Stirling and Dunfermline Railway

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Stirling and Dunfermline Railway
Locale Scotland
Dates of operation 16 July 1846 – 28 June 1858
Successor Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Scottish Central Railway (north)
Scottish Central Railway (south)
Alva Railway
Alloa Railway
Longcarse Junction
Alloa West Junction
Alloa Harbour
Alloa East Junction
Devon Valley Railway
Kincardine Junction
Kincardine Line
Clackmannan Road
Forrest Mill
Oakley Colliery
Townhill Tramway
Dunfermline Upper
Edinburgh and Northern Railway
Locomotives in the yard of Stirling in 1948

The Stirling and Dunfermline Railway was a railway in Clackmannanshire and Fife, Scotland connecting the stations between Stirling and Dunfermline. It joined the Devon Valley Railway at Alloa. Clackmannanshire, sitting on several layers of coal seams and with a developing industry spreading along the banks of the River Forth, was a natural target for a railway.

A specially chartered steam train passes Bogside signal box in 1959.


It was opened progressively between 1849 and 1863.Trains commenced running between Dunfermline and Oakley in 1849 and extending to Alloa in 1850. In 1852 it reached Stirling. In 1851 a short branch down to Alloa harbour was constructed. The Alva Railway Company opened another 3½ mile branch to Menstrie and Alva in 1863. [1] later these lines became part of the North British Railway network. Following the grouping in 1923, it became part of the LNER. On nationalisation, in 1947, LNER itself was taken over by British Railways.


The ground between Stirling and Dunfermline is fairly flat and featureless causing no major problems for railway constructors. Following the opening of the line passengers and goods could be ferried across the Forth from Alloa enabling them to catch trains running through the central belt. In 1885 a 1600 feet 20 span swing bridge across the river was opened doing away with the need for ferries. At Stirling there was a dispute with the Scottish Central Railway over the use of their bridge. The S & D was forced to build a second bridge for its line. They also had to construct a separate station with a half mile extension to the line which was hardly ever used and was soon closed. [1] There was a little more construction in the 1950s when a marshalling yard was brought into use between Cambus and Alloa. It handled all the goods traffic in the district.


Coal trains serviced the needs of the power stations in the locality. The Alva branch served the Menstrie and Glenochil distilleries. There were also a number of paper making and furniture factories along with several woollen mills in the area. [2] All these made use of the railway. Passengers too made good use of the line. There could be up to eight trains per day in each direction. Some of these provided purely a local service, while others went as far as Edinburgh. The branch to Alva was also well used. In 1948 there were as many as nine trains traversing the branch line each weekday.


The greater use of road transport caused this line to become uneconomic. First to close on 1 November 1954 was the branch to Alva. Passenger services on the rest of the line were withdrawn on Saturday 5 October 1968 (as a result of the Beeching Axe) with freight services continuing until the early 1980s. The line to the west of Alloa remained in situ for some years thereafter, latterly to serve the distillery at Menstrie until 1993.

Railway viaduct in Dunfermline


Under Scottish Executive funding and to relieve congestion on the Forth Railway Bridge the line between Stirling and Alloa was reopened to passenger traffic.[3] Construction work started in 2005, with tracklaying commencing at the end of September 2006.

The line re-opened to freight traffic between Stirling and Kincardine in April 2008. The line re-opened to passenger traffic as far as Alloa on 19 May 2008 with pre-opening charters on 15 May 2008.

Connections to other railways[edit]



  1. ^ a b Bruce, William Scott (1980). The Railways of Fife. The Melven Press. pp. 125 – 138. ISBN 0-906664-03-9. 
  2. ^ Thomas & Turnock, John & Thomas (1980). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume 15 North of Scotland. David & Charles. pp. 30 – 35. ISBN 0-946537-03-8. 
  3. ^ Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine re-opening Web Site