Edinburgh Railways in the 1950s
Beside the Railway
Beside the Railway - Who and Where?
Where was this photo taken?
A railway worker stands beside the railway as an engine passes the signal,
heading towards the signal box.
If you recognise this location, please
email me. Thank you.
Wrong Way Round?
Thanks also to Walter Anderson,
now living in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland,
for taking the trouble to email me and suggest (quite rightly) that the
image as originally displayed on this site was wrong way round.
I've now corrected it.
Hutton, New Town, Edinburgh, has provided answers to several railway
questions on this site. Patrick asked if this location had yet been
identified. The answer is: 'Not yet'.
The Lothian Lines?
amassed some more books on Lothian railways, and I'll try and pin this one
down soon. I might need to work with some large-scale maps.
A bing in the right
Sidings with mineral wagons on right.
Large flat area (field?) on left.
Double tracked main line - but looks like wagons are
standing outside the 'box without a engine or brake-van (looks like a
ventilated goods van nearest to the photographer)
The signal box.
The fencing to the side suggests that the photo might
be close to a station?
The loco is a B1 - general mixed-traffic engine. It is
stopped at the signal. The bloke is probably the driver (or fireman).
Lattice-work signal posts.
Thank you to
Dr Francis A Dalrymple-Hamilton, Peebles, Peeblesshire, Scotland who wrote:
"I have the impression that
signal box in the background is one of the Thornton boxes in Fife.
I will look into this and
let you know.
I have made a lifelong
study of the signal boxes in Scotland, so hopefully I will be able to
identify it for you."
Dr Francis A Dalrymple-Hamilton: February 19, 2008
Thank you to
Dr Francis A Dalrymple-Hamilton, Peebles, Peeblesshire, Scotland who wrote
again, after looking into the subject further:
Thornton South, Fife
"I am now fairly certain that the Signal
box in question is Thornton South.
When I first saw the picture my gut reaction
is that this is where it was. I have now checked this with a colleague
who feels, like me, that it is Thornton South."
Dr Francis A Dalrymple-Hamilton: March 5, 2008
Thank you to David Briggs, now living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, formerly
Thornton, who wrote
It's not Thornton South
"I just noticed this photo and can say for
certain that this is not Thornton South. There was never a bing on the DN
line facing south, and never any trees on the UP line either. I know a
man who will sort this out though.
The real clue here is the position of the sun,
ie, the way the "driver's" shadow is cast on the sleeper wall/ fence and
the lack of shadow from the "B1" anywhere on the wall. The sun is
definitely at a fairly high position. This indicates some time
either side of noon.
This means the track is running east/west. ie,
we are looking due east. There is also a person or persons in the field
on the LHS which is either a park or more likely a golf course.
My money is on something south of the Forth as
nothing in Fife is ringing a bell. Hope this helps!"
David Briggs, Newcastle upon Tyne (Formerly Thornton):
June 15, 2008
Most of the other photos that
were found with this one were taken around Edinburgh and Midlothian, so
your comment 'south of the Forth' seems to me to be likely to be true.
June 16, 2008
Thank you to Grahame Hood, Bromley, Kent who wrote:
"As you think the photo was taken south of the
Forth, may I suggest it was possibly on the ex Caledonian line from
Edinburgh to Glasgow via Shotts.
A possible location is between West Calder and
Addiewell, the signal box controlling the entrance to the Addiewell Oil
The locomotive is an ex LNER B1, but Dalry
Road engine shed usually had a few of those allocated from the mid 1950s
Grahame Hood, Bromley, Kent, England: September 2,
Thank you to Walter Anderson who wrote:
"I think I might have finally solved this
puzzle - the clue was in the comments in answer 6. After looking at
aerial pictures and old maps I think this was taken on the Caledonian line
at the bing and sidings to the north east of Shotts ironworks.
As suspected the picture was taken looking
west to east and the open space and trees to the left are Shotts golf
Walter also found:
a) a map showing the Caledonian railway line passing to the north
of Shotts, with the old signal box and sidings marked close to the bing
beside the line, to the east of where the line passes under the B717.
b) a recent aerial photo of the area, on the
web site. The photo, supplied by NATVEC, shows the
remains of the old signal box beside the track, still in place in 2008.
