Leuchars Junction track layout

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gsnedders

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Does anyone have anything showing the track layout at the former Leuchars Junction when the St Andrews branch was still in service? I've never quite understood where the St Andrews branch departed from the surviving lines, especially given the need to navigate Toll Road at the western end of the station (with the line towards Edinburgh continuing in cutting beyond) and the need to cross Motray Water.

I've always assumed that the line must have diverged prior to the passing under Toll Road, which would imply that only the Up platform (1, at least now!) was usable by the branch. There remain shunt signals (or at least did when I was last there not too long ago) for the branch into the former RAF base on the Up platform, but otherwise it doesn't seem signalled for bidirectional running, which makes me doubt whether St Andrews branch trains used the Up platform exclusively.

Another slightly related question is whether anyone knows how far into the RAF base that branch got?
 
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matchmaker

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The 1963 OS 1" map shows the St Andrews line leaving southwards with a bridge over Motray Water. At Guard Bridge station there appears to be a level crossing over the A919 (fold in map at that point!) The line then curves east, crossing the River Eden.

Of course there was also the line to Tayport, which left northeastwards at the junction station, with a (by then closed) station and level crossing in the town of Leuchars, again over the A919.
 

gsnedders

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National Maps of Scotland to the rescue: comparison map.

I'm a numpty for not thinking of that, given how often I do look at it. Thanks!

Even the 37-61 1:25000 survey doesn't show the branch in the RAF base, though, interestingly, and its associated crossing of Station Road. I always believed that dated back to around WW2, though perhaps it was a later Cold War build? Certainly didn't last very long, then!
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Of course there was also the line to Tayport, which left northeastwards at the junction station, with a (by then closed) station and level crossing in the town of Leuchars, again over the A919.

FWIW, I believe some sort of goods station remained until '67.

The Wikipedia article for the station makes mention of bay platforms being filled in—I presume these were at the southern end of the station, and are where the platform material is still different (oddly, given I remember it being repaved at least once within my life-time!).
 
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neil57d

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I was a student at St Andrews in the late 1960s. There was a bay platform at the south end of Leuchars Jn used by Leuchars-St Andrews trains. The layout at Leuchars South Jn included a crossover to the down line. Trains from St Andrews to Dundee used the down platform at Leuchars, and trains from Dundee to St Andrews the up platform. Trains picked up/set down the token by hand as they passed Leuchars South box which was just beside the junction to St Andrews. I have the Leuchars South Jn to St Andrews train staff (actually a key token) that was used after the closure of St Andrews box until the line closed.

If I remember correctly Leuchars also had a bay platform at the north end, originally intended for trains to Leuchars (Old) and Tayport.

Neil Dickson
 

MarkRedon

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Please forgive me if you think this is off topic, but the most recent proposal for reopening to St Andrews suggests a somewhat different alignment with north and south facing junctions. The consultants report is available at https://www.dropbox.com/s/uo44glymvw84gp3/Tata Steel St Andrews Railway report.pdf

The campaign group working towards reinstatement of a railway to St Andrews is called StARLink. Their website can be found at: http://www.starlink-campaign.org.uk/index.php

There has been relatively recent discussion on this forum of the merits and otherwise of reopening to St Andrews, together with other routes in Scotland. Please see: http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=108662
 

gsnedders

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I was a student at St Andrews in the late 1960s. There was a bay platform at the south end of Leuchars Jn used by Leuchars-St Andrews trains. The layout at Leuchars South Jn included a crossover to the down line. Trains from St Andrews to Dundee used the down platform at Leuchars, and trains from Dundee to St Andrews the up platform. Trains picked up/set down the token by hand as they passed Leuchars South box which was just beside the junction to St Andrews. I have the Leuchars South Jn to St Andrews train staff (actually a key token) that was used after the closure of St Andrews box until the line closed.

If I remember correctly Leuchars also had a bay platform at the north end, originally intended for trains to Leuchars (Old) and Tayport.

Thanks for that — especially given it's your first post here!
 

47271

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If it helps further, the remains of the first part of the route diverging to St Andrews beyond the road bridge is visible on a modern 1:50k OS map. It indicates a river crossing and then vanishes until a dotted line reappears in the middle of Guardbridge village.

I had family in St Andrews years ago but haven't used Leuchars station for a long time, but I recall that the filled in locations of both sets of bays was clear in the 1980s.

I'm pretty sure that the branch to the RAF base was still working in the early 1990s. It crossed the A919 just north of the station and I do remember fuel tank wagons parked just beyond the level crossing on the village side of the road. How much further it went towards the base I don't know. Given that it's not that long gone it should be possible to trace its route - the siding started its course on the alignment of the old Tayport line and then took an abrupt right turn as the A919 assumed the line of the closed railway.
 

