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Coalburn Branch

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Introduction
Local area
Chronology

Locations
Lesmahagow Junction
Motherwell
Airbles
Haughhead Junction
Ross Junction
Ferniegair
Merryton Junction
Larkhall East
Dalserf
Canderside
Stonehouse North Junction
Stonehouse
Stonehouse South Junction
Stonehouse, Cots Castle
Netherburn
Tillietudlem
Southfield Junction
Blackwood
Nethan Viaduct
Auchenheath
Brocketsbrae
Alton Heights
Auchenlochan
Coalburn
Bankend

This site
Caledonian Railway
Clydesdale Junction Railway

Other sites
ScotRail


Coalburn Branch
(Caledonian Railway)

This line is closed except for two short sections;

- part of the Hamilton Circle. This section runs between Motherwell (Lesmahagow Junction) and Ferniegair (Ross Junction).

- the Larkhall Branch. The section from Ross Junction to Merryton has re-opened as the Larkhall Branch.

Survey To be entered
Engineers To be entered
Act 24 July 1851
Contractors To be entered
Opened 1 December 1856
Closed 1968
Spireslack Branch Muirkirk and Lesmahgow Junction Railway Mid Lanark Lines Mid Lanark Lines Mid Lanark Lines Mid Lanark Lines Hamilton Branch Motherwell Deviation Clydesdale Junction Railway Clickable map of the Coalburn Branch

Local area

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This line runs through an area which today is farmed. In the past the area supported many coalmines, which were the reason for the line's construction.

Chronology 

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Description of route 

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From Motherwell (Lesmahagow Junction) to Coalburn (Bankhead Colliery) with branches to Stonehouse, Blackwood and Northfield. The line was gradually doubled as far south as Southfield Junction as traffic increased. The line included two large viaducts; one near Hamilton and the Nethan viaduct. The Nethan viaduct was strengthened by being raised and extra metal pillars inserted between the existing ashlar ones.

Lesmahagow Junction

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This is the north end of the line, a north-west facing junction with the Clydesdale Junction Railway just to the north of Motherwell station.

Motherwell Opened: 1/12/1866 Re-located: 2/10/1876 Closed: 1/1/1917
   
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When Motherwell station was relocated to Lesmahagow Junction new platforms were opened at the station for the branch to Coalburn. These remain open as they are today used by the "Hamilton Circle" trains.

Airbles Opened: 15/5/1989
   
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This is a new two platform on the "Hamilton Circle". The station is also known as "Airbles Road".

Haughhead Junction

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This was a north east facing junction where an extension of the Hamilton Branch met the line. Between this junction and Ross Junction was located the extensive Ross Yard which was mostly associated with the coal traffic generated by the line to Coalburn.

From here to Motherwell the line remains open as part of the "Hamilton Circle". South from here to Coalburn the line is closed.

Ross Junction

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This was a south facing junction where an extension of the Hamilton Branch met the line. Between this junction and Haughhed Junction was located the extensive Ross Yard which was mostly associated with the coal traffic generated by the line to Coalburn.

Chatleherault Opened as Ferniegair: 1/12/1866 Re-located: 2/10/1876 Closed: 1/1/1917 Re-opened as Chatelherault: 12/2005
   
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The first station at Ferniegair was a terminus. Oddly this was a terminus for services from the south - passengers would continue their journey to Glasgow by bus to Hamilton station (now Hamilton West). The station was located to the north west of the road overbridge over the line (bridge demolished 2005 - the station was to the south west of the new roadbridge over the line).

This station was re-located when the new line from the Hamilton Branch to meet the line was opened. Nothing remains of either station save a nearby road overbridge (bridge demolished 2005 - the station was to the south of the new Chatleherault station). The Allanton colliery was located nearby and a village of this name remains here.

With the re-opening of the Larkhall Branch a new station, called Chatelherault, has opened here. A station at this site could have been called Chatelherault, Ferniegair or Allanton.

Merryton Junction

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This was a north facing junction between the Mid-Lanark Lines line to Larkhall Central and the older line to Coalburn. The formation of the junction is still clear - and in fact was cleared of rubbish in 2000.

Larkhall East Opened: 1/12/1866 as Larkhall Re-named: 1/6/1906 as Larkhall East Closed: 1/1941 Re-opened: 7/1945 Closed: 10/9/1951
   
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The site of this station is now in use as a yard an industrial premises. The former goods shed remains standing.

Dalserf  Opened: 1/12/1866 as Ayr Road Re-named: 1/7/1903 as Dalserf Closed: 1/1941 Re-opened: 5/1945 Closed: 1/10/1951
   
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This was a two platform station which was originally called Ayr Road. To the south of the station was a north facing junction between the line to Coalburn and the branch to Stonehouse. Also to the south of, and by, the station was Cornsilloch colliery. The station building still stands.

Canderside

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This was a set of sidings on the Dalserf to Stonehouse line. These were exchange sidings with a colliery. A number of mines were opened in the colliery and the line serving the mines altered as these opened and closed. Just to the south the line crossed a river on a viaduct, now demolished. The site of the sidings has been landscaped by farming.

Stonehouse North Junction

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This was a south facing junction just to the north of the second Stonehouse station. Here the original line from Dalsef was met by the newer Mid-Lanark Lines.

