Early 20th century steam engine at Dunbar station

Dunbar Railway Station

This month, we are looking at the railway and the railway station in Dunbar in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The station was opened by the North British Railway in 1846 and this brought new prosperity to the town, in terms of goods and particularly of visitors – new hotels and guest houses opened after the railway station was opened.

Dunbar railway station in the 1920s.

The photo above shows the station in the 1920s. It’s not clear whether this was before or after LNER took over the station in 1923. If you enlarge the photo, you’ll notice the impressive bridge, the stylish lamps and the engine shed at the right hand side. The Society is not sure what the buildings to the left of the main building were used for – waiting rooms maybe? If you know, contact Jim Herring.

Mail catcher in Dunbar in early 20th century

This photo shows the mail catcher near Dunbar station probably in the 1900s or 1910s. There was a mail catcher next to where the fire station now stand and in the background, on the right hand side you can see the farmhouse near the station. You can’t see it nowadays because of the new houses. Being in charge of the mail catcher could be a hazardous job. If you visit this site you can see photos of the catcher, an extract from the film Night Mail (1936) showing the mechanism from inside and outside, and an example of how tragedy could occur with the mail catcher. Fortunately, there are no reports of accidents with the Dunbar mail catcher.

Train crash at Dunbar on 3 Jan 1898

There was a terrible train crash at Dunbar in 1898 when “The 11.30 p.m. East Coast express train from King’s Cross to Edinburgh and the north, on reaching Dunbar, came into collision with some goods waggons, some of which had become derailed while they were being shunted across the down line into the adjacent goods yard.” You can read more details here,another photo here  and another photo here. Only one person was killed with many injured, so it could have been much worse.

Early 20th century steam engine at Dunbar station

The final photo is a magnificent example of a sparklingly clean North British Railway steam locomotive. The men in the photo look like an engineer, a guardsman and a driver. It is not known if any of these men were from Dunbar. If you have any further information on the train or the men, contact Jim Herring.