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The Railways of Scotland
Chapter III - Some modern specialties


THERE is a remarkable similarity between the natural situation of Glasgow and that of London. In each case, a hill, thrown out as a spur from the higher ground behind it, and rising up amidst wide marshes and lagoons surrounding its base, afforded a natural site for a cathedral and the town which grew up under its shadow. In each case a road leads down from the hill to what has for centuries been a bridge, but was once a ford, marking what, in the case of London at least, was the lowest point at which the river could in early times be crossed, thus constituting the town the natural emporium of the trade of the district. As in London the Strand, so in Glasgow Argyle Street marks the distance to which the river, even in quite modern times, extended inland. In each case, the marshes have left behind them a legacy of fog, which in Glasgow is aggravated, even more than in London, by the smoke of innumerable factory chimneys. Excepting, however, the fog, everything in Glasgow is on a smaller scale. In size and volume of water the Clyde can no more vie with the Thames than St. Mungo's can compare with St. Paul's. But Glasgow has one enormous advantage in return. If the Clyde is narrower, it is also shorter ; and within five-and-twenty miles of Glasgow there is a sea coast, which for beauty and variety can almost claim comparison with Norway itself.

From the very early days of steam travelling, the Clyde has been always in the van of progress. As long ago as 1812, more than two years before ever a steamer had been seen on the Thames, the Comet, of 25 tons and 3 horse-power, was plying regularly thrice a week between Glasgow, Greenock, and Helensburgh, up one day and down the next. There is nowadays a whole fleet of vessels, including amongst them the famous Columba and Zonci, which daily perform the same journey at the present time ; fine large saloon steamers, most of which make nothing of 20 miles an hour; but for years past the bulk of the traffic has gone by rail as far down as Greenock, and only joined the steamers there. And for the privilege of carrying it (some five-and-twenty miles each way, at a return fare of 2s. 6d. first class and is. 6d. third) the three great Scottish railways have long fought their hardest.

The original Greenock line, now the property of the Caledonian, was opened in 1841. Save where it turns inland for a short distance in order to reach Paisley, it follows the course of the river throughout down to its terminus in the heart of the town of Greenock. Except such as may be connected with the sugar trade, there is not much sweetness or light about the town of Greenock; and, even for Greenock, the lanes through which the passengers had to walk from the train to the steamer were more than usually noisome. But such as they were, residents "down the water" had to put up with them for nearly a quarter of a century. At last the rival company, the Glasgow and South-Western, came to the rescue. At enormous expense they formed a new line into Greenock, descending through tunnel from the high ground behind the town on to the shore, where they built a convenient pier adjoining their station. And they had their reward, for they swept away almost the whole of the Caledonian through traffic, and in a single year they have been known to carry to and from the coast over 800,000 passengers, or say every man, woman, and child, in Glasgow, Paisley, and Greenock put together; and this in spite of the fact that the Caledonian was by no means the only competing route. For a company, now merged in the all- absorbing North British, had built a line down the north bank of the Clyde to Helensburgh, while yet another railway, terminating at Wemyss Bay, cut off the great triangle of high ground near whose apex Greenock is situated, and so formed the shortest road to Innellan, as well as to Rothesay and the other places on the Island of Bute. From Wemyss Bay, too, there were steamers to Largs and to Millport, which latter place has recently had a second string to its bow with a ferry service to the new coast railway via Ardrossan, while, to crown the whole, the natural route for the very large traffic to the Island of Arran is the steamer service from Ardrossan Harbour, now in connection with the South-Western only, but likely before long to be competed for by the Caledonian also.

As long ago as 1865 the Caledonian saw that they must lose their "coast" traffic, unless they took active steps to retain it; so they obtained powers to continue their line forward to Gourock Bay, some three miles below Greenock. Butt, like many another necessary enterprise, the scheme was knocked on the head by the great panic of 1866, and the Company were left minus their railway, but plus the burden of the ownership of Gourock Harbour, to which, of course, they had no access. In 1878 the scheme was revived. After two applications had failed, in 1884 an Act was obtained; and last summer, after burrowing in a tunnel (the longest in Scotland) right under the town of Greenock, and constructing three miles of very heavy banks and cuttings, and a pier a third of a mile in length, at a total expenditure of £600,000, the Caledonian found its bold stroke rewarded by the recovery of the bulk of the traffic which left it more than twenty years before.

