BALBEUCHLEY TOP TO AUCHTERHOUSE (Old Station)
(Update May 2015) (New with text in blue)
Head-on view of the Engine House site at Balbeuchley Top, with the track bed taking a right-angle turn towards Pitpointie Farm.
The engine house stood just behind the tall trees, while the water pool & tank stood to the left. The ruin to the right was the
engineman's house. A Coal Store stood behind that and in front of the engine house. This is the spot where wagons would have
been attached and detached from the wire rope. This would have been a busy spot at times with a loco getting watered and coaled
and wagons and a passenger coach awaiting to depart for Auchterhouse or lowered to Balbeuchly bottom. (19th. April 2013).
A VERY FINE MODEL OF BALBEUCHLEY TOP
I was nicely surprised to come across these colour potos of a very fine model railway of the top of the incline at Balbeuchley. My thanks to David Martin for allowing
the use of the photos on this web page. It is nice to see what the enginehouse and the Engineman's House actually looked like as well as seeing the layout and
wagons attached to the wire
"Interesting"! The left photo shows the track running off to the right up to the engine house with what appears to be the coal delieverie. However, this line
and the coal wagon appears to have been deleted and the signal moved closer to the building, for some reason! The two photos appear to show the
model at different stages of building.
I had wondered about he sigaling used on the incline and it appears that ther was just the outside the engine house that gave the signal when trains wer ready to proceed down
the incline. However, was there a signalbox and signal(s) from Pitpointie to Auchterhouse! There were normal type signals at Auchterhouse old station therefore there must
have been a 'Starting' signal from Balbeuchley Top.
N.B. These photos are the copyright of David Martin (Dundee). Please don't copy or use these photos for any reason whatsoever without seeking permission.
You can find David's photos on Flickr.
At the summit. The tractor grooves virtually follow the main line as it curves in off the incline. This is taken from the access path above
the Engine House site. The engineman's house is by the tree. According to sketches those two trees were there when the site was
operating. The siding was in the foreground with a shunt towards the trees and a back shunt up to the engine house where the wire
rope came out of and retuned back into the building. There was a loop line next to the main line where engines could take water.
The water tower stood to the right, this side of the two lines.
From the running line, towards the incline.
The site of the engine house. Sadly, nothing remains. There is a lot of rubble on the site, mainly stones and the remains of a tractor.
The rubble on the site of the Engine House (14th May 2010)
The rubble on the site of the Engine House (14th May 2010) .
Looking south from the Engine house, where the trains would have been attached and detached to the wire.
Coming in from Auchterhouse, with the remains of Balbeuchley Top buildings on the left, while the track curved
to head south down the incline. It's a pity that the railway activities that would have occurred here was never
recorded for prosperity. This would have made an excellent museum if they had kept the Engine and buildings
together. It is over 140 years since such activity took place here. As a point of interest the Museum in
Dundee has models of both the type of static engine used and also of the first steam loco to work the line.
Left: The Engine House Site. There is nothing remaining. Right: Ruins of the Coal Store and Engineman's House on the eastern paremeter of the site.
Remains of the Engineman's House.
The House ran north to south with the entrance on the west side.
Left: Interior ruins of the enginemen's house. Not even a fireplace or sink to show what had been here. The eastern corner of the ruined house. Right: From a diagram this would have been the lounge area.
South end of the house (Both 16th April 2014).
Left: The north-eastern corner of the house. Right: this shows the full length of the house.
The Enginman's House and incline seen from the footpath above the site. (Both16th April 2014).
Remains of the gate that protected the entrance on the path at the top of the site.
(28th Sept. 2013).
The stream that fed the pool and water tower. It still gurgles merrily
and is about the only sound heard at this deserted site.
0277BalbeuchleyTopn.jpgLeft: Parts of the stone wall still remains, where the trains took the curve before the long straight, passing through Pitpointie Farm to Auchterhouse.
Right: The tight curve heading towards Pitpointie Farm
You can just make out the eastern buildings of Pitpointie Farm, up ahead. I didn't walk this section as I was
told that it is quite bogie and is messy through the farm, where you would require permission to do so. I
walked back down to the Leoch Road crossing site and westwards to then go up to Pitpointie Farm
before getting on the track bed again towards Eastfield. Luckily a man was just about to drive away from
of the cottages and told me that it was OK to proceed. We also shared a bit of chat about the old line.
Pitpointie Farm To Balbeuchly Top, Walk (April 2013)
On the 19th of April 2013 I managed to get permission to walk the old track bed through Pitpointie Farm to Balbeuchly Top. It was a fine day but after a heavy day of rain two days
before, the ground was still saturated with water. Along with the years of overgrowth and the piling of old farm equipment and rubble it was noan easy or comfortablewalk.
