Yesterday, while strolling around the attractive town of Melrose, I stumbled upon a railway oddity that immediately intrigued me. Having visited this historic community in the Scottish Borders on several occasions, I’m well acquainted with the Melrose railway station which, though disused, is partially preserved alongside the A6091 road. (The elegant Victorian station building is now an Italian restaurant.) But this oddity wasn’t associated with the old station, which was built in 1849 by the North British Railway and remained in use until January 1969. Rather, it lay across town in Buccleuch Street, and featured a disused railway track – curiously sunk into the concrete floor of a narrow close, or passageway, running from front to rear of a restaurant building.
The building in question, which stands opposite the Melrose post office, houses the award-winning Marmions Brasserie. The ‘close’ runs down the right side of the building at ground level, connecting Buccleuch Street to a small courtyard at the back of the brasserie.
The mysterious narrow gauge railway is almost as wide as the passageway itself. Its purpose is unclear, though it was presumably installed when (or after) the structure now housing Marmions Brasserie was first built. The rusted steel tracks indicate an old tram or wagonway (like the one at Harewood House) that may once have been used to carry goods from their roadside drop-off to the storage yard beyond.
We’re unsure whether, at one time, the rails extended further than the length of the close, but perhaps you can shed some light on this intriguing wagonway track? If so, please drop us a comment below.
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