And now, after this long introduction, bearing in mind that Glasgow has roughly a seventh of the population of London, and that the Glasgow fares are certainly less than half what we are accustomed to in the south, let us see the provision which is made for the conveyance of Glasgow to the sea-side on a summer afternoon. In each case we will take the crack service. At 4 P.M. the Caledonian sends off a fast train to Gourock, which calls to pick up passengers at Paisley, Port Glasgow, and Greenock. Twelve minutes later an express, which runs through without a stop, starts in pursuit, and, reaching Gourock Pier at 4.52, distributes its passengers among three different steamers which are there in waiting. Two minutes, neither more nor less, is allowed for and occupied by the transfer—no luggage is taken—and at4. 54 all three boats are under weigh, one for Loch Long, a second for the Holy Loch, and a third straight down the Firth for Rothesay, where it is due to arrive at 5.49. In the 97 minutes passengers have travelled 26 miles by train, 14 miles by boat, and have been delayed, not only by a slack through facing points at Paisley, by collecting tickets at Fort Matilda, and by the transfer at Gourock, but also by calling at four intermediate piers. As this is the last new service, with the newest boats [The Caledonian had a Bill in Parliament last session tc enable them to run steamers of their own. So had the Glasgow and South-Western. The Caledonian Bill was thrown out, and the South-Western was in consequence withdrawn. The splendid new Caledonian boats do not therefore belong to the Railway Company, but to the Caledonian Steam Packet Company, Limited; in other words, a syndicate of Caledonian shareholders with a Caledonian director, Lord Breadalbane, as their chairman. Similarly there is a North British Steam Packet Company, Limited, owning the boats which run in connection with North British trains, both on the Clyde and on Loch Lomond.] and the most convenient pier, itmay no doubt be the smartest, but the others have no need to blush at a comparison.

At 4.10, the North British despatches its express from Queen Street to Craigendoran Pier, outside Helensburgh (also with a slightly slower pick-up train in front), and three minutes after its arrival two steamers set off to distribute its passengers. At 4.20, a second express follows; again a pair of boats are in attendance, so that amongst the four every watering-place can be served with the least possible delay. Meanwhile, at 4.15 and 4.35, a pair of trains have started for the Wemyss Bay line, to connect at the pier with a pair of steamers, the one for Rothesay, the other for Largs and Miliport. Last, but by no means least, the South-Western has its 4.10 express for Greenock, with its two attendant steamers; its 4.7 for Fairlie Pier and Largs, and its 4.20 for the steamer to Arran via Ardrossan. One other South- Western train vell deserves mention. The 4.15 to Ayr, one of the heaviest expresses in Great Britain, has no steamboat connection, and no competition either by boat or rail. But for all that, spite of calling at Paisley, slipping" at Irvine, and collecting tickets at Prestwick, it covers its 40½ miles in the level hour. It should be added that the first-class fare is 5s.—to Brighton, 10 miles further, it is just double—and that Glasgow is chronically grumbling at the amount as extortionate.

In all, ii trains, and 13 boats in connection, run for the accommodation of passengers leaving Glasgow in the half hour after 4 o'clock. On Saturdays the whole of this elaborate mechanism begins to work some two hours earlier. Needless to say, it has also to be set in motion every morning to get people up to business by half-past nine; while on Mondays, in particular, the crush is so tremendous that a special relief service has to be organized in front of the ordinary daily service. Even so, the train booked to leave Gou rock at 8.30 has sometimes had to be despatched in four portions. To show the fierceness and the closeness of the competition, it is perhaps worth while giving some of the results in the form of a table.

It should be added that though the Wernyss Bay line looks on paper far and away the best to Rothesay, it has been seriously handicapped by the use of a much less convenient station in Glasgow. However, last autumn it was bought by the Caledonian, which hitherto has only worked it—another response to the North British challenge —and it is understood that next summer will not only see its service much improved, but also its trains admitted in Glasgow into the "Central," a station which is—what central stations by no means always arc—honestly entitled to its name.

But it must not be supposed that the railways exert themselves to the utmost every morning and evening only to go to sleep for the rest of the day. On the contrary, the quantity of the services is not one whit less remarkable than their quality. There called every day last August, according to a local paper which lies before me, 54 passenger steamers at the not over-famous watering-place of Kim, and a whole bevy of extra boats on Saturdays and Mondays. Most of them only run to and from the different railway piers, but the number is swelled by the boats which, from the stately Columba, or Lord of the Is/es, down to the humble cheap tripper —sixty miles out and home for sixpence—constantly touch in the course of their complicated voyage from and to Glasgow.

