Railly exciting museum exhibit

Brian Scott at Dalkeith Museum with the minature railway model exhibit. He has compiled a book called Early Railways of Dalkeith, containing photographs and sketches of local railway history.
Brian Scott at Dalkeith Museum with the minature railway model exhibit. He has compiled a book called Early Railways of Dalkeith, containing photographs and sketches of local railway history.

A miniaturised model of Dalkeith’s 19th century train station and railways is the latest acquisition on display at Dalkeith Museum.

The ‘N’-gauge layout – buildings, streets, and all – is the brainchild of Brian Scott, secretary of Dalkeith History Society, who has also compiled a 74-page companion book.

Early Railways of Dalkeith carefully explains the history of east Midlothian’s rail network while delving deep into the coal-winning heritage of the area.

“It’s our latest effort to highlight Dalkeith’s amazing history and the artefacts and other material that go with it”, said Norman Brett, chairman of Dalkeith History Society - which runs the museum.

The walk-round historical hub is located in the refurbished Corn Exchange in St Andrew Street. Other rail-related exhibits on show include Dalkeith Station Bell and an illustration of the long-demolished Victoria Viaduct built across the South Esk.

Mr Scott explains in the book how wagons carrying the output of nearby pits would rumble across the bridge headed for Edinburgh’s St Leonards depot, in the shadow of Arthur Seat. From there horse-drawn carts loaded with coal headed out across the city to help keep the home fires of Edinburgh burning.

Hailing the book for the painstaking research, local historian Alan Mason said: “I couldn’t lay it down.

“It’s an absolutely compelling read for anyone interested in learning more about the history of the very special place in our hearts that is reserved for Dalkeith.”