Glasgow to Aberfoyle Line
|Glasgow to Aberfoyle Line|
The Glasgow to Aberfoyle Line was a railway line in Scotland, now closed.
Starting from the Queen Street terminus in Glasgow, it wound through Strathblane taking in Killearn and Balfron, ultimately depositing travellers in Aberfoyle, where they could change to road transport to reach the Trossachs and Loch Katrine, or to make a circular tour, returning by Loch Lomond.
The eventual line was the result of three stages of development: the Campsie Branch of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, which opened in 1848 and went to Lennoxtown; the Blane Valley Railway, which opened fully in 1867, extending the line to Killearn; and finally the Strathendrick and Aberfoyle Railway, which opened in 1882 taking the line to Aberfoyle, including a stretch running over the existing track of the Forth and Clyde Junction Railway, which had opened in 1856.
The line was operated by the North British Railway and then, after 1923, by the London and North Eastern Railway. Unable to compete in the face of road competition, the line north of Kirkintilloch was closed to passengers by British Railways in 1951. Most of the line closed completely in 1959, with the last remainder, the original Campsie Branch section, closing in 1966.
The final line was the result of three phases of development.
The first section of the route opened in 1848 as the five and a half mile long Campsie Branch of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, branching off at Lenzie from its main line from Glasgow to Edinburgh, serving Kirkintilloch and running as far as Lennoxtown.
The railway company became part of the North British Railway in 1865.
Blane Valley Railway
The second stage of development, the Blane Valley Railway, extended the branch into the essentially rural countryside immediately south of the Campsie Fells. Population was light, so the main item of carriage for the line was expected to be milk to be taken to Glasgow. An act for the new railway was obtained in 1861, and it opened for freight in November 1866 and passengers in July 1867, extending the line by eight and a quarter miles to Killearn (in fact the station was about two miles short of the village), with a new station built at Lennoxtown to by-pass the previous terminus there.
In 1881 the railway company was absorbed by the North British Railway, which had operated the line and been a major shareholder from the start.
Strathendrick and Aberfoyle Railway
In 1882 the Strathendrick and Aberfoyle Railway extended the line to Aberfoyle, running for part of the way between Buchlyvie Junction and Gartness Junction over the metals of the Forth and Clyde Junction Railway which had opened in 1856, and was also operated by the North British Company. A new station a little nearer the village took on the Killearn name, with the existing Killearn station renamed Dumgoyne after the celebrated hill of that name. A focus for the line was very much on visitors coming to see the natural beauty of the area, the Trossachs, and Loch Katrine, which had been popularised by Sir Walter Scott since the 1810s.
This route had originally been proposed in the plans for the Blane Valley Railway, but had not been pursued when money had fallen short. Plans had also called for the railway to be extended along Loch Ard towards Inversnaid on Loch Lomond, but this was blocked by the objections of the major landowner in the area, the Duke of Montrose.
The Strathendrick and Aberfoyle Railway was also absorbed by the North British Railway, in 1891.
Run-down and closure
By the 1920s the rail services were increasingly suffering in comparison with cheaper and more flexible alternatives offered by charabanc and then motor bus operators. Passenger services on the Forth and Clyde Junction Railway from Stirling to Loch Lomond were suspended entirely in 1934; and soon most services on the Aberfoyle line terminated at Blanefield, with passengers for Aberfoyle having to change there for a limited shuttle service operated by a Sentinel steam railcar.
By summer 1950 Kirkintilloch was being served by twelve trains a day; Lennoxtown by seven; Blanefield by five; and Aberfoyle by three. The line from Kirkintilloch to Aberfoyle closed to passengers the next year, on 1 October 1951. Both the Forth and Clyde Junction line and Aberfoyle line north from Campsie Glen closed completely eight years later, with the ending of the remaining goods services in October 1959.
The original Campsie Branch part of the line lasted a little longer, but in 1964 the last remaining passenger services to Kirkintilloch were ended, followed in April 1966 by the final remaining goods services to Lennoxtown, and the entire line was closed and soon lifted.
Reuse as Strathkelvin Railway Path
- RAILSCOT pages:
- Alison Dryden, Strathblane and Blanefield stations, and the story of the line, Strathblane Historical Society, 2004