There is one very remarkable feature about this "coast" traffic. The great bulk of the passengers are not season-ticket holders, but take an ordinary return ticket every time they travel. Not but what the Scottish companies are liberal enough in the conditions on which they issue their "seasons." The usual English rule is to grant them only for a minimum period of three months and—in the south of England at least—only to first and second-class passengers. In Scotland not only are third- class "seasons" universal, but they can be obtained for any length of time, from a week or a fortnight upwards, that is desired. If, after taking a ticket for a month, the owner wishes to prolong his stay at the seaside for another fortnight or three weeks, he can always extend the currency of his ticket on paying a proportional amount in excess. But, spite of this liberal treatment, the "coast" passengers prefer to take tickets every day. The reason is obvious. The ordinary fare has been brought down so low that a "season" does not pay, unless its holder goes up and down something like six days a week. Take, for example, Wemyss Bay, as it has already been mentioned. For the 6o miles to Glasgow and back, the first-class fare is 3s. 6d.— a fare which a correspondent of the Glasgow Herald protested against a month or two back as exorbitant. A season-ticket costs £25 per annum, so that to make it profitable one would have to travel more than thrice a week all the year round. To Brighton, on the other hand, it is only £30, but a single journey up and down costs i5s. In other words, a man who is away from Brighton three months in the year, and only comes up to town once a week during the remaining nine, will not actually lose by taking a "season."

Of course the difference, though at first sight it appears to be a difference in the scale of charge for season-tickets, is really in the fares for ordinary traffic. The ordinary fares to the "coast" have been reduced, so to speak, to the wholesale rate already. It is not that the Brighton Company treats season-ticket holders better, but that its ordinary passengers are treated much worse. On the face of it there is no reason why, if two competing companies can earn a good livelihood by carrying first-class passengers between Glasgow and Greenock at 3/4d. a mile, and third-class passengers for half the money, a company which monopolises the whole traffic between London and Brighton should be unable to carry passengers by any of the best trains for less than 2d. I am not wishing here to reproach the Brighton Company. Like other commercial undertakings, it charges what it can get. But I do really believe that railway managers will have, ere long, to face the question, whether fares between two great centres of population with a constant interchange of traffic, ought to be fixed simply on a mileage basis. No one would dream of expecting a consignment of 50 tons of grey shirting, sent down from London to Southampton for shipment, to pay at the same rate as a few pieces sent to Woking or Basingstoke for the use of the local draper. And there is no reason why the rule that applies to goods should not apply to passengers. If the Londoners who want to go to Brighton can, as they do, offer themselves for conveyance "in full train-loads," the company can evidently afford to carry them at a reduced figure. I have no expectation, I admit, of seeing introduced a third-class fare to Brighton of 2s. 6d. by all trains, though I fully believe that in a comparatively short time the initial loss would be more than compensated; but one wonders whether an experiment of a similar reduction, say, between Liverpool and Manchester, is beyond the bounds of possibility.

Hitherto it has always been the outside competition of steamers, or for short distance traffic of omnibuses or tram-cars, which has brought down railway fares seriously below the normal one penny per mile. Of course there have been short spurts of rivalry, and passengers have been carried before now between Glasgow and Edinburgh for sixpence, and from York and Manchester to London and back for half-a-crown. And what is more, in this latter case—which occurred at the time of the Exhibition of 1862—so says one who has the best right to speak with authority, "as long as summer lasted and the trains were full, we didn't lose by the transaction." But fares such as this were never meant to last. What one would like to see is a serious experiment jointly undertaken by the North-Western, the Lancashire and Yorkshire, and the Cheshire lines between Liverpool and Manchester. The fares at present are by no means particularly cheap. They are 5s. 6d, 4s., and 2s. 6d single, and 8s, 6s., and 4s. 6d. return, for the three classes respectively ; on the Greenock scale they would be a good deal less than half. Say that they were brought down to one half, how long would it be before the number of passengers carried would treble itself? Less than this increase would certainly not pay the companies. No doubt they could carry many more passengers than they do at present, simply by running longer trains and more powerful engines, and therefore at practically no additional expense. But still there would be some, so that they would positively lose by carrying double the number of passengers at half the fares, except indeed for what they might gain by stimulating the traffic through Manchester to and from places beyond.

