The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)


This railway is closed. The line connected the railways on the south side of Glasgow at Dalmarnock with the north side at Germiston, and also provided sidings for the Parkhead Forge. The line made use of an earlier branch to the Blochairn Steel Works from Germiston and was formed of two portions. The connection to Germiston connected onto the approach to Buchanan Street.


12/04/1877The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
London Road opened for goods.
01/04/1879The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
London Road opened for passengers. Stations at; Rutherglen, Dalmarnock and London Road.
02/08/1886The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
Extension from London Road to Blochairn Goods opened.
26/11/1894The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
Blochairn Goods to Blackhill Junction opened.
01/11/1895The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
London Road closed.
11/03/1896The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
Balornock Junction to Robroyston opened.
07/09/1964The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
Balornock Junction to London Road closed.
  /01/1984The Switchback (Caledonian Railway)
London Road High Level closed to goods (except rare scrap workings).

Portions of line and locations

This line is divided into a number of portions.

Germiston to Blackhill

This was the junction between the Buchanan Street to Milton Junction line and the line to Balornock Junction with lines to Dumbarton Central, Robroyston West Junction and south to Rutherglen by The Switchback (Caledonian Railway). The link, and the line to Buchanan Street, closed in 1966.

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This was a four way double track junction. From here a line ran west to Germiston Junction Low (1886), south to Blackhill Junction (same line, 1886), north west to Possil Junction (1894, box opened) and east to Robroyston West Junction (1896).

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Pickersgill 0-6-0 57652 descends gently towards Balornock Junction from the Possil direction with a freight on 10 June 1961. [Ref query 6568] ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 10/06/1961

At this junction the 1884 Blochairn Steel Works Branch (Caledonian Railway) from [[Germiston Junction High] on the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway] (1831) was met in 1886 by a curve of the The Switchback (Caledonian Railway) to Germiston Junction Low on the 1849 Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway).

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Blochairn to Dalmarnock

This junction opened in 1886 when the 1884 Blochairn Branch (Caledonian Railway) was extended south by the The Switchback (Caledonian Railway) to London Road Junction [Glasgow] to meet the 1877 Dalmarnock Branch Extension (Caledonian Railway). The Switchback not only connected the Caledonian Railway's northern and southern systems in Glasgow but also served the [[Parkhead Iron ...

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This goods yard was on the west side of the goods only The Switchback (Caledonian Railway). The sidings were approached from the north. It was a goods and mineral depot.

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BR Standard class 5 73063 heads down the Switchback past Kennyhill Goods on 28 May 1958 with a train of low loaders. ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 28/05/1958
Ex-Caledonian 0-6-0 57557 propelling a brakevan north along the Switchback on 28 May 1958. The combination has just passed below the A80 in the ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 28/05/1958

This forge in Parkhead was built around 1837 for Reoch Brothers & Co. It grew under William Beardmore's ownership to become a large concern, manufacturing a broad range of products including armaments and heavy steel plate. It was associated with the Beardmore Ship Yard, Inchterf Proving Range and Inchinnan Airship Constructional Station. The larger portfolio extended to ...

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This junction was controlled by Parkhead Iron Works signal box, the box and sidings opening with the line.

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Looking up to Switchback Line...notice the plyon and flats in background. ...
Colin Harkins 29/08/2006
Bridge support carrying the Switchback line across Duke Sreet, Glasgow. ...
Colin Harkins 31/05/2006
If you look across the right of the picture you will find the route taken by the switchback line in years gone by... a head for heights was not ...
Colin Harkins 29/08/2006
Extract from Glasgow City Council plans for the East End Regeneration showing the proposed route over the former Switchback (Caledonian Railway) and ...
Colin Harkins /06/2008

This junction was at the south end of London Road [Glasgow] passenger (1879) and goods (1877) stations and was where The Switchback (Caledonian Railway) of 1885 extended the Dalmarnock Branch Extension (Caledonian Railway) of 1877.

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Ex-Caledonian 'Jumbo' 0-6-0 57456 heading south down the Switchback on the approach to London Road Junction, Dalmarnock, on 2 June 1949. Celtic Park ...
G H Robin collection by courtesy of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow 02/06/1949