and Kirkintilloch Railway
This railway is largely closed. Portions
of the line remain in use at Gartsherrie (part of the West Coast Main
Line), Gunnie yard to Sunnyside Junction (out of use), from Sunnyside
Junction to a Greenside Junction (part of the Glasgow to Airdrie line),
from Sunnyside Junction to Whifflet (a diversionary route). Much of the
rest of the route is now a footpath and cyclepath.
Garnqueen; Monkland and Kirkintilloch
Railway runs from top left to middle right.
Why was it built?
The line was built to take coal from the Monklands
and deliver it to the Forth
and Clyde Canal for shipping to Edinburgh and, to a lesser extent, Glasgow.
Coal from the Monklands already travelled to Glasgow via the Monkland
Canal along a similar length of canal.
This line ran from the coal fields of Monkland
around Airdrie and Coatbridge (which was established as a town by the growth
in coal and iron industry in the vicinity of the Coat Bridge over the Monkland
Canal) to the Forth
and Clyde Canal at Kirkintilloch
where coal was transferred to barges on the canal.
Kirkintilloch means "fort on the hill"
and is named after a Roman Fort which was part of the Antonine Wall. As well
as the coal traffic associated the town also had some small ship-builders.
Description of route
The line ran from Kirkintilloch on the Forth
and Clyde Canal to coal pits at Kipps, Palacecraig and Rosehall in the Airdrie
and Coatbridge area.
The original terminus at the Townhill Basin
on the Forth
and Clyde Canal has totally vanished and the basin is infilled. The route
of the line can be followed from "Whitegates" (named after the level
crossing gates) heading south; it is now a path.
The terminus was opened in 1826 to a quayside
by the Forth
and Clyde Canal. In 1835 a basin was excavated by the canal and further
sidings laid. By 1841 a second basin had been added and a further sidings added.
Today the basin has gone and the sidings have been lifted. Part of the site
is now occupied by a supermarket. A small disused dock exists where the original
There was a station called "Kirkintilloch
Basin" opened here. It was open from 1 October 1826 to 6 March 1846 according
to Butt. Martin
details that from here a coach ran to Leaend station, Airdrie on the Ballochney
Railway from 8 July 1828 for a trial period which was unlikely to have continued
until 1 June 1831. From 1839 a carriage ran from Kirkintilloch Basin to Gargill
(now Gartsherrie) where it connected with a service running from Leaend (Airdrie)
to Glasgow Townhead. This stopped running on 26 December 1944 when a new station
called Kirkintilloch was opened on a south facing spur beside the Edinburgh
and Glasgow Railway's Bothlin viaduct where the later company opened an
exchange station. A service ran from the new Kirkintilloch station to another
new station in Airdrie called Hallcraig which was on the Ballochney
Railway. A connecting horse-drawn service was operated by the Edinburgh
and Glasgow Railway from Kirkintilloch Basin to the new Kirkintilloch station.
This service had ceased to run by 23 March 1846.
A short spur from Middlemuir
Junction connected the Edinburgh
and Glasgow Railway's Campsie Branch
to the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway at this point. This was largely used
by Baird's of Gartsherrie Ironworks coal trains running from their private railway
system at Twechar on the Kelvin
Valley Railway. There is a "junction" in the footpath at this
point. There was a signalbox at this location called "Woodleys Junction".
Graham's memories of Woodley's Lye.
The trackbed beneath the Edinburgh
and Glasgow Railway is a walkway from here to Chryston. The "bulls
horns" tracks leading from the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway to the
Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway and
the exchange platforms (sidings ran from both lines to this point to facilitate
exchanges, both freight and passenger, before the gauge of the Monkland and
Kirkintilloch Railway was changed) can be just discerned in the trees. You can
also find old Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
stone sleepers here. There was a signalbox here called "Garngaber Low Junction".
For a short time there was a "Garngaber" station on the Monkland and
Kirkintilloch Railway here.
Graham's memories of Garngaber.
The tracks from Waterside Junction (east of
Lenzie) on the Edinburgh and Glasgow
Railway join the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway near Bridgend.
The trackbed remains as a muddy path - largely unused. The junction formation
is clearly visible and faces Coatbridge. There was a signalbox here called Bridgend
Junction. To the south of the junction there were some sidings on the north
side of the line.