Unquestionably the whole subject is beset with difficulties, not the least of which is that any very startling modification of this kind might tend to rouse a number of sleeping dogs which the rail- ways may think it more prudent to let lie in peace. Still one cannot but wish to see it tackled. Vast as have been the strides with which railway improvement has advanced of recent years, in the all-important item of fares the progress has certainly not been what was anticipated by the founders of our railway system. When the Liverpool and Manchester line was opened "the fare in the better class of carriages, such as the 'Queen Adelaide' and the 'Wellington,' was five shillings, for which sum the travellers and their baggage are conveyed in omnibuses to and fro between the Company's offices in the heart of either town and the commencement of the railway, a mile or a mile and a half distant, free from any additional charge or gratuity." Nowadays, as we have seen, the first-class fare, with no allowance towards the costs of one's hansom, is sixpence more ; then, as now, the second-class fare was 4s. it ought in fairness to be added that there was in the old days no third-class at all.

Still even so the figures are not much to boast of, especially as other countries have gone a good deal ahead of us in this particular. No country probably gives as good value for a penny a mile as do our English railways ; but then, in almost every country in Europe, it is possible, either by a fourth-class as in Germany, or by the zone system, as now in Hungary, or by taking a train even slower than the soi-disant express, as in Belgium and elsewhere, to travel for considerably less than the level penny. There must be a vast substratum of traffic waiting to be tapped by the management which has the audacity to reduce fares (not by certain specified trains in summer, but in normal everyday working) to the level which prevails on the Greenock line. It is useless to say that it could never pay. After the experience of a generation, the Caledonian and the South-Western ought to know. The Caledonian has just spent £600,000 in order to get a better share of this low-fare traffic, spite of the fact that it only lasts for four months, and the cream of it only for two; while the South-Western is likely, so common report says, to carry its line forward past Gourock to the Cloch in order once more to over-trump its rival.

Before we leave the "coast," where we have too Iona lingered, we must notice that the traffic is by no means merely residential. Probably nowhere in the world, certainly nowhere in the United Kingdom, are so many pleasure-tours organized with so much intelligence and forethought. Coaches and steamers are independent of the railways, but it is always possible to obtain through tickets at the railway booking-offices, and with the accounting that goes on afterwards through the companies' audit office the passenger need in no way concern himself. Take this as a fair sample of a complicated tour. Leave Glasgow about 8.30 A.M. by any of the three lines—there are expresses in connection about an hour earlier from Edinburgh—catch the Lord of the Isles an hour later at or near Greenock, and travel with her through the Kyles of Bute and as far as Inverary. Thence back across Loch Fyne in a small ferry steamer to St. Catherine's, whence an attendant coach will take you in a couple of hours through Hell's Glen to the head of Loch Goil, in time to catch a third steamer for Gourock, Greenock, or Craigendoran -according to the railway you have elected to patronize - and so to Glasgow in ample time for dinner. Fare for the whole round only i r shillings. Or if this does not offer sufficient variety, you may leave the Lord of flee Isles at Dunoon, take the coach to Inver- chapel at the foot of Loch Eck, steam up the Loch, and then, with a second coach to Strachur, intercept the big vessel again on her way to Inverary. And any of these tours, of which the above is only one sample out of a hundred, may be made either way, or picked up at any point on the round. As for Loch Lomond, there is no reason why four friends, living at Carlisle, Oban, Berwick, and Dundee respectively, all agreeing to make the tour the same day, should not meet, either on board the steamer on the Loch, or at lunch at the Trossachs Hotel, and get back home in time for bed. The rendezvous would not cost them much over a five-pound note among the four.

Again it is impossible to resist drawing a comparison. There are half-a-dozen coaches which leave London every morning. They are all admirably horsed and turned out, and nearly always empty. Nor are the reasons far to seek. A drive for the best part of an hour through London streets and London suburbs is not attractive for one thing; for another the coaches are little known, and evidently cannot afford to advertise extensively for themselves. Is it impossible for our London railways to organize coach tours in connection with their own lines? There is no difficulty in suggesting possible routes Guildford to Dorking along the Merrow Downs would be one; Windsor to Virginia Water through the Great Park might obviously be another. The Metropolitan might do worse than introduce its new line to public notice by opening up the beauties of the Chilterns with a coach from Chesham to Aylesbury; and even the Chatham and Dover might induce a few people to use its Maidstone and Ashford line if it brought them back by road through the beautiful country which lies between Ashford and Sevenoaks. We cannot bring the Firth of Clyde to London, but even in the way of steamboat excursions it is possible that a trip, for instance, to Dover, thence by sea to Margate or Sheerness, and so back, or again by train to Southend, steamer thence, and rail back from Margate, might attract some people on whom the delights of Ramsgate sands have begun to pall. I have no wish to teach railway managers their business, but when one sees how much the Scottish railways, which after all arc principally goods lines, do to encourage pleasure traffic, and how little is done by our southern lines, which really have nothing else to distract their attention, one cannot but think that it is at least worth while calling attention to the subject.

