included north-south routes connecting Great Dunmow with Epping, Halstead and/or Saffron Walden. The route of the built line was proposed by the Eastern Counties Railway in 1859, the line from Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow and Braintree was eventually built by Great Eastern Railway who had since absorbed ECR. Construction started in 1864 and the route opened on 22 February 1869. The line initially served Takeley, Felstead and Rayne with Easton Lodge being added in 1894, Hockerill in 1910, and finally Stane Street and Bannister Green in 1922.
Takeley Station, on the Bishop’s Stortford, Dunmow & Braintree line, has seen no passengers since 1952, but remains in good condition. (1990). (C.Awdrey