Situated in the county of Roxburghshire, in the Scottish Borders,
RICCARTON JUNCTION was a railway village and station on the former North British Railway Edinburgh – Carlisle line known as the
There was no road access until 1963 when a forest track / bridle road was constructed from the B6399 road at Whitrope Summit, some three miles away. In its hey day there were as many as 118 residents in the village which had its own school. There was also a Post Office and retail grocery branch of the Hawick Co-operative Society situated latterly in one of the platform buildings.
A branch line ran from Riccarton Junction to Kielder and Hexham until closure on 15 October 1956 when Riccarton ceased to be a “Junction”. In 1963 the “Beeching Report” proposed closure of the “Waverley Route”. During the same year the school was closed and the remaining children travelled by train to school in Newcastleton or Hawick.
When a doctor was needed he would travel from Newcastleton or Hawick by a scheduled passenger train or if the situation was urgent by freight train or pilot engine. If the patient needed hospital treatment they were taken by train to Carlisle where an ambulance would be waiting to transport them to hospital.
Sadly, the “Waverley Route”, including all stations between Edinburgh and Carlisle, was closed on 6th January 1969 thus marking the end of an era for this once busy railway outpost. By this time all residents in the village had moved out and since then all track has been lifted. Most of the buildings and infrastructure have also disappeared and Riccarton Junction has become one of Scotland’s lost villages. Today, all that remains is the “Island” platform, former generator building, the former School Master’s house and school building (now in private ownership) and the roofless shell of the former Station Master’s house. Except for the former School Master’s house and school building, the ground on which the former station and village once stood, including the railway trackbed in the area is now owned by Forestry Commission, Scotland.
During 1997 a voluntary organisation by the name of “Friends of Riccarton Junction” was constituted with the aim of restoring as much of the station as possible. To this end the “Friends” have obtained a long lease on the former generator building, the platform and surrounding area from Forestry Commission, Scotland. Following a great deal of fund raising and with the help of a grant from the former Leader Two project the former generator building has been restored and has become an Interpretive Centre. It is also used as an Administration Office and meeting room for the “Friends”. Again, after a great deal of fundraising and this time with the help of a 50% grant from the Hawick Partnership, major restoration work to the platform was undertaken during 2004. This included laying of track alongside the southbound platform and replacing the former telephone kiosk which once stood on the platform. Further trackwork was planned to take place during 2006 and it was hoped that in the not too distant future enough funding cound be secured to enable the restoration and reinstatement of the northbound platform in its entirety.
Unfortunately, at the 2005 Annual General Meeting of the Friends of Riccarton Junction a number of people whose actions later proved them to be nothing more than FIENDS of Riccarton Junction, were elected as either officers or committee members. As a result the whole restoration project quickly ground to a halt and regretfully, since then no progress has been made. Having failed to make any progress, and, within three months of being elected, certain officers, including the un-elected Treasurer, Derek Brown, took it upon themselves to surrender the fifteen year lease on the Riccarton Junction site, which the Friends had negotiated with the Forestry Commission only two years previous, without even the knowledge of the full committee, let alone the membership.
Consequently, an Extraordinary General Meeting was called for the committee to explain their actions but no mention was made of the intention by the then officers and committee members to wind up the Society at the same meeting. The E.G.M. duly took place on 27 August 2006, at which, the then Chairman, despite having been advised by a number of members prior to that meeting that in accordance with clause 9 of the Friends of Riccarton Junction Constitution, she would have no authority to accept a proposal to wind up the Society, saw fit to ignore the advice given to her and accepted such a proposal which was duly seconded and carried. Such action was in total defiance of the Constitution and rendered the motion as being null and void.
Clause 9 of the Constitution reads thus: DISSOLUTION: If the Management Committee decide by a simple majority at any time, that on the grounds of expense or otherwise, it is necessary or advisable to dissolve the Society, it shall call an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Society, giving at least 21 days notice and the trems of the resolution to be proposed at the meeting. If such a decision is confirmed by a two thirds majority of the votes cast in relation to the resolution at such a meeting, the Management Committee shall sell such assets of the Society as they may consider appropriate, for the best prices reasonably obtainable and settle the debts and liabilities of the Society. Any assets remaining after the satisfaction of such debts and liabilities shall be given or transferred to such other chairitable organisation or organisations having objects similar to the Objects of the Society, as the Management Committee may determine.
Prior to the E.G.M. held on 27 August 2006 a number of officers and committee members had resigned their positions in disgust at the actions of their fellow officers. However, more importantly, at the meeting the remaining officers and committee members resigned their positions and walked away from the society, not only leaving it without any elected officers or committee members, but also with a £5,000.00 debt, something for which they should all hang their heads in shame.
In view of the fact that the decision to dissolve the Society taken at the previous meeting was invalid, and, there being no future for the Society, in accordance with clauses 6 and 9 of the F.O.R.J. Constitution, a futher Extraordinary General Meeting was called by twenty seven members. This meeting took place on Friday 11 April 2008 and, there being no elected officers or committee members, a proposal to wind up the Society into the hands of Trustees who will oversee matters, including the future of all remaining property belonging to F.O.R.J. for the forseeable future, was duly seconded and carried unanimously.