Stonehouse Opened: 1/7/1905 Closed: 4/10/1965
   
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Stonehouse was a new station opened when the Mid-Lanark Lines opened and replaced the older station which became known as Cots Castle. The new station had two island platforms. It was located to the west of the town to the north of the where the Mid-Lanark Lines branch to Blackwood and on to Lesmahgow ran from a north facing junction. The site of the station and formation of the line is now used by a new bypass road.

Stonehouse South Junction

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This was intended to be a south facing junction between the original line from Dalserf to Cots Castle and the new Mid-Lanark Lines approaching from Blackwood. The junction was never opened, although the earthworks were prepared and lines were laid, the points not being laid in.

Stonehouse, Cots Castle Opened: 1/12/1866 Closed: 1/7/1905
   
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This was the first Stonehouse station, a little to the south of the village, and the terminus of the branch from Dalserf. The line was later extended south and west to Strathaven by the Mid-Lanark Lines and upon the opening of the new line the old station closed replaced by another actually in Stonehouse. The site has been partly landscaped but the site is a flattened area immediately above a shallow valley. The divergence of the extension is quite obvious as it had to cross a road.

Netherburn Opened: 1/12/1866 as Bents Re-named: 1/5/1868 as Netherburn Closed: 1/1941 Re-opened: 5/1945 Closed: 1/10/1951
   
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The site has been landscaped and a number of houses have been built on it. A bridge over the former railway remains intact. The station was originally called Bents which is the name of a small village just to the west.

Tillietudlem Opened: 1/10/1876 Closed: 1/1941 Re-opened: 5/1945 Closed: 1/10/1951
   
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This station was located just to the north of Southfield Junction and to the west of Craignethan Castle. The station had two platforms, both of which remain intact. The platforms are pretty long and a small ruined station building remains on the southbound platform.

Southfield Junction

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This was the junction between the main line to Coalburn and the branch for Blackwood. The junction faced north. Before the opening of Tillietudlem station a slip coach was dropped here. The junction trackbed remains, grassed over, but under threat from new house building. (The entry for the Nethan Viaduct has a photograph which shows the junction.)

Blackwood (Old) Opened: 1/12/1866 Closed: 1/7/1905
   
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This station was the passenger terminus on a branch which ran from Southfield Junction south west to Blackwood. The station was replaced by a new one on the Mid-Lanark Lines) The original line continued past the station as a freight line to serve quarries.

The arrangement after opening of the Mid-Lanark Lines was that the new lines approached from the north west, met the older line (slightly to the north of the terminus) at a south facing junction and then departed again at a north facing junction running south east and to a new Blackwood station.

The station was used to store redundant coaches after closure. The site of the station is a playing field.

Nethan Viaduct

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This was an impressive viaduct which crossed a river at great height. The pounding of the heavy coal trains weakened the bridge and it was re-built at a great height with metal piers inserted between the ashlar ones.

Today the viaduct has been demolished, but the stone piers still stand, with the notches for the original timber decking still obvious.

A short line branched off from a north facing junction at the south end of the bridge. The ran north east before turning south and serving a colliery. The formation by the viaduct is still obvious.

Auchenheath Opened: 1/12/1866 Closed: 1/1941 Re-opened: 5/1945 Closed: 1/10/1951
   
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This was a two platform station. The passenger station was to the north of a level crossing and goods station to the south. Today the station building is a house and bits of platform remain at the north end.

Brocketsbrae Opened: 1/12/1866 as Brocketsbrae Re-named: 1/6/1869 as Lesmahagow Re-named: Brocketsbrae: 1/6/1905 Closed: 1/1941 Re-opened: 5/1945 Closed: 1/10/1951
   
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This was the original passenger terminus of the line. There was a locomotive shed here until the passenger service was extended south to Coalburn. The station had a single platform, a short section of which remains, and had a level crossing immediately to the north of it.

Alton Heights Opened: 01/1893 pre Closed: 1926 post
   
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This was the site of both a double junction and a short lived station. From the north the Mid-Lanark Lines, coming south from Lesmahagow, joined at a south facing junction. From the south, by Douglas, the Muirkirk and Lesmahgow  Junction Railway met at a north facing junction. Trains from Lesmahagow could run south to Douglas.

The site, also known as Auldton Heights, is still intact though trackless. There were water columns by the line here for locomotives.

Auchlochan Opened: 1907 Closed: 4/10/1965
   
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This halt was opened beside the Auchlochan colliery. Today the large bing from the mine remains. The line of the railway and site of the sidings for the mine is somewhat damp ...

Coalburn Opened: 1/11/1891 Closed: 4/10/1965
   
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This was the public passenger terminus of the line. The station had a single platform. For locomotives to run around their stock, before the return journey, they had to continue south, across a level crossing hard by the station, to Bankend where there was a passing loop. The alignment of the line is still obvious but the platform has been removed. A level crossing gate remains.

Bankend Closed: 7/1926 post
   
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The line terminated at Bankend Colliery. Here there was a workers platform. The line was extended from an end on by the Spireslack line to Muirkirk. The extension could not be opened as a through route as the Glasgow and South Western Railway were going to seek, and may have been awarded, running powers on the line and on to Lanark. Instead the line was opened to mines to the north of Glenbuck.

Since closure of the line the area around Bankend has become an opencast coalmine.


Page created on 19/01/1998
Page last edited on: 07/08/2011
Contact: Ewan Crawford