It was slow going and having to be careful of every step. Other sections are either deep in rubble and/or very wet getting through the long grass and around some rather smelly
water. I had to creep along close to the wire fence taking care not to get tangled in the barbed wire and for the final length to Balbeuchly Summit I had to climb off the track bed
and walk along the southern edge of higher ground. This section would be alright to walk when really dry but certainly not on this ocassion.
Your way is blocked where the old track bed meets the farm house and you have to walk around the south side of the house, passing the main driveway to the house and carry on
around until you come to the eastern side of the farm where there is a number of farm buildings and old pieces of equipment etc. then the difficult through-way begins.......
Eastern side of the Farm, looking west on what was the actual track bed. This road led into Pitpointie Goods
which was to the right.
Eastern end of the farm with a large heap of rubbish piled upon the remains of the track bed. Both views towards Balbeuchly Top.
This was the site of Pitpointie goods siding.
Initially I thought this may be an old railway wagon but turned out to be a two-wheeled farm trailer.
Where the loading platform stood.
Left: Looking westward. Right: Looking eastwards. This is where it became quite difficult to scramble over towards Balbeuchly
Top.You need to take care as there is a lot of loose material where you could easily lose your footing or trip over something.
Westwards. The heap drops suddenly and is still rough under foot.
Left: This section was completely fenced off and I had considered the possibility of having to return to the farm and take the long detour around the main road to get back up to
Blabeuchly Top, which would have been annoying having got so close. Thankfully the wire fencing was damaged enough for me to keep going, although it was difficult climbing
over the loose wire. Right: The last lap to Balbeuchly Top. This would be easily walkable when dry but as we had a full day of heavy rain two days before it was more like a swamp
and deeper than it looks. A pair of Wellies would have been handy. This is where I had to climb up the south side wall and walk along the higher ground, which was dryer.
From the embankment. The flat section which was deceivingly waterlogged.
Left: From the embankment looking back towards Pitpointie Farm Right: Towards the summit.
Left: First sighting of the summit. The high path is where the staff would have arrived and departed from, unless catching a ride on the train up the incline.
Right: From the same spot, back towards Pitpointie.
Left: At he summit. It was still bogie underfoot and I had to walk between the tractor grooves to look around the summit site.
Right: Same spot back towards Pitpointie.
Continuing the walks from Pitpointie to Newtyle...................
From the Leoch Road. Over the years Pitpointie Farm has extended eastwards along the length of the old
track bed. The goods siding was to the right by the trees.
The western end of the track bed as you meet Pitpointie Farm land. The track bed
was straight ahead but now blocked by the house. The opening to the right is too
and from the Leoch Road and the entrance to Pitpointie farm.
The chap I talked to said that this site was possibly a water tank for the Steam locomotives! Being only about
half a mile from Balbeuchley Top, where water was available I am a little dubious if this information is
correct. Perhaps someone can prove this, one way or another!
It had been a fair sized building and it would be interesting to learn what it was for.
Looking west from the above spot, along the old track bed towards
the Ex level crossing on the Kirkton Of Auchterhouse road.
Looking back along the track bed towards Balbeuchley Top, with Pitpointie Farm hidden in the trees. The dry-stone wall is still evident, on the left.
Interesting wooden pillars by the Kirkton Of Auchterhouse Road. Looking east. This was the site of a level crossing.
Looking west, where the road crossing was. Part of the track bed has been ploughed flat but you can see the shallow
cutting up ahead, where it stops again just before the Eastfield under bridge. A point of interest is that the dyke on the
west side of the road doesn't match up with the width of the track bed and will have been built after the railway closure in
1861, making the fence quite old in itself. See latest news of the right-hand side post, below.
The wooden posts are very well made and quite a pleasant design.
They were obviously made to last.
19th April 2013. I was disappointed to find that the northern post had been up-rooted from it's base from a road incident. The post lies
back from the crossing spot and is temperarily tethered with some barbed wire to hold it up. How long will, it last like that! Rather sad
after standing at the same spot since the 1830's.
A telephoto shot of the shallow cutting heading towards Eastfield.
The site of the level crossing seen from the Leoch road junction with the eastern Kirkton of Auchterhouse road heading northwards
From the Leoch Road. The tracked running east to west up to Pitpointie Farm, to the right by the trees. You can see the two posts
guarding the level crossing site. (19th April m2013)
Also from the Leoch-Eastfield Road. The track bed restarts in the field for a short way, before disappearing once again under the plough, at Eastfield.
Left: The track bed from Balbeuchley as it disappears again just before the under bridge. Right: The under bridge at Eastfield. Looking north towards Kirkton Of Auchterhouse.
Left: East side of Eastfield railway bridge parapet Right: West side of Eastfield railway bridge parapet. (19th April 2013)
Left: Along with some back-filling of the track bed the under bridge at Eastfield has also been strengthened to handle modern traffic. As well as giving me permission to enter the
garden to take this picture, the lady of the house kindly gave me some welcome refreshments, while we chatted about the railway and things in general . Right: The track bed
heads towards Auchterhouse from the under bridge.
