Two railways used to run through Carham parish: the Kelso branch of the York, Newcastle & Berwick railway, and the Alnwick & Cornhill railway. Both lines were closed in 1965, but most of the railway buildings and some of the infrastructure remain. All of the buildings are privately owned, but can be seen from the public road.
The courses of the old railway lines are all on private land but the section of the Kelso branch from West Learmouth to Cornhill on Tweed is a public footpath, as is the section of the Alnwick and Cornhill line from the parish boundary at East Learmouth to Cornhill.
York, Newcastle & Berwick Railway
This line opened in 1849 and originally ran from Tweedmouth to Sprouston, via Cornhill. It was connected to Kelso in 1851.
Building the line is said to have been slow because four viaducts had to be constructed.
Two of these impressive viaducts are in Carham parish, at West Learmouth. They are over 18m in height and of rock-faced stone with brick soffits to the arches; the pattern of the soffits is the same as those on the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick. Both of these viaducts are Grade II listed.
The station at Sunilaws may have been by architect Benjamin Green who designed a number of station buildings for the York, Newcastle & Berwick railway, as well as a large number of public buildings and monuments in Newcastle and Northumberland. The station at Sunilaws was known as Wark station when it opened in 1849 but was renamed in 1871.
Carham station was not in Carham village but a couple of hundred metres over the border in Scotland.
North Eastern Railway
Alnwick & Cornhill line
The Alnwick & Cornhill railway line was opened in 1887. The stations along the line were designed by the railway company’s architect, William Bell, and have been described as some of the finest country stations built anywhere in Britain.
The station building, which incorporates the station-master’s house, the railway cottages and the goods shed at Mindrum Station are typical of the buildings that were constructed along the line that connected Cornhill to Alnwick. The station building has half-hipped dormers, cross gables, and wrought-iron finials.
There is a railway crossing cottage nearby, at The Hagg.
Only one pair of railway abutments remains in the parish, at East Learmouth. The abutments exemplify the quality of workmanship that was put into the Alnwick & Cornhill line when it was built; they are still standing and in fair condition, even after 130 years.