Riccarton Junction

This weekend I went up Roxburghshire to see nothing. Once there had been something, but now there is nothing. The place in question, Riccarton Junction, was a thriving railway village, where the County Line from Hexham and NBR’s Waverley Route between Edinburgh and Carlisle met. Over a hundred people populated the village and it sustained its own school, which, along with the teacher’s and station master’s house, is one of the few structures to have survived. When it opened in July 1862, the railway was the only way in and out, there being no road for a century. When it closed in January 1969, there was a track-like road, but no-one to travel it. Many protests were organised ahead of the closure; the train carrying Dr David Steel MP was held up by locals in a bid to halt the route’s demise; the local Kirk minister was even arrested for obstructing the track. Sadly, it was all to no avail. British Rail got its way and Dr Beeching’s axe finally fell. The cries of children from the school and the chuffing of steam engines are heard no more; only dedicated rail enthusiasts and intrepid walkers dare disturb the undergrowth covering this once thriving settlement. Many lament the passing of the great age of rail, a wonderfully democratic mode of transport, the loss of which we now regret while we cough out the diesel fumes from our jammed commutes and gridlocked roads.

In Isaiah 24, the prophet sees the future desolation of the land:

Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.

Of course, he views ancient Judah rather than a Scots Border village a generation back. Yet those Victorian engineers did not envisage a time when their tracks would be ripped up and their stations dismantled because a future generation had thought better of it. Likewise, our own civilisation and way of life will not tick over forever. The great God of heaven has decreed that its days are numbered:

Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. Ps 96:13


Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:31

It is time to stop fretting about new carpets and decorating the spare room. All such will be burned up in the heat of His coming. It is time to get right with God. 

Just a handful of structures standing

Where the two lines met