The bricked-up under bridge at Eastfield , visible to the right of the house. Seen from the
Dronley road. (David Martin. Feb. 2010).
The old track bed half way between Eastfield and Auchterhouse
Now on the outskirts of Auchterhouse. The white houses stands on the 'newer' station site. There is a break in the 'old' embankment on the left,
while you see the end of the embankment as it approaches Auchterhouse old station site.
I find this cropped image of interest both for it's nice pastrol colouring and lighting but also, it shows the old track bed coming in from the left and
ending just above the Auchterhouse 'new' station site. The white houses stand in the old Goods siding. The station ran the full length, in a cutting,
up to the over bridge, just noticeable to the far right and you see where the incline track bed entered the old station site, on the extreme right by the
small arched-roof stone building.
The incline track bed coming in from Eastfield and to where it ends just before it ran into the old station. In the background are the twin communities
of Birkhill & Muirhead , which are just to the north west of Dundee.
The end of the incline embankment from the Ex road bridge by the old station site.
A cropped image from a wider view, showing the stump of the embankment that remains. Due to some tree cutting you can see the filled-in over bridge
up ahead at Eastfield, connecting it properly to the direct view as it woud have done when the line was open. (April 2014)
AUCHTERHOUSE 'OLD' STATION
The old station was to the north of the village. You cross over the track bed on the Kirkton to Auchterhouse road with the station and goods yard on the north side of the bridge.
The new station was closer to the Newtyle-Dundee road and was on a new loop that met the old line just north of the old station. Goods trains had to take the original track bed
into the old station goods yard.
Left: Site of the under bridge where the incline railway came into Auchterhouse 'old' station. Right: Reverse view. looking north.
Left: The north side of the road as the incline railway entered the old station platform, hidden in the undergrowth, behind the right hand fence.
Right: Auchterhouse Goods Yard from the newer line over bridge, looking north.
Remains of the 'old' station platform. It is fast deteriorating. It really should be preserved considering it goes back to 1833! A gem of a Scottish Railway historical site.
Left: The old Goods yard, looking north. The newer line ran in a cutting to the left, while the old line ran at a slightly higher level, on the right. Right: Reverse view. The old station
platform is on the left by the arched-roof stone building seen in the background. The top of the 'newer' under bridge of the 'new' line is seen on the right and indicates how much
back-fill has been carried out in the goods yard site. The Army Tank seen here belongs to a group who sell driving lessons to anyone with the wish to drive a tank.
At the north end of the Goods yard, where the layout narrows as the single line went on to Newtyle. The old and new
track beds met at this point. Goods trains had to take the spur into the goods siding. If they were heading south they
would run directly into the goods siding and back out over the north points and reverse to go south again.
Goods trains going north would run beyond the north points and back into the goods siding then head
northwards when shunting was completed.
http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=7762615 Photos of this area. The map below (click on the link) shows Balbeuchley Top to the west of Leoch.
Entrance to the new station, which was behind the houses on the right. The track bed coming in from the south is seen on the extreme right. It was just beyond this
point where the incline track bed met the new line. The center road leads up to the over bridge by the old station., while the main road on the left runs north to
Newtyle. Note the bus stop. There is an hourly service between Dundee and Newtyle.
http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=7762615 Photo of railway bridge between old & New stations.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_DxCgUWtuk Video includes the Balbeuchley incline seen from he air.
HATTON INCLINE (Millhole) To NEWTYLE OLD STATION (Original Route) Back to D&N Index
Links & Reading:
The Dundee & Newtyle Railway by Niall Ferguson. Still available from some books shops and on the Internet.
The Dundee & Newtyle (A history by Elliot Simpson)
http://www.auchterhouse.com/history/railway.htm (Includes and excellent map of the railway)
http://www.geograph.org.uk/search.php?i=7762615 Excellent 'remains' photos including the Law Tunnel, Balbeuchley Incline and Dronley
http://www.hows.org.uk/personal/rail/incline/dund.htm Explains the inclines but sketches are very poor quality and almost useless.
Video Screen grabs from the The Railways Of Scotland Volume 8 "Dundee". An excellent video available on DVD, from Cinerail at: http://www.cinerail.com/cinerail/railways-of-scotland.html
There are many great archive scenes of almost every
Scottish route you can think of. Well worth a look.
The Cromford & High Peak Incline railway in Derbyshire has been luckier in having much of it's buildings, including an Engine House preserved. This is what could have happened, indeed,
should have happened with at least one of the D&N inclines. However, the C&H gives an excellent comparison of what the D&N would have looked like.
Boddam To Ellon Branch (Walks) By Bill Reid.
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