Penicuik Branch John Speller's Web Pages Penicuik Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - North British Railway
Penicuik Branch
The town of Penicuik (pop. 11,000), just southwest of Edinburgh, takes its name from the old British Pen-y-Coc, Cuckoo Hill. It was formerly the chief center of the Scottish paper industry. Charles Cowan, the proprietor of one of the paper mills, who used the "Cutty Sark" to export his wares to Australia, was one of the chief promoters of the Penicuik Railway, chartered on 20 August 1870 (not 28 August as in some sources). The four-and-a-half mile branch ran from Hawthornden Junction on the Peebles loop of the Waverley Line via Rosslyn Castle (home of the Sinclair family of The da Vinci Codes fame), Auchendinny, and Eskbridge to Penicuik. Trains ran through from Hawthornden via Portobello Junction to Edinburgh Waverley. The Engineer of the line was Sir Thomas Bouch of Tay Bridge Disaster fame, but whatever else may have been said of him he did an excellent job of the Penicuik line, building it at comparatively little expense hugging the river along the picturesque Esk Valley. The authorized capital was 54,000 in 10 shares, with the authority to borrow an additional 18,000. The line opened to goods on 9 May 1872 and to passengers on 2 September 1872. It was worked by the North British Railway, which absorbed it on 1 August 1876. The line closed to passenger traffic on 10 September 1951 and, following two disastrous landslides, to goods on 27 March 1967.
Map of the Penicuik Branch of the North British Railway
Penicuik branch train from a postcard view of around 1905
A bustling Eskbridge station in around 1914
Another view of Eskbridge station in around 1914, showing the proximity of Sir Thomas Bouch's Penicuik Railway to the River Esk
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