Graham's memories of Bridgend.
There was a station here. The trackbed is in
excellent condition in this area. There was a signalbox here called Chryston,
formerly Chryston Station.
The trackbed in this area has been dumped on
and eroded. The M73 crosses the line at the point of the junction. A line from
Bedlay Colliery joined from the North, and this junction faced Kirkintilloch.
There was a signalbox here called Bedlay.
The colliery is now closed and demolished,
although the site gates still (on last vist) bear the name of the colliery.
The colliery closed during the miner's strike although there was some continued
operation after principal closure. This mine was famous for its steam locomotives
which operated until closure. Latterly the colliery provided the Ravenscraig
Steelworks with coking coal.
The original tramway to Bedlay colliery, built
before the Bedlay Junction line, ran from a south junction slightly further
to the west than Bedlay South Junction, turned very sharply to the east and
then ran to the colliery along the same lines as the later railway.
Bedlay North Junction
This was the northern junction on the triangular
junction between the Bedlay branch and the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway.
There may never have been a proper junction
at this point. The lines to Bedlay originally ran to the west. These were uplifted
when a new connection from the south was opened when the M73 was built across
the site of the junction between the main line and the Bedlay branch.
Bedlay East Junction
The trackbed is now very overgrown in places
but you can just find it. The colliery branch is now the parking place of burnt
cars. The junction here may never have operated as a proper junction as the
line leading to Kirkintilloch was probably taken out of use at the same time
as the line to Bedlay colliery was brought into use.
Glenboig Level Crossing
The trackbed through the town is used as an
unofficial walkway (this may now be out of date as I noticed when I last passed
the site that the trackbed has been tarmaced). There are many mineshifts to
either side and an impressive stretch of raised trackbed where the engineering
for the time of construction is impressive - the builders went to quite some
effort to make this line level and without curves (just to the north of the
Garnqueen South Junction
Garnqueen; Monkland and Kirkintilloch
Railway runs from top left (Gartsherrie) to middle right (Glenboig). The
middle to bottom line is the Caledonian
Railway and the top right to bottom is the Hayhill Branch of the Caledonian
The line was joined by the Caledonian
Railway (the section from Garnqueen South Junction to Greenhill) at Garnqueen
south junction (the box is now at Bo'ness).
The junction faced south towards Coatbridge.
To the north lines approached from Glasgow
and Glasgow Railway) and Garnqueen (Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway and
the Caledonian Railway
using the Monkland and Kirkintilloch route). To the south lines approached from
Gunnie Yard and Whifflet (Monkland and Kirkintilloch) and Coatbridge Central
and Whifflet (a later addition by the Glasgow,
Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway).
There are buffers at the end of sidings on
the Caledonian Railway
system and the North
British Railway system within a few feet of each other but they are no longer
joined at this junction. The North
British Railway route is a branch from Coatbridge Sunnyside to Gunnie yard
which stops at Gartsherrie Junction. There was a signalbox at this junction
There was a station at this junction (the original
was on the Garnkirk
and Glasgow Railway only, by the junction between it and the Monkland and
Kirkintilloch Railway). There is a gateway in a stone wall to the east of the
junction which may once have provided access to the station.
This yard is quite extensive and in very good
condition but may be currently disused. A number of branches used to run from
here to local blast furnaces (the location once had the highest concentration
of blast furnaces anywhere). A longer branch once led to Gunnie pit at this
point, this was an addition to the original route. The yard was retained for
use with the nearby Castle Cement works.
There was a signalbox at either end of the
yard - Gunnie North and Gunnie South.
The original junction here was for the Kipps
branch. The Coatbridge Branch
(originally concieved by the Monkland
Railways but built by the Edinburgh
and Glasgow Railway and then owned and operated by the North
British Railway following the 1865 amalgamations) joined the junction from
To the west lines approached from Glasgow (double
track and electrified) and Kirkintilloch (single-tracked recently and not electrified,
joining the westbound track of the Glasgow route only). To the East lines approached
from Kipps (double track and electrified) and Coatbridge (now a single electrified
track joining the westbound Airdrie-Glasgow track). The signal box here was
located in the divergence of the lines at the west side of the junction - and
was unusual in being painted yellow.
