Ayr and Dalmellington Railway
This line is open for freight between
Dalrymple Junction and Chalmerston near Dalmellington. A section was recently
opened from Holehouse junction to the Broomhill Opencast site, but is
presently seeing little use. The line also includes the section from Falkland
Junction in the north of Ayr through the new Ayr station to Dalrymple
Junction, still in use for passengers and freight for Stranraer.
'Pug' at the Burnton washery.
This line runs through southern Ayrshire uphill
past former coalmines to the former ironworks at Waterside and on to Dalmellington.
The climb was severe for trains in the days of steam.
Description of route
From Dalmellington to Ayr. The line is electrified
from Falkland Junction to Townhill depot immediately south of Ayr station. The
line is single track from Falkland Junction to Dalrymple Junction and single
track from there to Waterside and on to Chalmerston. There was a single track
branch from Holehouse Junction to Belston Junction was reinstated and re-opened
from Holehouse Junction to Broomhill in 1998, but now appears out of use.
This is a north facing junction with the Glasgow,
Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway. To the south of the junction and to
the west (and lesser extent east) of the main line is Falkland Yard which is
kept busy with local coal trains in connection with the opencast mines and Ayr
harbour. The yard leads to lines to both Newton Junction and Ayr Harbour.
Newton on Ayr
This is a two platform station in the north
of Ayr. It is served by every alternate service between Glasgow and Ayr.
This is a 'double' junction immediately to
the south of Newton station. Immediately south of the station lines from the
harbour (to the west) join the main line at a south facing junction. Slightly
further south the line passes under a roadbridge (where there was the very high
Newton Junction signalbox removed during the signaling associated with electrification).
On the other side of the roadbridge is the north facing junction with the Ayr
to Mauchline Branch which runs east from here. This line also has a connection
to the Ayr Motive Power Depot.
This was a steam shed. The depot is enclosed
between the junctions at Newton Junction, Hawkhill Junction and the former Blackston
Junction. These junction form a triangle around the shed which were used for
turning engines. Lines from the shed join at Newton Junction and Hawkhill Junction.
The original shed was designed by the engineer of the line, Mr Galloway.
The depot is still open and maintains DMUs
This is a south facing junction for Ayr Motive
Power Depot and formerly the Ayr
to Mauchline Branch.
Today this is the main station in Ayr, and
has been since 1857 when service from Glasgow to Ayr were relocated to this
station. The station has a partial glass-roof (partly cur back), bay platforms
at the north end for services to Glasgow and two through platforms. To the north
of the station the line crosses the River Ayr. The station is also known as
Ayr (New) or Ayr Townhead.
Townhead EMU Sidings
The line is electrified to by these sidings
which are used for EMU storage and maintenance. The sidings are approached from
the north into a reversing spur which which the trains reverse into sidings.
There were sidings here before the sidings were used for EMU maintenance.
This was a north facing junction. The Maidens
and Dunure Railway joined the main line from the west.
Ailsa Mental Hospital
There was a branch from near Alloway Junction
to the Aila Mental Hospital, to the east of the main line. The junction with
the main line faced north.
This is a north facing junction with the Ayr
and Maybole Railway. Before extension of the Maybole line south to Girvan
there was a station here called Maybole Junction.
This fine viaduct is immediately to the west
of the former Potterston Junction, by Hollybush.
From here a line ran, from an east facing junction,
north east past Martnaham Loch to the Sundrum Colliery at Coylton. The line
The line passed through Coylton with a level
crossing to run north to the Sundrum Colliery. The line ran to the Water of
Coyle, nearly to the south bank while the Ayr
to Mauchline Branch was on its north bank at Trabboch. The line is closed.
This was a single platform station. The building
is now a house.
This was south facing junction with an exchange
platform in the 'v' of the junction. The signalbox was to the south of the station
mounted at the top of a deep cutting which is subject to snowdrifts in winter.
From here a branch of the line ran east to Belston Junction. This section was
closed and lifted in the 1960s, but re-laid as far as Broomhill (an opencast
mine site) in 1998. This section has fallen out of use again and has been lifted.
There was a tramroad line from just to the
south of here (junction faced north) to one of the ironstone mines on Bow Hill.
