Caledonian Main Line
The Caledonian Main Line represents most of the original route of the Caledonian Railway: a major Scottish railway company. The company was formed in 1830 and was absorbed almost a century later into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, in the 1923 railway grouping, by means of the Railways Act 1921. When first opened, the Caledonian Main Line represented the only railway link between England and Scotland: running from Carlisle to Carstairs; and then to both Edinburgh and Glasgow. The Edinburgh terminus was at Princes Street; and the original Glasgow terminus at Buchanan Street, the latter being reached by use the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway's metals. The Caledonian railway's Glasgow terminus was later moved to Glasgow Central and was accessed via the Clydesdale Junction Railway. A short section between Carlisle and Gretna was used to give the Glasgow and South Western Railway access to Carlisle and the North British Railway's Waverley Line.
Princes Street has closed, as has the Waverley Line, but Caledonian Main line together with the former Clydesdale Junction Railway are still in use today as the northern section of the West Coast Main Line, between Carlisle, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley stations. The link at Gretna remains open, as part of the Glasgow South Western route.
- 1 Description of the route
- 2 Carstairs to Greenhill Junction
- 3 Carstairs to Carlisle
- 4 Carstairs to Edinburgh
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Description of the route
The Caledonian Railway Main Line runs from Carlisle, via Annandale, Beattock and the Clyde valley, to Central Scotland. The original Glasgow terminus was at Buchanan Street access via the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway (from Coatbridge) which was absorbed by the Caledonian Railway. Buchanan Street remained the Glasgow terminus until 1879, when Glasgow Central become the major Caledonian terminus for trains from the south. Access was via the Clydesdale Junction Railway from Motherwell. A junction at Carstairs provided a connection to Princes Street station in Edinburgh.
The main line from Carlisle was opened as far as Beattock on 9 September 1847. The section from Beattock to Edinburgh opened on 15 February 1848; and the section from Beattock to Glasgow, Buchanan Street, opened on 1 November 1849 for passengers and on 1 January 1849 for goods. The final section of the journey was initially via Monklands, on the Wishaw and Coltness Railway and the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway, which had opened in 1831.
The main line from Carlisle to Glasgow (now to Glasgow Central) and Edinburgh (now to Edinburgh Waverley) is still in use today, although many of the original Caledonian railway stations have closed. It is now the northern section of the West Coast Main Line; the southern section being the former London and North Western Railway.
The main line at Quintinshill, near Gretna Green was the site of the Quintinshill rail crash, which occurred on 22 May 1915. Two rival lines connected to the Caledonian Railway near this point: the Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway, at Gretna, later to become the Glasgow and South Western Railway, and still in use today as the Glasgow South Western Line; and the North British Railway's Waverley Line, currently closed in its entirety.
Carstairs to Greenhill Junction
A complex section of line runs north through Lanarkshire to East Dunbartonshire where a connection was made with the Scottish Central Railway at Greenhill Lower Junction. Although adjacent to the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway at Greenhill Junctions, no direct connection was made which included the absorption of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway (between Gartsherrie North Junction and Whifflet) and the Wishaw and Coltness Railway (between Whifflet and Law Junction). Between Mossend and Motherwell, a Motherwell deviation line was constructed away from the original route of the Wishaw and Coltness Railway. To provide additional capacity, a Wishaw Deviation Line was constructed between Holytown (on the Cleland and Midcalder Line) and Law Junction.
Silvermuir Junctions (north of Carstairs) provided a triangular connection to the Lanark and Douglas Branches.
Connections to other lines
- Scottish Central Railway at Greenhill Lower
- Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway at Gartsherrie
- Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway between Coatbridge Central and Whifflet
- Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway at Garnqueen South Junction, Gartsherrie North Junction and Whifflet
- Cleland and Midcalder Line at Holytown railway station and Mossend Junctions
- Wishaw and Coltness Railway at Law Junction
- Lanark Branch at Silvermuir Junctions
- Douglas Branch at Douglas Junctions on Lanark Branch
In 2011 the line is open to passenger services:
- WCML and ECML services from Glasgow to the south (south of Motherwell)
- Argyle Line services between Motherwell and Lanark (via Wishaw / Holytown) and peak hour services to Coatbridge Central.