One point more before we leave the Clyde. Greenock does not deal only in "coast" traffic ; it is one of the chief centres in the world of the sugar- refining industry. It got a hold of this trade a century or so back, when West Indian sugar was brought in to fill the gap caused by the loss of the tobacco trade with the revolted American colonies ; and it has held on to it since, though nowadays the raw sugar comes mainly from the Continent, and is imported either through Leith or Grangemouth. Most people know that there was an extraordinary rise in the price of sugar a year ago. Within a few weeks raw sugar advanced from thirteen to twenty-three shillings per cwt. Last spring there were literally miles of trucks loaded with some 6000 tons of raw sugar standing in every siding in the neighbourhood of Greenock waiting for the refiners to take delivery. In response to my enquiry as to the reason of this block, I learnt that, though the raw material had advanced so largely, there had been no corresponding rise in the price of refined sugar, and that therefore, thinking the rise must come, the refiners had postponed sales till their warehouses were chock-a- block, and they were forced to use the railway company's trucks as supplementary store-rooms. There was at least one advantage in so doing, that they paid no rent.

Not so many years back the railway rate for sugar from Grangemouth to Greenock was 6s. 8d. per ton; from Leith it was 7s. As the sugar trade became more and more depressed, the Company made reduction after reduction in the rate, till finally they had brought it down to 3s. 6d. and 3s. 9d. But when sugar almost doubled in value last spring, they thought that they too had a right to a little better terms, so they advanced the rate by 3d. per ton all round. Whether this was one of the instances of extortionate increase of which some of the Traders' Associations have made so much recently, I know not; but this I do know, and as the instance is probably unique, it is worth recording. When the agitation against the new classification and schedule of maximum rates first began last spring, a deputation of the Greenock sugar-refiners waited upon the general manager of the Caledonian, not in order to demand any concession, but to express their gratitude for the treatment they had received in the past, their readiness to support the Company to the utmost of their power, and their confidence that their relations with it would be equally amicable in the future. Indeed, whatever be the reason, whether that the near neighbourhood of that great anti- monopolist, the sea, has protected the traders, or whether they have defended themselves by their own superior determination and intelligence, or possibly that the Scottish railways are naturally more virtuous than their neighbours to the south, there is much less general discontent with railway rates in Scotland than in England. Alone of all the great towns of the kingdom, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce has not appeared as an objector before the Board of Trade at the Railway Rates Enquiry.

It is not a little remarkable that the Companies who organize, and the public who enjoy, a service as admirable as that down the Clyde, are content to put up with the half-hearted service which exists between Glasgow and Edinburgh. It is not for want of competition that it is so poor. The North British has two routes, the old original Edinburgh and Glasgow line via Falkirk, and a new low-level one through Bathgate; while the Caledonian has a third through Holytown and West Calder. The distances are 47, 44, and 46 miles respectively. The Caledonian service, which has one train in 64 minutes, and a good many more only taking 65, is in point of speed distinctly the best of the three. Even the Caledonian, however, labels "express," and, what is more, charges extra for, a train which takes 85 minutes on its journey, and makes eight intermediate stops every day of the week, and a ninth on Wednesdays. On the North British I was privileged a short time back to pay express fare by a through train via Bathgate, which was allowed 2 hours and 2 minutes for 46¼ miles, and took it all with something over. On the old road the best train is timed to take 70 minutes, and quite a number of the " expresses" take 85. In fairness, an allowance of 5 minutes must be made off this for the incline through the Cowlairs Tunnel, which, though only a mile and a half in length, descends into Queen Street Station in Glasgow with such a precipitous gradient, that it has to be worked to the present day with a stationary engine and a wire rope, so that 8 minutes instead of 3 are required for its passage. Still, once clear of Cowlairs, there is, before the train need stop again at the Haymarket Station, a run of 44 miles as straight as an arrow, and so level that in the old days it used to be said that it was difficult to keep the ballast properly drained. If a train really wants 70 minutes over this bit of road, at least it should be honestly described an "ordinary passenger," and not allowed to profane the name of "express."