This was a loading pad for the Broomhill Opencast
Mine to the east of Holehouse. This short branch from Holehouse re-opened in
1998 but has fallen out of use again.
This was a station. The embankment of the line
here and bridge over the B730 has been removed. There is a farm by the former
station of the same name.
This colliery was approached from a west facing
junction. The section from Littlemill Colliery to Holehouse was closed in the
1960s leaving the colliery to be approached via Annbank, Drongan, a reversal
at Belston Junction and another reversal to enter the colliery. The colliery
and lines are closed.
This site of this station is now a carpark.
To the east of its site is a viaduct. A coal washery existed here, probably
to the south of the station on a branch whose junction with the main line faced
This colliery is closed. It was served by a
line from a west facing junction. The colliery was connected to another at Greenhill
by an aerial railway.
This was an east facing junction with the Ayr
to Mauchline Branch.
This station had a single platform. It was
relocated from a site slightly further north.
At Drumgrange there was an incline from the
low level Ayr and Dalmellington Railway up the hill to Drumgrange where there
was a winding house. This originally ran directly off the public railway. It
was later re-aligned and doubled and ran from the Dalmellington Ironworks' own
internal railway system. There incline can still be clearly seen and te brick
supports for the winding drum still stand at the top of the incline. along with
the humps. Nearby are the laid low remains of the hilltop villages, most associated
with the former iron ore mines which were at the high level in this area.
The station still stands, unused.
To the south of Waterside station was the former
Dalmellington Ironworks established by the Houldsworths of the Coltness Ironworks.
The location of the works is also known as Dunaskin or Barbeth. There was an
extensive private railway system which connected the ironworks to various coalmines
at both a higher level, and via an inclined plane, a very much higher level.
There were mining villages (Burnfoothill, Lethanhill
and Benquhat) established in the hills which have now all but gone. The site
of the ironworks is now a museum. The ironworks was bankrupted by the working
out of local Iron Ore mines and a series of coal mine strikes. The working of
imported Iron Ore from Ayr to Waterside was difficult due to the steep uphill
gradient. The works, in the hands of William Baird and Co. were closed and the
area given over to mining.
To the south of the former ironworks was the
substantial Burnton washer for coal, this was connected by the private railway
system to coalmines. A line ran south to Minnivey (still open this far), Chalmerston,
Pennyvenie and Beoch. Another ran north to Dalharco Pit (by Patna) and Houldsworth
Mine (above Polnessan). There was a link from Waterside (at a south facing junction)
to the high level system (at a north facing junction by Burnfoothill). This
link was an inclined plane. The higher level system ran from mines at Kerse
(Bow Hill ironstone mines), in the north to Burnfoothill, Lethanhill, Benquhat
and Craigmark. Much of the system was at high level and could be blocked by
snow in the winter, this would lead to temporary closure of the mines until
the snow was cleared.
The early version of the incline (1860s) and
upper works line originally followed a slightly different route, starting from
the west side of Waterside station and running up, via a pit to Lethanhill.
Another tramway, following the course of the burn uphill from nearby Drumgrange,
met the incline half way up. Just south of Lethanhill the line split with one
part running north to Polnessan burn and the other part running briefly north,
crossing over the north branch before running east to Lethanhill. At Lethanhill
there were two southwards branches to pits. The incline route was later relaid
and Burnfoothill junction remodelled.
The lines were worked by steam engines ('pugs')
until closure of the mines in the 1970s. An
opencast site has opened at Chalmerston.
The line from Waterside to Minnvey remains
intact to serve an opencast site, called Chalmerston where there is a loading
pad. Minnvey is the site of the Scottish
Industrial Railway Centre which has it's own single platform station and
collection of engines and wagons.
The line from Waterside to Dalmellington is
closed and lifted. The station site (a single platform with run-around loop)
has been redeveloped at an industrial estate. There was a two road locomotive
The Government funded a School of Aerial Gunnery
which was established at Loch Doon to the south of Dalmellngton. This had its
own railway and rail mounted targets. The site was abandoned before being brought
into use due to unfavourable wind conditions, this was a scandal at the time
due to the expense of the works.
Page last edited on 11/03/1997
Page last edited on: 07/08/2011
Contact: Ewan Crawford