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Peebles, South Park Wood, Former Railway Tunnel

A Category B Listed Building in Tweeddale East, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.652 / 55°39'7"N

Longitude: -2.9498 / 2°56'59"W

OS Eastings: 340327

OS Northings: 640240

OS Grid: NT403402

Mapcode National: GBR 73V2.5R

Mapcode Global: WH7WD.N6JF

Entry Name: Peebles, South Park Wood, Former Railway Tunnel

Listing Date: 1 October 2002

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396443

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48931

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Peebles

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Traditional County: Selkirkshire

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Walkerburn

Description

Opened 1864 for the Caledonian Railway. Railway tunnel with horseshoe entrances to W and E. Rock-faced ashlar voussoirs and wing walls with polished ashlar courses; droved ashlar voussoirs to E entrance. Red stock brick lining to tunnel.

W (NEIDPATH VIADUCT) ELEVATION (NT 23404 40227): long sloping cutting leading to horseshoe arch tunnel with rusticated voussoirs; coping and band courses suggesting faux parapet. Later brick wall with now missing central door positioned within tunnel entrance. To left, sloped ashlar wall with deeply overhanging quoins abutting main tunnel wall. To right, high wall with flat quoins abutting main tunnel wall and stepped to follow contour of hill.

E (SOUTH WOOD PARK) ELEVATION (NT 23932 40327): long sloping cutting, similar to that at W entrance. To left, brick retaining wall to left bank of cutting; to right, natural random rock forming retaining wall. Horseshoe ashlar arch tunnel with rusticated voussoirs and droved ashlar entrance; coping and band course suggesting faux parapet. Later brick in-fill to tunnel with now missing central door. Remains of small ashlar trough near tunnel entrance and culvert spanning burn to E.

INTERIOR: almost straight brick lined horseshoe tunnel extending from W to E with a slight bend towards the E (Peebles) end. Tracks now removed, cinders and ballast from track bed remaining.

Statement of Interest

Part of an A-Group with Neidpath Viaduct (listed separately). The viaduct displays fine masonry, brick lining and is relatively complete; it is a rare survivor of the now closed and largely dismantled railway heritage of the Borders. Originally this tunnel carried the railway line to Symington, Biggar & Broughton. As this tunnel was sited to the west of Peebles, it was built and owned by the Caledonian Railway. The tunnel, cut through a projecting shoulder of rock under the South Park Woods, formed part of the main Glasgow-Carlisle line. Originally, a line had been proposed by the Caledonian Railway in 1846 but had met with fierce opposition in Parliament by the North British Railway (who ran the line to the East of Peebles). Subsequently the line was delayed until permission was granted to the Syminton Biggar and Broughton Railway (who had been funded by the Caledonian Company) to construct it. By the time the line was opened, the SB & B Railway had been absorbed into the larger Caledonian Railway. The tunnel is contemporary with the Neidpath Viaduct (list separately). Apart from carrying passenger trains, the line was much used during World War II for the transportation of wartime goods such as raw materials to factories and cloth from the mills. It is believed the tunnel was also used to "hide" the Royal Train while the King and Queen went to inspect the damage caused by the Blitz in Clydeside; although there is some doubt as to whether this plan was ever implemented as the tunnel was single track and other trains used the line at the time in question. The viaduct and tunnel remained in use until the early 1960s although the passenger service ended in June 1950. The tunnel was latterly used by the Wemyss and March estate for the movement of timber. The nearby viaduct now forms part of a Peebles town walk, although the tunnel is not open to the public.

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