The original junction here was slightly differently
located, being re-built when the Gartsherrie Ironworks expanded and the line
from Glasgow opened. The different ages of junction here existed concurrently
This station is still open. It is on the Kipps
branch. The original formation of this branch may have been slightly further
This junction faced west towards Glasgow .
This was the start of a line to Bathgate (the Monkland Railways Bathgate
and Coatbridge Railway). The line remains open as far as Drumgelloch today
and is used by the local electric trains running from Airdrie to Glasgow via
Shettleston. The line branched off the Kipps branch, which is now closed and
This shed was to the north of the line on the
Kipps branch. To the south of the line was the Moss-side works which were the
workshops of the railway. The line is closed and lifted and the shed and workshops
are now gone. A scrapyard and landscaped land now occupy the site. A nearby
gasometer remains standing.
This was the terminus of a branch from Sunnyside
Junction. The Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway had its workshops and locomotive
sheds here. A number of lines extended the line from Kipps. The line was extended
to North Monkland (the North
British Railway's North Monkland
Railway), Ballochney (by the Ballochney
Railway) and Slamannan (by the Slamannan
Railway). To the east was the Waverley Iron Works and nearby Sun Foundry
and Tube Works and another few steelworks.
This was a signalbox to the south of Sunnyside
Junction and the North of Coatbridge Central (North
British Railway). There was a south facing junction here for sidings which
came from the west (Summerlee Iron Works).
Coatbridge Central (North British Railway)
The station is closed. It rivalled the nearby
Langloan Junction / Langloan East Junction
There was a signalbox here called first "Langloan
Junction" and then "Langloan East Junction" which controlled
the line running west to the Langloan Iron works from a south facing junction.
Whifflet North Junction / Whifflet East
The junction may also be "Dundyvan Junction".
There was a signalbox here first called "Whifflet North Junction"
and then as "Whifflet East". It may have controlled the line running
west to the British Works (the Souterhouse branch which run under the Caledonian
Railway's main line and Airdrie line) from a junction facing south and the lines
running east to the Clyde Tube works and Rochsolloch Iron works also from a
junction facing south.
This was the location of a basin on the Monkland
Canal and the first railway yard included interchange sidings and a stabling
for wagons from the many local factories.
Whifflet yard is closed and lifted now. The
track from the south is double at this point and becomes single heading north.
The photograph shows the yard as it was before complete removal.
The recently opened terminus of the re-opened
Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway
(Caledonian Railway) line at Whifflet
borders the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway line but does not provide any
platform faces. There was a signalbox here called Whifflet Central and a station
on the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway called Whifflet which had an island
Whifflet East Junction
This is at Whifflet on the Monkland
Canal. To the north lines went to Coatbridge Central and Gunnie and to the
south lines went to Palacecraig colliery (a short section of disused sidings
remain), Motherwell by the Wishaw and
Coltness Railway and Rosehall (this line crossed over the Motherwell line
and hand branches to Shawhead, Rosehall, Carnbroe and Calder Iron Works before
being extended south to Hamilton).
To the west the Rutherglen and Coatbridge
Railway (Caledonian Railway)
joined with a triangular junction to the Coatbridge Central route with a continuation
to the Caledonian Airdrie station; this line having a High Level Whifflet station
above the Low Level Whifflet station on the Coatbridge Central line. There was
a signalbox here called Whifflet East Junction.
Sidings here were used as a dump for scrapping
redundant steam locomotives. There was a signalbox here called "Carnbroe".
This was a junction between the Rosehall and Shawhead branches.
I have not visited the terminus of this branch
so I'm not sure if anything remains. There were two signalboxes here - Rosehall
North and Rosehall South.
Bothwell, Hamilton and Coatbridge Railway left this line and headed south
towards Bellshill. The first section of the branch is now a road.
This was the original southern terminus of
the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway. There were a number of collieries and
associated lines which reached as far east as Calderbank.
Butt, RJ, The directory
of Railway Stations
Martin, D, The Monkland and Kirkintilloch and Associated Railways
Page created on 07/08/1996
Page last edited on: 24/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford