Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway

Introduction

This was a branch of the Caledonian Railway, a light railway from its main line station at Elvanfoot which ran south west to Leadhills, where lead mining was a long established industry, and Wanlockhead, the highest point on any standard gauge railway in Britain.

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.



Dates

  /  /1877Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
The Leadhills Silver-lead Mining Company approaches the Caledonian Railway to ask them to build a branch to Leadhills. At this time, the line is not built.
  /  /1897Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Light Railway order for the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, the route to be by the Elvan Water rather than by up Glen Gonnar.
  /  /1898Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Line authorised.
  /  /1899Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Construction of the line begins. Robert McAlpine employs approximately 100 men to build the line.
01/10/1901Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Elvanfoot to Leadhills opened. (Alternative date 5/10/1901).
  /  /1902Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Rispin Cleugh Viaduct built by Sir Robert McAlpine.
12/09/1902Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Leadhills to Wanlockhead opened to goods.
12/10/1902Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Leadhills to Wanlockhead opened for passengers.
02/01/1939Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Wanlockhead to Elvanfoot closed to all traffic.
  /  /1960Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Closed.
  /  /1983Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway Society formed.
  /  /1986Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Track laying starts.
  /  /1988Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Service starts running over a quarter of a mine of track running south from the new Leadhills station.
  /  /1991Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Rispin Cleugh Viaduct demolished.

Locations along the line

These locations are along the line.

This was a two platform station on the Caledonian Railway main line with interchange for the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway.
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More details

See also
Caledonian Railway
Scene just to the south of Elvanfoot on 27 July 2016 as the 0739 London Euston - Glasgow Central via Birmingham hurries past on the 73 minute final ...
John Furnevel 27/07/2016
A northbound First TransPennine Express 185 rounds the curve approaching Elvanfoot on 1 June 2009. The photograph is taken from near the bottom of ...
John McIntyre 01/06/2009
Train passing Elvanfoot heading south. ...
Ewan Crawford 15/08/2004
TESCO train passing Elvanfoot heading north. ...
Ewan Crawford 19/09/2007
4 of 29 images. more


This single track two arch concrete viaduct carried the Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway over the Elvan Water on the way to Elvanfoot.
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Bridge over Elvan Water on Wanlockhead branch, the Lowthers stand shrouded behind. ...
Clive Barlow 26/05/2006
Two arch viaduct at Toddle Moss viewed from the west. ...
Ewan Crawford 15/08/2004
The old bridge at Elvanfoot on the route up to Leadhills and Wanlockhead in 2006. ...
John Furnevel 04/08/2006
Bridge over Elvan Water on Wanlockhead branch, the Lowthers stand shrouded behind. ...
Clive Barlow 26/05/2006
4 of 9 images. more


This viaduct (also known as Risping Cleugh Viaduct) was built in 1891 by Sir Robert McAlpine & Co. It was an eight arch single track viaduct on a curve. The bridge was clad with terracotta bricks to improve its appearance.
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The gracefully curved Rispin Cleugh Viaduct near Leadhills on the Wanlockhead branch, built in 1891 by Sir Robert McAlpine & Co. The eight arch ...
John Robin //
1 of 1 images.


This was a single track timber shed to the north east of Leadhills station. The shed was approached from the south.
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Locomotive shed with inspection pit to the east of Leadhills. ...
Ewan Crawford 16/08/2004
1 of 1 images.


This is a station on a preserved narrow gauge railway. There is a platform, loop and sidings. It is the present northern terminus of the line.
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'LUCE' seen here at Leadhills 23 July 2017. A very wet day. ...
Peter Todd 23/07/2017
The leverframe inside the signal box at Leadhills on 11th July 2019, which I was informed came from Arrochar and Tarbet box. ...
Alastair McLellan 11/07/2019
Signal box and array of signals at Leadhills on 11th July 2019. ...
Alastair McLellan 11/07/2019
Looking west from Leadhills station over the station signboard. ...
Ewan Crawford 15/08/2004
4 of 27 images. more


This is a short timber platform, the current terminus of the line from Leadhills to the north.
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Heading for the hills, or at least Leadhills. Seen from above Glengonnar Halt a train heads away from the cutting on 21st September 2019.
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Bill Roberton 21/09/2019
A passenger train at Glengonnar Halt, hauled by a 4wDM, on 21st September 2019.
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Bill Roberton 21/09/2019
View looking to Wanlockhead from Glengonnar station in May 2003. The buffer is behind the camera. ...
Ewan Crawford 07/05/2003
The driver of Hunslet 0-4-0ST no 823 'Irish Mail' has a rest as his fireman takes a few pictures while the train waits at the halt on the ...
John McIntyre 11/07/1993
4 of 9 images. more


This was a terminus with a loop and sidings and a goods shed. There was no platform, (nor was there a platform at Leadhills) but there was a slightly raised area of flattened ground alongside the loop. Access to the carriages was by means of steps on the carriages. The station building was a lean-to built onto the side of the goods shed, just to the south of the loop.
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Former Knott End Railway veranda coach, built by Lancaster Railway carriage & Wagon in 1908, seen in LMS days after transfer to the Wanlockhead ...
Knott End Collection //
LMS era photograph of a Caley 0-4-4T with a mixed train at Wanlockhead. Of particular interest to the KERS is the veranda coach. This was one of four ...
Knott End Collection //
Looking north at the site of the former Wanlockhead station. ...
Ewan Crawford //
Looking towards Wanlockhead in 1989. The extension of the narrow gauge line from Glengonnar to Wanlockhead has been announced by the Lowthers Railway ...
Bill Roberton //1989
4 of 5 images. more