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
partially re-opened 12/2005
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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
and Strathaven Railway which continued west to Darvel. This line was not
a success and closed early rendering Strathaven a terminus again.
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.
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