Leadhills and Wanlockhead Branch
A portion of this closed standard gauge
railway has been reopened as a narrow gauge tourist line. The line reached
the highest point of any standard gauge railway in Britain and was built
as a light railway. Construction involved use of mass concrete in viaducts.
This line was built from Elvanfoot into the
Lowther hills to two small mining settlements. The area was known for its lead
mines, but silver and gold were also extracted here. Mining in the district
long pre-dates railways. Traditionally lead went overland to the port at Leith,
however the arrival of the railways in the area reduced this flow.
By Leadhills there were to the south the Wilson
and Glengonnar pits, to the east an area where gold had been found, to the north
the Wembley pit and the Susannah and Humby veins, and slightly further north
smelters at Waterhead where the adits which drained the mining emptied into
the Glengonnar Water. Tramways were used in the Leadhills mines.
To the west of Wanlockhead were the Bay mine
(named for the Botany Bay colony) and Glencrieff mine. An surface tramway ran
from Meadowfoot to Wanlockhead which pre-dated the railway. Originally it only
ran as far as the town, but later it may have been modified to run to near the
William Symington grew up in Wanlockhead and
two of his engines were used; one at Bay and one at Humby.
Description of route
From Elvanfoot to Wanlockhead.
This station is now closed, however the main
line of the Caledonian
Railway remains open between Glasgow and Carlisle. The junction between
the Wanlockhead line and the main line faced south. Nearby a concrete viaduct
still stands - this viaduct is due for demolition (some time after Dec 2005)
so if you haven't seen it go and see it!
Elvan Water Viaduct
By Toddle Moss a two arch viaduct crossed the Elvan Water. This was demolished in 2006.
Rispin Cleugh Viaduct
This high viaduct was demolished in the 1980s.
This shed was about a third of a mile north of Leadhills.
This station was closed with the rest of the
line in 1938. A narrow-guage railway (2 foot) now runs from Leadhills to short
of Wanlockhead by the former Glengonnar mine. The photograph on the left shows
the replacement station (on the same site as the original) and looks towards
Elvanfoot. The photograph on the right shows the view towards Wanlockhead. Signalling
has been installed at the station since the photographs were taken.
This station is the southern terminus of the narrow gauge
line and was not a station on the original line, although a mine of the same name existed nearby.
The original railway was closed in 1938 and
the station site is now bare except for the remains of a colliery winding house.
The new line has not yet reached here from Leadhills. The photograph shows the
view looking towards Leadhills from the station site. A Tramway ran west from
here in connection with the railway.
Page created on 11/03/1997
Page last edited on: 17/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford