(Photo 8 © Simon Ledingham)
The former Waverley route boasts a number of attractive viaducts. Thistle isn't one of them - it's decidedly unpretentious but should not be overlooked.
Today, half of it still stands 600 yards north of Scotch Dyke's old station, comprising the five plate girder spans that used to carry the Down (northbound) line. The Up line deck and ironwork were removed some time after the railway's controversial closure in 1969.
Forming part of the 'Netherby' construction contract - a four-and-a-half mile section from Longtown to Riddings, Thistle Viaduct cost the life of 20-year-old Thomas Cudicot who was crushed when one of the girders fell on him.
The route south from Scotch Dyke opened in October1861 but it was not until March 1862 that the first train travelled over the structure. Southbound services climbed a rising gradient of 1:200 as they crossed its spans which stand on four masonry piers, all of which get their feet wet in the winter months. The abutments are also in stone.