Talking of Queen Street Station, it is worth notice, as showing the marvellous strides which Glasgow has made in half a century, that the ground on which it stands—one of the best sites in the town—was bought by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway in 1838 for a guinea per square yard, or to be exact, 33,128 yards (nearly seven acres) for £35,379 15s. 5d. The Company, however, only paid down the odd money, and it was not till 1846 that they were able to raise and pay off the balance of £30,000. What those seven acres are worth to-day maybe judged from another sale which has recently taken place within a few yards. The Corporation of Glasgow disposed of a single acre of land in 1787 to a certain Robert Smith for £645 Is. 4d. Robert Smith at the time of the sale had a daughter six weeks old. Within her lifetime—she lived to be 98—the Corporation bought it back again as the site of their new Municipal Buildings, and the price they paid amounted to £172,944 8s. 5d. No wonder that railway debentures are generally looked upon as sound investments.

The other two Glasgow lines would have been fortunate if they had secured an access to the heart of the City at so reasonable a rate. Both the Caledonian and the Glasgow and South- Western have got nowadays fine large stations, at least as convenient and accessible as Queen Street, but the cost to their shareholders is to be reckoned not in thousands, but in millions. No doubt the game. has been worth the candle. When St. Enoch's, the South-Western Station—the ditto of St. Pancras on a somewhat smaller scale—was opened fifteen years ago, the average number of trains in and out in the 24 hours was iii. Last summer, on busy days, it reached 350. The Central station of the Caledonian is even more modern, but already not only the station but its approaches have had to be enlarged, as the trains have increased from under one hundred to over four.

The Caledonian have, however, at Buchanan Street, a second terminus, now used only for the trains to the north, and certain suburban services. Here there is a low wooden shed, put up by Joseph Locke as long ago as 1849 as a temporary structure, but still standing, and to confess the truth, except for its looks, by no means a bad station even now. How the Caledonian got there is a curious story. Their original terminus was, as has been said, at St. Rollox on the high ground to the north-east of Glasgow (where, by the bye, an old resident informs me he remembers "seeing the engines going about with mortgagees' names upon them after the crash of 1848"). Amongst other inconveniences, outside the station was a toll-gate through which passengers had to pass on their way to and from the centre of the town, so the Company determined that they must come further in. A local engineer projected a scheme by which the line was to be brought in on a viaduct with a falling gradient of 1 in 40 or thereabouts, and even then terminating at a height far above the roofs of the adjacent houses. Some of the arches were actually constructed, when the directors took alarm at what might happen if a train ran away through the station. So the building was stopped, and Joseph Locke called in. He at once decided that it was necessary to go back a mile or so behind St. Rollox, and then tunnel through the hill, and so come down more gradually to the level in Buchanan Street. But the job was a ticklish one. The new line had to be carried under the Monkland Canal and over the Cowlairs Tunnel of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, and there was only very scant room for it to pass between them. The task was safely accomplished, but the engineers had an anxious time of it when the water of the canal actually began to trickle down into their workings.

Edinburgh often boasts its superiority to Glasgow. In one respect at least—its railway stations—it must acknowledge its vast and apparently hopeless inferiority. The Caledonian Station is a wooden shanty. As for the North British, in its original prospectus, dated August, 1843, it expressed its determination "to avoid all useless expense in ornamental works at stations or otherwise," and its worst enemy will scarcely deny that it has kept its promise. The Haymarket Station, the original terminus of the Edinburgh and Glasgow which was opened in 1842, has remained untouched, except the platforms—it may have been painted, but it shows no signs of it—for almost half a century. As for Waverley, what pen could do justice to it? Mr. Foxwell has tried in his recent book, but he acknowledges the inadequacy of his own description. Not that it is, I think, quite fair to throw the whole blame upon the Company. For Haymarket they must take the responsibility, but to render the 'Waverley Station adequate for its traffic is beyond their powers.

