A History of Britain’s Railways

Mid-Lanark Lines

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Mid-Lanark Lines
(Caledonian Railway)

This line is closed. The line (actually a series of short connecting lines) was built by the Caledonian Railway who wished to improve their lines in the Larkhall and Lesmahagow area. The original lines in this area were built to carry coal and the passenger stations were inconveniently located, this new line connected together the most important towns and lines and provided an improved service to passengers.

The section of line between Merryton Junction and Larkhall Central has re-opened as the electrified Larkhall Branch.

Survey To be entered
Engineers To be entered
Act To be entered
Contractors To be entered
Opened 1896 to 1905
Closed Yes, but partially re-opened 12/2005
Clickable map of the Mid-Lanark Lines.

Local area 


These lines run through what is today farmed countryside. There was heavy mining in this area which was the reason for the first railways nearby. This scheme was built to connect up the major towns and provide a useful through service.



Description of route


This single track railway ran from;

- Merryton Junction, through Larkhall Central to Stonehouse
- Cots Castle to Strathaven
- Stonehouse to Blackwood
- Blackwood through Lesmahagow to Alton Heights

These lines joined up pre-existing branches of the Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway) to provide a through route which encompassed most of the towns in the area. These were poorly served, or even bypassed, by the older line.

Merryton Junction


This was a north facing junction with the Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway) (See this line for photographs of the junction).



This is a new station on the re-opened line between Hamilton and Larkhall. The station has a single platform. There was no station here originally and this one is here because of the nearby housing development.

Larkhall Central


This two platform station had a passing loop, there were buildings on the generous platforms connected by a covered walkway, a building at street level (the station was in a cutting), and a goods yard to the south and east side of the line. The building at street level bore some resemblance to the remaining original entrance building at the new Gleneagles station, now used as a house. The signalbox sat snugly under the north end of the footbridge. Originally a timber walkway came to the southbound platform from the south end, but by closure this had long gone.

The station has been re-opened. Before re-opening the original platforms remained intact and there was a plan to re-use these. This did not work out and two new straight platforms replace the original ones which were slightly closer to each other and on a curve. Part of the goods yard's platform remained intact to the south of the station and east side of the former line. The goods yard was approached from the south. This is now the station carpark.

Broomhill Viaduct


Note: Keep off! This viaduct is dangerous, fenced off, not maintained and has no side protection.

To the south of Larkhall station is a substantial viaduct which has amazingly survived. The viaduct is known as the Broomhill viaduct, the Avon viaduct or the Larkhall viaduct. The viaduct will not be involved in the re-opening scheme. The line crossed the River Avon here.

The viaduct was the highest railway viaduct in Scotland at 174 feet. It has six stone piers. The bridge was built by William Arrol and Company.

Stonehouse Viaduct


This viaduct was the longest viaduct in Scotland at 457 yards and also crossed the River Avon. This was also a high viaduct at 158 feet. The piers of the viaduct remain standing but the steelwork has been removed.

Stonehouse North Junction


To the north east of Stonehouse the original Stonehouse Branch of the Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway) from Dalserf and Canderside to Stonehouse was met, at a south-west facing junction, by the Mid-Lanark Lines. The formation of the Mid-Lanark Lines can be followed to this location, although the original railway here has been replaced by a broad new road built in 1993 and bypassing the narrow roads of Stonehouse.

Stonehouse (New) 


Although strictly speaking this station was built on the Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway) it was built as part of the Mid-Lanark Lines scheme and is included here. It replaced the original Stonehouse station, further west, at Cots Castle. The station had two island platforms. There were signalboxes at either end of the platforms and a goods yard to the east of the site, approached from the south.

Sadly the site is now a bypass road. To the immediate south of the station the Mid-Lanark Lines branch to Blackwood left a north-east facing junction, this route is followed by the bypass road leaving the trackbed running to Strathaven intact.

Stonehouse South Junction


This junction was never laid in between this Mid-Lanark Lines spur and the Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway), although track was laid from this south-west facing junction to Stonehouse East Junction on the Mid-Lanark line to Blackwood. The junction was not laid in to prevent the Glasgow and South Western Railway from gaining running powers over it and access to the Lanarkshire coalfield.

Stonehouse East Junction


This junction was laid in but never used as the far end of this spur at Stonehouse South Junction was not laid in. This would have allowed through running from Strathaven to Lesmahagow.

Stonehouse, Cots Castle


From this end-on junction with the Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway) the line ran south-west to Strathaven.

Strathaven (Central)


This station had a broad island platform and both street and platform level buildings. There was also a goods yard approached from the west and at a higher level and to the north of the line. The Mid-Lanark Line approached the station over a large lattice girder viaduct as did the Hamilton and Strathaven Railway which was extended here.

From Strathaven west to Loudonhill the line was jointly owned with the Glasgow and South Western Railway and the station was unusual for having two street level booking offices and bridges to the island platform one for the Glasgow and South Western Railway and one for the Caledonian Railway.

The site was used as a rubbish dump for many years but was cleared out in the 1990s when the platform was once again exposed. I am unsure of its present state.

The station replaced the Strathaven terminus station on the Hamilton and Strathaven Railway which became Flemington (a goods station. From the north-east the station was approached over a large lattice viaduct (to the immediate west of the Mid-Lanark Lines bridge). There was an end-on junction here with the Darvel and Strathaven Railway which continued west to Darvel. This line was not a success and closed early rendering Strathaven a terminus again.

Blackwood (New)


The original terminal station was slightly further west and was closed as a passenger station but retained for goods and stock stabling. The line from Southfield (Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway)) was met at a south facing junction near the terminus, and immediately to the south of this junction was a north facing junction giving access to the new station, just off to the east.

The site is now a retirement home. A retaining wall in blue brick is all that remains to be seen of the station.

To the south of the station the line crossed the River Nethan on the Blackwood Viaduct, now removed.



The line approached the station here in a tunnel and cutting. The tunnel is sealed but the cutting still exists. The station itself is now a housing estate. This station had a single platform and a goods yard to its west, approached from the north. Space, never used, was taken here for doubling the line and providing another platform. To the south of the station a long stone viaduct crossed over the road and the River Nethan. The viaduct was demolished in 1983. From Lesmahagow to Alton Heights the line climbed steeply. In October 1929 a runway brakevan from a train ran back from Alton Heights to Lesmahagow where it struck a passenger train from Hamilton within the station. The line was steep to such an extent that empty southbound coaltrains struggled to climb up to Alton Heights.

Alton Heights


At Alton Heights (or Auldton Heights) Junction the Mid-Lanark Lines met the original Coalburn Branch (Caledonian Railway) at a south facing junction. To its immediate south was a north facing junction where the Muirkirk and Lesmahagow Junction Railway struck off for the south as the Coalburn line turned south-west.

Page created on 19/01/1998
Page last edited on: 24/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford