Paisley and Renfrew Railway

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Paisley and Renfrew Railway
Renfrew Wharf & Shipyard sidings
King's Inch(G&RDR)
Renfrew Fulbar Street
Renfrew Porterfield(G&RDR)
Renfrew South
Cart Harbour
Paisley Hamilton Street
Paisley Abercorn
Renfrew Road
Paisley Greenlaw Goods station(G&PJR)
Paisley Gilmour Street(G&PJR)

The Paisley and Renfrew railway was a railway line from the town of Paisley to its neighbouring town Renfrew; and to the River Clyde at Renfrew wharf. The railway was built to the Scotch gauge of 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm).[1][2] Its engineers were Grainger and Miller from Edinburgh (Thomas Grainger and John Miller).[2][3]

It was intended to both compete with the transportation of passengers and goods on the River Cart, between Paisley and boats on the River Clyde.[3] The line was 3 miles (4.8 km) long on an almost level gradient throughout.[1]

The line[edit]

The line was authorised in 1835 and opened in April 1837, with locomotive working from the start.[3][4] The company bought three locomotives: The Paisley and The Renfrew, made by Messrs Murdock, Aikin and Co., Glasgow; and the St. Rollox, originally made by Robert Stephenson and Company for the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway and later sold to the Paisley and Renfrew Railway.[1] The locomotives were used to give a speed advantage over the River Cart.[3]

In 1842, to save money, it switched to horse haulage.[4] The original railway company never made a profit and the line was leased out.[3] In 1846 it agreed to be taken over by the Paisley, Barrhead and Hurlet Railway.[3] The Paisley, Barrhead and Hurlet Railway never built their own railway and the Paisley and Renfrew Railway changed hands several times.[3][4]

Connection to the railway network[edit]

The Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway opened in 1840 between Glasgow Bridge Street railway station and Paisley Gilmour Street railway station and this line removed much of the trade from the Paisley and Renfrew railway.[3]

In 1847 the Paisley and Renfrew Railway was bought by the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway.[3][5][6] Horse haulage was retained until 1866.

On 1 January 1866 passenger services were suspended and the line was doubled and regauged, by the Glasgow and South Western Railway, to standard gauge.[4] It was also connected, as a branch line, to the Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway at Arkleston Junction and it reopened on 1 May 1866 using locomotive haulage.[3][4]

The route[edit]

The original terminus station in Paisley was Hamilton Street, but for passengers it was replaced by Abercorn station when the line was regauged and became a branch line. The line then ran through three stations, to its terminus at Renfrew Wharf. A freight branch led off to the Cart Harbour in Paisley.

Freight branches were also built at Renfrew Wharf to serve the two shipbuilders William Simons & Company Ltd and Lobnitz & Company Ltd based on the River Clyde, at Renfrew. They later merged to become Simons-Lobnitz Ltd; and the ship yards closed in the early 1960s.


The line was closed to passengers on the 5 June 1967,[7] as part of the Beeching Axe, and was closed to freight traffic in 1981, but the line was not lifted until 1986.

Much of the route of the line is now occupied by a cyclepath, or by a private road used by the Doosan Babcock (formerly the Babcock and Wilcox) site in Renfrew. A DIY superstore operated by Tesco was built on the site of the former Paisley Abercorn railway station goods yard in the late 1970s. In the 1980s the store was sold to become a DIY superstore - "Great Mills".



  1. ^ a b c Whishaw
  2. ^ a b Popplewell
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Robertson
  4. ^ a b c d e Awdry, Page 98
  5. ^ Lewin, Page 36
  6. ^ Awdry, Page 98, gives the date of completion of the sale as 31 July 1852
  7. ^ Thomas (1971), p.271.


External links[edit]

  • March 1843 timetable from Bradshaw's Railway Monthly (XVI) (text) (scan)