The SideTracked series of railway station caches has a new addition here with REALLY SideTracked at the old Riccarton Junction station. Located on the Waverley Line from Edinburgh to Carlisle, via Galashiels and Hawick, the station opened in 1862, and closed in January 1969. The Waverley Line was one of the most controversial closures of the Beeching era, depriving the whole of the Scottish Borders region of rail services until the Edinburgh to Tweedbank section reopened in 2015.
Campaigners hope to extend the line south to Carlisle eventually, but until that happens, this is a very remote and lonely spot. The station was the junction with the Border Counties Railway to Hexham, which closed in 1953, but the station itself clung on until the Waverley Line closed in 1969. The area was inaccessible by any other means, and a small community grew up around the station, with 37 houses for railway workers. The station also featured a large complex of sidings, and was an important working site. After the line closed, the village was abandoned, and only a couple of the houses survive in occupation today. Most of the station buildings have been demolished. An attempt was made to restore the side in the early 2000s, but the group involved split up acrimoniously, and the surviving station platform is rapidly vanishing underneath a carpet of greenery. There's still quite a lot to be seen, though, including a reproduction Scottish Region sign welcoming you to the station!
The area is beautiful and well worth exploring, with cycling and walking possible along the Waverley Line trackbed. For more information about the station and line, click here.
Please note that vehicle access onto the Waverley Line trackbed is NOT permitted, and that you will need to reach this cache on foot or by bike. There is, therefore, a fairly lengthy walk involved, from either Steele Road or Whitrope. The shortest route is from the Railway Heritage Centre at Whitrope - it's about two miles walk or cylce from here. There's also some rough ground at the cache site, reflected in the terrain rating. PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE TO THE CACHE SITE. Vehicle trespass in the area is taken seriously and is often reported to the police.
You can park at the Whitrope Heritage Centre, which opens and provides train rides on selected weekends in summer. The cache is about two miles south of this site, along the old line, which can be accessed easily beyond the Heritage Centre's short length of track.