It is cooped in on all sides by walls of rock. The natural way to extend it would imply an entrenchment upon a portion of Princes Street Gardens, and this the Corporation refuses to permit on any terms. It is really rather an interesting point, in what Mr. Ruskin would call "the relation of art to use." Unquestionably the gardens are beautiful, and a railway station unlovely; but after all, the Princes Street hotelkeepers and shopkeepers would hardly wish to be left in solitude to enjoy the spectacle. Next year, when the Forth Bridge is open, the Company will scarcely venture to expose its passengers to the accustomed blocks in getting through Edinburgh. How would Edinburgh, with its metropolitan dignity, like it, if next summer some of the London expresses halted for half a moment outside the town at Millerhill Junction, contemptuously uncoupled a carriage or two, and then ran on by the suburban line direct to the Forth Bridge?

There is nothing special to note about the local traffic of Edinburgh. It is all in the hands of the North British, and consequently there are none of those prodigies of energy which are so profusely displayed in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. Nor has the North British, except on the Glasgow line, of which we have just spoken, any great opportunity of exhibiting remarkable speed. Northwards, the neck at Larbert renders such attempts impossible. Eastwards to Berwick, the expresses are "horsed," in pursuance of an old agreement, by the North-Eastern. There remains only the Waverley route southwards to Carlisle through Melrose and Hawick, and this is so bad a road that any very high speed is out of the question. I travelled over it not long since on the engine of the 10.45 A.M. up express. Hardly were we clear of the complexities of the suburban branches, when we had to stop at Hardengreen for the "bank" engine to come on behind and push us up the long climb, nearly 10 miles of 1 in 70 to the top of the Fala moors, over Soo feet above sea-level. The summit reached, the bank-engine fireman comes forward along the frame of his engine and uncouples, and without a check we continue our course, gathering speed as, for fifteen miles down the Gala Water, we thread the endless loops of the stream, till the tall chimneys of Galashiels come in sight, and with a whirr the brakes go down and we pull up at the platform, 33½ miles in 49 minutes. Two minutes for a drink of water, sorely needed after her long climb, and we are off once more, and, with just a passing glimpse of Abbotsford, are over the Tweed and into Melrose. Another fifteen miles of what on the Waverley route passes for level road brings us to Hawick and the banks of the Teviot. Then again a second engine comes to our aid, for we have to cover another ten miles worse than before, up the valley of the Slitrig, with not only the gradient against us, but with curves so sharp that the driving-wheels grind against the check-rails, now on one side and now on the other. However, at length we are through the Shankend Tunnel, over a thousand feet above sea-level, and emerge into daylight on the slopes of Liddesdale. As we rush down into the wider Eskdale, we pass place after place famous in Border story. Hcre it is Canobie Muir; anon it is Nether- by Hall; but there is no "mounting 'mong Gremes of the Netherby clan," only an old cock-pheasant lazily sunning himself in the line, whose dignity hardly suffers him to move on till the wheels are within a yard of catching him. Another moment and we are speeding across Solway Moss. Ten minutes more, the sun shines fair on Carlisle wall," and our journey is over. The engine moves off to its "stable," to wait till it is time for the return journey, but not a solitary passenger troubles himself so much as to put his head out of the window and cast a look at the steed that has carried him so well.

For all that, the run, 981 miles in just over two hours and a half, or roughly 39 miles an hour with three intermediate stoppages, is not a little remarkable. On the Continent they would label it "express, first class only," if it was xo miles an hour slower across the dead levels of Burgundy or Brabant. What the Gizernin de Fer du Nord authorities, who cannot manage to keep time with their expresses from Paris to Amiens at some 40 miles an hour, would think of hauling over this road the heavy Pullmans of the Midland down Highland express, in 140 minutes without a stop, one really would like to know. Probably
they would think what a nuisance competition was, to force officials to take all this trouble for a public which after all was as discontented as ever.

And now let us get back to Edinburgh in a very different and much more leisurely fashion. In no trade have railways made a greater revolution than in the cattle trade. Great fairs, such as that at Falkirk, held at long intervals, are dying out, and their place is being taken by regular weekly markets in the chief railway centres, such as Edinburgh or Perth. The market-day in Edinburgh is Tuesday, so one Monday night I slept in Berwick in order to come up with a cattle train the following morning. We—the engine and the brake, for there were no cattle—set off from Berwick at 6.45, and climbed up on to the cliffs as the sun was coming out over the North Sea. But in spite of the sun the brakesman and his passenger were not sorry when the fire in the stove began to burn up. At four stations, one after the other, the signal was "off" as a sign that there was nothing for us that morning, so on we ran. After an hour had thus been spent to no purpose, I was forcibly reminded of the story of Napoleon's cutlet. Napoleon's taste was of the simplest; he never wanted anything but a cutlet, but he always expected a cutlet to be ready for him at whatever moment he might happen to want it. The arrangement might be convenient, but was scarcely economical, as not a few cutlets were wasted. And so if our British farmers expect to have a special train run past their doors on market-day, on the chance that they may have a beast or two ready for the butcher, they can hardly expect to get their service as cheap as if they had to give a couple of days' notice of their intention.

At length at Cockburnspath, 21 miles from Berwick, we picked up a couple of trucks, at Innerwick three more, and at Dunbar again three. Then, after drawing two stations blank, at Drem, the junction for North Berwick, we made a great haul, and completed our load with three and twenty trucks all at once; so we had only to wait till the up passenger train had passed us, and then make the best of our way to market; a second special must pick up the stock from the remaining stations. Travelling in a goods brake has, it must be honestly admitted, not many advantages over a first-class carriage, but it has one conspicuous merit. On a passenger train one may be late— indeed, if one is privileged to live on the Chatham and Dover, one not unfrequently is—but one cannot possibly be early. A goods train goes ahead, as soon as it has done its work and the line is clear. On this occasion, thanks to the Drem farmers and their twenty-three trucks, we reached our destination more than half an hour before we were due.

As we approached Niddrie, the junction with the Waverley line, we saw another cattle train coming up from Hawick which ought by rights to have preceded us. But it was too late; we had "got the road," and could not be dislodged from our pride of place. Behind the Hawick train was another, which had started at 5 o'clock from Carlisle, and picked up the traffic from the further side of Hawick. Later on, when we got nearer Haymarket, where the sales are held, we encountered other trains from Fife, and from Greenhill and the north. In all, 130 to 150 truck-loads is no uncommon consignment for a Tuesday morning. Arrived at the cattle dock, the animals were walked out of their trucks almost as easily and quickly as a train-load of passengers, and off into the covered yards of the different salesmen. Hardly arc they out of the trucks, when men with great jets of water from a fire-hose set to work to wash out the trucks, and to cover the floor with layers of fresh sawdust, brought up in truck-loads from the carriage shops at Cowlairs; and then everything is ready for the animals to commence their journey, about o'clock in the afternoon, to whatever great town of England their purchasers may consign them.

There is another though less necessary article of food than meat, which the North British 'deals with in wholesale quantities, and that is mushrooms. It comes about in this wise. The old Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee line, coming up from the Granton and Burntisland ferry, got into Waverley Station by a tunnel under St. Andrew's Square and Princes Street. It was about three-quarters of a mile long, and the gradient was so steep as to necessitate the employment of a stationary engine. Of late years a detour out to the east has avoided the gradient, and the tunnel has been abandoned. For a long while it was simply useless, or rather worse than useless to the Company, for it was alleged that disabled trucks, from the Scotland Street end, where the old station is now used as a coal depot, used to be shunted into the tunnel out of the way, and so lost to sight and forgotten. Two years back an ingenious person conceived the idea of leasing the tunnel and growing mushrooms. The company were not too exacting about terms. Any rent was better than no rent, and moreover they got the carriage of all the materials for forming hot-beds inwards, and all the mushrooms that were grown out again. And what with soil and manure, the grower declares that he uses up a train-load of stuff in a twelvemonth. Even the very spawn comes in, a truck-load at a time.

When I was there, one bitter cold day last March, I found a huge fire of anthracite burning just inside the lower mouth of the tunnel, which was only closed by a wooden screen, movable so as to permit the passage of railway trucks. In this way the chill was taken off the air as it entered. The upper, or Waverley Station, end of the tunnel is built up with brickwork. Throughout the entire length there runs a double line of rails. What used to be the up line is kept clear for use, as the beds have to be removed bodily and renewed about every six months. But between this line and the wall there is a small border carried along throughout, and the place of the down line is occupied by • series of beds running across at right angles. For a hundred yards one walks along a set of beds in full bearing. Then again a second set have just been made, but are still too hot and rank for the spawn to be put into them. A little further one comes upon a gang of men, at work by the light of lanterns in making up a third set. I learnt that, at the time of my visit, the French growers had not yet got their produce into the market, and that the Edinburgh Mushroom Company, Limited, could obtain from the salesmen from is. to 1s. 9d a pound, and even at that price had more orders than they were able to execute.

With this, which is, I cannot but think, one of the strangest developments of railway working, let us leave the beaten highways of Lanarkshire and Midlothian, in order to make a circuit through the less familiar regions of Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.


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