Bannockburn Railway Station

Article researched and written by David Brown - Web team member
Pictures from the John Dreczkowski collection
Published 16th April 2009

Bygone Years

As early as 1836 proposals were in place for a railway line joining Stirling to the main Edinburgh to Glasgow line. One such proposal came from John Geddes, Mining and Civil Engineer which would have had the line leaving Stirling continuing through Millhall to the area of Hartsmailing farm where a branch would have left for Bannockburn to serve the pit at Greenyards near where the station was eventually built. The main line would have continued through Fallin and Dunmore Moss before turning South through Stenhousemuir and Larbert before joining the main line near the Forth and Clyde Canal at lock 16.

Other proposals involved taking a branch from the line as we now know it following the Bannock burn through the park to the Haugh thus serving the Mill trade.
The Scottish Central Railway was engineered by Joseph Locke and John Errington and opened the line between Castlecary to Perth in March 1848 enabling a connection to Glasgow. The connection to Perth was completed in May of that year. Bannockburn Station was opened in 1852.

Bannockburn Railway Station

The Scottish Central Railway Amalgamated with the Caledonian Railway in 1865 which together with other railway companies linked Aberdeen to London. The first train fares were affordable only to the well off. Edinburgh to Glasgow 1st class would cost 8/- (40p) and a 3rd class ticket 4/- (20p) a skilled mill worker at this time could only hope to earn less than a pound a week and an unskilled worker half as much. Eventually however fares decreased and wages increased taking rail travel into at least the occasional reach of the working classes.

Map of Bannockburn Railway Station

As this 1896 map shows Bannockburn was more than just a rural halt, it had a siding serving Greenyards colliery and its own goods shed, a separate goods platform with a gantry crane to transfer freight on to carts or motor transport. The station buildings consisted of the station manager's house, booking office, waiting room, refreshments shop a small wooden shelter on the south side and a signal box.

Typical engines running through Bannockburn in the early years of the Scottish Central would have looked like this passenger express, built in 1847 by Charles Tayleur & Co of Vulcan Foundry Newton Le Willows, Lancashire.

From 1865 to 1923 The Caledonian Railway operated the station with its own distinctive colour scheme as seen on this picture of an express train leaving Stirling headed north.

Bannockburn Stations' remote location to the village was always a problem with access down the Station Road and through this bridge (replaced with a concrete one in the 1980's when the new road was built) or via a foot path from Stein Square which also emerged near this bridge. Skeoch Bridge

Bannockburn Railway Station Platform Bannockburn Station is a typical stone built main line building of the S.C.R. Similarities exist with the buildings still in place at Larbert and Stirling although the later was rebuilt by the Caledonian Railway in 1913. Bannockburn may also have been rebuilt around the same time, it was certainly extended and modified throughout the years and the north platform was extended by 30ft in 1870.

The Station won many awards for its well kept Gardens and many rhododendron bushes still grow wild on the site as a legacy of this. On the slope on the village side of the railway was a large floral picture of Robert the Bruce and Henry De Bohun encircled with the letters "Scot's Wha Hae", the shape of this could still be seen in the late 1980's Bannockburn Station Platform

Pictured here are Elizabeth Forsyth and her Brother Archie. After nearly 100 years use Bannockburn Station fell victim to Dr Beeching's cuts and closed to passengers in January 1950. It continued being used for freight until 1955 and the buildings were demolished in 1960. All that remains are remnants of a platform, possibly the goods platform. Pictured here are Elizabeth Forsyth and her Brother Archie.

The Stirling Journal reported on a few accidents at the station over the years, here are a few:

10th October 1851 (the year before the station was officially opened)

FATAL RAILWAY ACCIDENT

A 62 year old man travelling from Airdrie had a terminal accident while at Bannockburn Station. On leaving the carriage on Saturday night he overbalanced, missed his step, fell and severely injured his foot. He was conveyed to Stirling Station where Professor Simpson (An Edinburgh pioneer in the use of anaesthesia for surgery and childbirth) happened to be present with some other medical gentlemen including DR's Johnstone, Moodie and Forest. The limb was amputated above the knee.

