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Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway

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Introduction
Local area
Chronology

Locations
Kirkintilloch Basin
Monkland Junction
Garngaber
Bridgend Junction
Chryston
Bedlay Junction
Bedlay Colliery
Bedlay North Junction
Bedlay East Junction
Glenboig Level Crossing
Garnqueen South Junction
Gartsherrie Junction
Gunnie yard
Sunnyside Junction
Kipps
Summerlee East
Coatbridge Central
Langloan East Junction
Whifflet East
Whifflet Yard
Whifflet
Whifflet East Junction
Carnbroe
Rosehall
Palacecraig Colliery

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Monkland 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.

Survey
1823
Engineers
Thomas Grainger
John Miller
Act
17 May 1824
Contractor
Thomas Grainger
William Baird & Co
Charles McCaul
Opened
October 1826
Closed
To be entered
Clickable map of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway Monkland CanalBathgate and Coatbridge RailwayBallochney RailwayNorth Bri
tish Railway, North Monkland RailwayCaledonian RailwayNorth British Railway, Coatbridge BranchEdinburgh and Glasgow RailwayEdinburgh and Glasgow Railway, Campsie BranchForth and Clyde CanalGlasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge RailwayWishaw and Coltness RailwayCaledonian Railway, Rutherglen and Coatbridge RailwayCaledonian Railway, Airdrie and Newhouse line

Garnqueen; Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway runs from top left to middle right.
Garnqueen; Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway runs from top left to middle right.

Why was it built?

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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.

Local area 

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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.

Chronology 

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Description of route 

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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.
 
Kirkintilloch Basin 

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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 quayside was.

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.

Woodleys Junction

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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".

> Alex Graham's memories of Woodley's Lye.

Garngaber Low

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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.

> Alex Graham's memories of Garngaber.

Bridgend Junction

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Bridgend Junction

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.

> Alex Graham's memories of Bridgend.

Chryston 

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There was a station here. The trackbed is in excellent condition in this area. There was a signalbox here called Chryston, formerly Chryston Station.

Bedlay Junction

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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.

Bedlay Colliery 

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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

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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

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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

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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 town). 

Garnqueen South Junction

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Garnqueen; Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway runs from top left to middle right.
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 Railway.
   

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.

Gartsherrie Junction 

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To the north lines approached from Glasgow (Garnkirk 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 until recently.

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.

Gunnie Yard 

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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.

Sunnyside Junction 

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Sunnyside Junction

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 the West.  

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 until rationalisation.

Coatbridge Sunnyside

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Coatbridge Sunnyside

This station is still open. It is on the Kipps branch. The original formation of this branch may have been slightly further north.

Greenside Junction

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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 lifted.

Kipps shed 

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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.

Kipps 

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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.

Summerlee East

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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)

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The station is closed. It rivalled the nearby Caledonian Railway's Coatbridge Central station.

Langloan Junction / Langloan East Junction

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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

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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.

Whifflet Yard

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Whifflet Yard

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. 

Whifflet 

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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 platform.

Whifflet East Junction

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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.

Carnbroe

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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.

Rosehall 

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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.

The Glasgow, Bothwell, Hamilton and Coatbridge Railway left this line and headed south towards Bellshill. The first section of the branch is now a road. 

Palacecraig Colliery

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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.

References

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