The line from Elderslie to Bridge of Weir was built originally as the Bridge of Weir Railway, which had opened to passengers in 1864 between Johnstone and Bridge of Weir. On 1 August 1865 it was vested in the Glasgow and South Western Railway and closed on 18 May 1869; reopening between Elderslie and Bridge of Weir, on 23 December 1869, as part of the Elderslie to Bridge of Weir branch. This then met the Greenock and Ayrshire Railway, end-on at Bridge of Weir, which ran to Greenock Princes Pier.
Following closure of the Greenock and Ayrshire Railway beyond Kilmacolm, passenger services continued from Glasgow, via the Paisley Canal Line, to Kilmacolm using diesel multiple units. The line closed completely to passengers in January 1983.