12th January 1855

ACCIDENT ON THE SCOTTISH CENTRAL RAILWAY

Yesterday morning a serious accident occurred on this line at Bannockburn Station. A Scottish Central goods train was uncoupling some trucks at the station, when it was run into with a fearful crash by another goods train proceeding to Stirling. The damage done was very great - the engine of the second train being smashed to pieces, and a number of trucks broken to splinters, and their contents strewed about the line. We understand that the second train arrived at Larbert station about five minutes after the other had departed, and the driver although warned of the danger, determined to proceed, and the collision was the consequence. The morning was very foggy, and the guards engaged in uncoupling the trucks did not see the other train coming up till it was within fifty or sixty yards. We understand the whole matter is being investigated.

9th March 1855

OVERTURNING OF A GOODS TRAIN AT BANNOCKBURN STATION

A goods train was accidentally overturned at Bannockburn Station about ten o'clock on the morning of Friday last, the engine-tender and wagons being thrown in a confused state on both lines of rails. We regret to learn that the engine driver named Penman having been along with the stoker, thrown suddenly and violently from the engine, sustained such severe fractures of the skull that no hopes were held out of his recovery. The stoker escaped with a few bruises. Through the activity of Mr Ash, station master at Stirling, measures were immediately taken to remove the impediments from the line and by the afternoon, the ordinary traffic was resumed.
3rd May 1878

RAILWAY ACCIDENT

Between Friday night and Saturday morning there was an accident on the Caledonian Railway near Bannockburn station that led to a fatality. Three wagons from a goods train leaving Greenock at 7pm Friday night derailed near the spot where the railway crosses the Bannock burn. They were dragged for some distance breaking a number of rail chairs before toppling from the down line thus blocking the up line. Both lines were then blocked till 4am on Saturday morning.
Surfaceman Thomas Welsh from Bannockburn, while walking to work over the scene of the accident was struck in the back by a train going south and killed. Welsh only expected oncoming trains as he walked up the line but due to the earlier accident traffic was going in both directions on one line. The driver of the train whistle engaged the brakes and reverse but Welsh never looked back. He left a widow and three children.

6th February 1930

RAILWAY COLLISION

Goods train collides with passenger train
At 7:20 pm on Friday evening a collision occurred at Bannockburn Station between a passenger train from Larbert to Dunblane and a light engine from Polmaise sidings. The light engine from Polmaise was on the same line as the passenger train with no one on board which was waiting at the station. The Driver of the light engine, R Hamilton, fireman A McMillan, Guards from both trains George Diamond and Thomas Irvine all from St Rolox depot were lightly injured. The driver of the passenger train Harry Brisbane and his fireman both from Stirling escaped with bruises.
The driver of the passenger train while looking for a signal spotted the lights of an oncoming train, he released the brakes thereby minimising the impact but did not have time to reverse. Both engines were derailed.

Present Day

View from the approach to the station. The white tube in the foreground indicates the position of a gate while the post in the background is in line with where the station buildings would have started. A footbridge would have crossed the line approximately to the right of the three dark tree trunks.

This picture is taken from the goods yard looking back toward the approach road. The remains of the goods platform is on the left and the station buildings were beyond that. The whole area is strewn with rubble probably from the demolished buildings and fly tippers. Were this to be cleared it would provide numerous spaces for a park and ride facility if the station were ever reopened.

This is a view from the South side of the line on the banking above where the signal box would have stood looking across to the station yard. You can see the old goods platform from here which was sited back from the main line to allow a small siding to terminate and wagons to unload.

The Future

Bannockburn to get rail station

Stirling Observer: December 12th 2008 by Iain Howie

BANNOCKBURN is to get a new railway station in the 10-year plan of transport improvements outlined by the Scottish Government this week.
Major proposals for the rail network include electrification and a new park-and-ride station at Bannockburn. A park-and-ride scheme for Bannockburn has been mooted for several years, providing an extra railway station for residents who need to travel into Stirling for services.
But the proposal in the Strategic Transport Projects Review is also aimed at commuters to Glasgow and Edinburgh, encouraging them to leave their cars behind..It will also have benefits for residents of Cowie, Bannockburn, Plean and the proposed supervillage, who currently have to travel to Stirling or Larbert for train services.

A glance at Stirling council's webpage indicates the field in this picture (Skeoch farm is pictured on the opposite side of the tracks) as a site reserved for the new station.

An alternative would be to use the original site which when cleared would provide ample parking with no major earthwork necessary.
This in conjunction with the use of the field pictured here for a park and ride facility.
This is the field directly above the old station, the trees on the horizon indicate the new road and the bus garage is just off picture to the left. The station could be accessed from here via a ramp and footbridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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