Philip Phlopp

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Have you tried the SCRAN site - it's useful source of aerial photos and other historical content that Historic Environment Scotland, local universities, newspapers and others have accumulated over the years.
 

gsnedders

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I had family in St Andrews years ago but haven't used Leuchars station for a long time, but I recall that the filled in locations of both sets of bays was clear in the 1980s.

Certainly I don't remember any northern bay being obvious within my lifetime, which means I don't remember it being there in the mid-90s. (I grew up in St Andrews, FWIW.)

I'm pretty sure that the branch to the RAF base was still working in the early 1990s. It crossed the A919 just north of the station and I do remember fuel tank wagons parked just beyond the level crossing on the village side of the road. How much further it went towards the base I don't know. Given that it's not that long gone it should be possible to trace its route - the siding started its course on the alignment of the old Tayport line and then took an abrupt right turn as the A919 assumed the line of the closed railway.

From memory, I can tell you the level crossing was removed in the late 1990s, though the track remained in-situe across the road until utilities work in the mid-2000s. The track within the base was lifted soon after the level crossing was closed, and I don't have any good memory of where it went being so young at the time. It's also worthwhile pointing out that it likely originally didn't cross the A919, as the A919 was rerouted from Main Street to Station Road when the two-lane road between them by the station opened in the… 80s, I think. That of course depends when the railway line was built.

The point-work on the up platform was only removed a few years ago, I think. Until then the branch remained connected up until a stop board maybe 20m short of the former level crossing. The track of the branch to the level crossing is now fenced off from the rest of the network, with a tiny section where the fence goes lifted, and accessible from the pavement.

As far as I'm aware, the A919 didn't assume the line of the closed railway, given it was built as Station Road and constructed for the opening of Leuchars Junction station, and the Tayport line survived another eighty years after that. I believe it went through what's now the carpark of Ye Olde Hotel by the roundabout in Leuchars. (i.e., immediately parallel to Station Road until it ends)
 
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Railsigns

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A picture of the level crossing, taken on 22 October 1994:

 

Tobbes

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On the RAF side, it ran straight through that gate and went into the middle of the base behind the hangars - from the mid-70s pictures it seemed to be mostly used for delivering fuel. The alignment has since been lost.
 

gsnedders

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On the RAF side, it ran straight through that gate and went into the middle of the base behind the hangars - from the mid-70s pictures it seemed to be mostly used for delivering fuel. The alignment has since been lost.

Right, it was very definitely there for the sake of delivering fuel primarily. If it ran all the way to the hangars it presumably crossed Main Street (the former routing of A919) as well as Station Road (the present routing of the A919), which I certainly don't believe it did in the 90s. Could it have got cut back prior to its complete closure?
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Have you tried the SCRAN site - it's useful source of aerial photos and other historical content that Historic Environment Scotland, local universities, newspapers and others have accumulated over the years.

Seems like City of Glasgow doesn't have access for library card holders from home, at least. Will have to go into library and see if I have access there, I guess.
 

47271

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Thanks all, I've learned something new on the present course of the A919. All those years driving along it thinking they'd only built it when the space was freed up by the closure of the Tayport railway, and it was there as Station Road all the time!

I'm intrigued now by the mystery of the northern bay platform. My Dad has a few photos taken at Leuchars in the early 1980s, I'll see if I can get them scanned and put up if they help with any of the points here.

I've asked him to have a very quick look at this source, and the modern A919 was certainly in existence in January 1981.
 

gsnedders

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The rails are still there across Main Street here

Heh, somehow I've always missed that! (Presumably because I haven't been down there in maybe five years!) Certainly I don't remember it being anywhere near as rough to drive over, but that may well just be difference of speed limit (the A919 was 60mph until recently, compared with 30mph down there).
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I'm intrigued now by the mystery of the northern bay platform. My Dad has a few photos taken at Leuchars in the early 1980s, I'll see if I can get them scanned and put up if they help with any of the points here.

I've asked him to have a very quick look at this source, and the modern A919 was certainly in existence in January 1981.

I'll check with my parents as well—I'm certain that the bypass of Leuchars was built after they moved to St Andrews (in about 1970).
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I've asked him to have a very quick look at this source, and the modern A919 was certainly in existence in January 1981.

Father says he believes the bypass was very late 70s, certainly done after my parents move to St Andrews.
 

nottsnurse

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The line into RAF Leuchars must have still been in use in 1994, because I was there doing the railhead loading/discharge element of my first fuels course!

Unless it was all a bad dream...
 

najaB

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The line into RAF Leuchars must have still been in use in 1994, because I was there doing the railhead loading/discharge element of my first fuels course!

Unless it was all a bad dream...

When did the depot at St Fort come into use?
 
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