- Whifflet Line services which terminate at Whifflet (off the Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway) before running forward to Mossend Yard to change direction.
- Motherwell to Cumbernauld Line Services.
- Cumbernauld Line services between Garnqueen North Junction and Cumbernauld (and Greenhill Lower Junction for Falkirk trains)
In 2008, a feasibility study is to take place to examine the possibility of opening a new station to serve the town of Law.
Carstairs to Carlisle
|Caledonian Railway Main Line|
The original stations between Carlisle and Carstairs were: Rockcliffe, Floriston, Kirkpatrick, Gretna, Kirtlebridge, Ecclefechan, Lockerbie, Nethercleugh, Dinwoodie, Wamphray, Beattock, Elvanfoot, Crawford, Abington, Lamington, Symington and Thankerton. Of these, only Lockerbie is still in use, and the Lockerbie-Carstairs section is the longest stretch of UK railway uninterrupted by a station .
Connections to other lines
- Carlisle and Port Carlisle Railway and Dock Company at Carlisle
- Border Union Railway (also known as the Waverley Line) at Carlisle and Gretna
- Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway at Gretna
- Solway Junction Railway at Kirtlebridge
- Dumfries, Lochmaben and Lockerbie Railway at Lockerbie
- Moffat Railway at Beattock
- Leadhills and Wanlockhead Branch at Elvanfoot
- Symington, Biggar and Broughton Railway at Symington
This short branch was authorised as an independent railway on 27 June 1881. It was promoted locally to link Moffat to the Caledonian Railway at Beattock. The line was opened on 2 April 1883, leased to the Caledonian Railway on 14 July 1884 and formally taken over on 31 May 1889.
The branch line was closed to passengers on 6 December 1954 and to freight on 6 April 1964.
In 2007 the main line is still open, as part of the WCML from Glasgow and Edinburgh to the south. There is now only one station now open at Lockerbie, and all the immediate branches between Gretna Junction and Strawfrank Junction are closed.
In 2008, a feasibility study was undertaken to examine the possibility of opening a station at Symington to provide local services from the area into Glasgow, presumably with bus connections to the nearby town of Biggar.
Carstairs to Edinburgh
Caledonian Main Line
(Carstairs to Edinburgh Princes Street)
The line from Carstairs to Edinburgh (Glasgow to Edinburgh via Carstairs line) is also still in use today, but the Edinburgh terminus of the Caledonian railway at the west end of Princes Street has closed and the line diverts to former North British Railway Edinburgh Waverley railway station at the other end of Princes street. The railway hotel building which formed the street frontage of the Edinburgh Princes Street Station was well known as the Caley Hotel, and is still in use as a hotel today by the Hilton Hotels chain as the Caledonian Hilton Edinburgh Hotel.
Connections to other lines
- Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway at Haymarket via the Duff Street Spur
- Edinburgh Suburban and Southside Junction Railway at Slateford
- Balerno Loop between Ravelrig and Slateford
- Cleland and Midcalder Line at Midcalder Junction
- Tarbrax branch at Cobbinshaw
- Wilsontown Branch between Auchengray and Cobbinshaw
- Dolphinton Branch at Carstairs
- WCML services
- Extension of ECML and CrossCountry from Newcastle and further south services
- Shotts Line services between Midcalder Junction and Edinburgh
- North Berwick Line services that are extended to Glasgow in peak hours.
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- RAILSCOT on Caledonian Railway
- RAILSCOT on Lanark Branch
- RAILSCOT on Moffat Railway
- RAILSCOT on Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway
- RAILSCOT on Wishaw and Coltness Railway
- RAILSCOT on Wilsontown Branch
- RAILSCOT on Balerno Loop
- RAILSCOT on Edinburgh Station and Branches
- RAILSCOT on Dalry Road Lines (Edinburgh)