I don't know the copyright rules for Flashearth images, so
I have not reproduced this photo on the web site. However the image
provided by Richard Neal (11 below) is very similar.
see 'Recollections 12' below for a link
to a site with map a)
"It would need a visit to finally put this to
Walter Anderson, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland: January 7, 2009
Thank you to Fergus Moffat, Australia, who wrote:
"I can't help you with the location, but I'm
wondering about some of the detail in the photo itself.
1. If the locomotive has stopped, then it has
stopped beyond the home signal. Would this be permitted?
2. Did engineman dress in this fashion at
that time? I would have expected to see bib-and-brace overalls and jacket.
(Is his cap-badge that of an engineman?)
3. The train in the distance appears to be
moving onto the line upon which the locomotive sits. If I can assume
double-line, then it's a train departing ahead of the stopped locomotive.
This might explain why it's stopped."
Fergus Moffat, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
November 6, 2009
Thank you to David Bain who wrote:
"I'm relying on my - increasingly dodgy -
memory, but couldn't this be in the Niddrie area looking towards
Millerhill? More than anything I'm going by the bing on the right, the
look of the fields and trees on the left and the height of the railway
David Bain, Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England:
November 7, 2009
Thank you to Mick Sullivan who wrote:
The Worker beside the Railway
"I don't know if anybody has noticed, but the
worker in this photo is the same man as in the 'Loco and Shunter' photo
Mick Sullivan: July 25, 2010
Thank you to Richard Neal who wrote:
The Worker beside the Railway
Richard Neal wrote:
"With Google aerial photos now
available to all, I have to agree with Walter Anderson
(7 above). The photograph above
was taken, beside Shotts Golf Course in North Lanarkshire.
As the line passes the golf course,
the remains of the signal cabin are visible on this Google photo. The trees are
still there as is the green where the golfers are standing in the
photo. The bing to the right of the photo ties in with the
moonscape visible on google.
The shadows confirm this is looking
east. There are two small trees now where the bush is behind the
Richard Neal: August 9, 2010
Thank you to Walter Anderson (who sent 7 above) for emailing me again.
"I'm now surer than ever that
this photo was taken at Shotts."
Walter also sent me:
- a Google Earth screenshot of the site. showing the track bed of
the old Caledonian Railway line and the position of the signal box.
- a link to this page on the
Railway Society web site. It includes a map showing the
Caledonian Railway line and signal box to the north of Shotts Iron Works.
Walter Anderson, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland:
August 18, 2010
Thank you to Robert Fleming who wrote:
"The field on the left hand side
of the picture is that of Shotts Golf Course. The signal box
controlled traffic between the sidings (Benhar Junction) which
transported coal from Shotts Collieries to the Caley line where
the engine is sitting pointing towards Fauldhouse and eventually
onward to Edinburgh.
The large hill on the right hand side
of the picture is slag from Shotts Iron Works and was nicknamed
locally as the ‘crusher’."
Robert Fleming, Shotts, North Lanarkshire, Scotland: May 31, 2011
Accident at Shotts
Thank you to Robert Fleming for also
sending me a report of an accident, involving three engines, that
happened near this signal box on a foggy day in January 1887.
Thank you to Alan Brown who wrote, confirming that this photo was indeed
taken beside the golf course at Shotts.
as being Shotts
"The location is certainly Shotts.
The golfers are on the second green. I think the box was
called 'Shotts Iron Works' and that it controlled traffic out of
the Iron Works.
Benhar Junction was nearer Fauldhouse
where a single track went up to Greenrigg and Polkemett
"I worked at Shotts station from 1954
to 1956. I also found the photo
of Lothian Road Goods Station interesting as I worked there in
Alan M Brown, Chapelhall, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Thank you to Ian Brown who added:
"Just to add that all the information
in the later contributions is correct except for the name of the
signal box. It's 'Shotts Iron Works' box which closed in the early
The box lay between
Shotts station and Benhar Junction boxes and controlled the
connections between the main lines and the Iron Works sidings. It
is also clearly identified as Shotts Iron Works box in the Report
on the Accident there that was caused by the 'runaway' Works pug.
Ian Brown, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland: August
Here are two photos of the man who is thought to have taken
the photo at the top of this page and other railway photos in
and around Edinburgh in the 1950s and 1960s.
Archie Foley, Joppa, believes that he was a railway
worker when he took these photos. If you recognise him, please
email me to let me know.
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh