|Rolling stock||Class 158, Class 156|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The line was built between 1863 and 1865 as the Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway, part of the Caledonian Railway. It opened to goods traffic (mainly coal and iron) in September 1865 and to passengers in August 1866. It has been in continuous operation ever since. Stations in the first service on the line were at Carmyle, Broomhouse (now Mount Vernon), Baillieston, Langloan and Whifflet High Level (until 1964). Passenger services ceased in November 1966 following the Beeching Axe (latterly running to Coatbridge Central). Between 1972 and 1974 period scheduled passenger trains between Glasgow Central and Perth used the route. For the following twenty years, the route was only used for freight and diverted passenger services. However the line reopened to scheduled passenger services with intermediate stations on 4 October 1993, running to the newly built station at Whifflet rather than Coatbridge Central as previously.
The modern line currently serves seven stations. It connects parts of south east Glasgow, Bargeddie and Coatbridge to Glasgow city centre. Between Glasgow Central and Rutherglen, the line shares the same track as the West Coast Main Line (and is hence electrified up until here), before branching off in a north easterly direction towards Coatbridge (this section is not electrified).
The route is operated by First ScotRail. The line is not electrified.
2009 service pattern
Trains operate at a half hour frequency. All services are scheduled to run as two car trains only, although a four carriage service is technically possible should the need arise in the future. Services are operated using Class 158 diesel multiple units and the occasional Class 156 DMU. Three trains operating on this route during the day, usually remaining dedicated on this service throughout the day.
There is currently no Sunday service on this line, however a reduced timetable occasionally operates on Sundays over the Christmas period, to accommodate the extra shoppers. One of these extra trains per hour is usually extended to terminate at Shotts.
In 2006, Network Rail announced tentative proposals to electrify the Rutherglen - Whifflet section, as part of a £1.4bn upgrade to Scotland's railways. The main benefits of this scheme would appear to provide an enhanced frequency for the Whifflet-Central routes and to provide an electric diversionary path for long distance WCML services. If the plan is successful either Class 320 or Class 318 would be used on Whifflet routes instead of current stock Class 156 and Class 158 (prior to the electrification). Electrification also would mean the Whifflet Line being added to the Argyle Line system with services through Glasgow Central Low Level to the western suburbs. This is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. OCLC 22311137.
- Yonge, John (May 1987). Gerald Jacobs, ed. British Rail Track Diagams - Book 1: ScotRail (1st edition ed.). Exeter: Quail Map Company. ISBN 0-9006-0948-6.
- Yonge, John (February 1993). Gerald Jacobs, ed. Railway Track Diagams - Book 1: Scotland and the Isle of Man (2nd edition ed.). Exeter: Quail Map Company. ISBN 0-9006-0995-8.
- Yonge, John (April 1996). Gerald Jacobs, ed. Railway Track Diagams - Book 1: Scotland and the Isle of Man (3rd edition ed.). Exeter: Quail Map Company. ISBN 1-8983-1919-7.
- Yonge, John (2007). Gerald Jacobs, ed. Railway Track Diagams - Book 1: Scotland & Isle of Man (Quail Track Plans) (fifth edition ed.). Bradford on Avon: "Trackmaps (formerly Quail Map Co)".. ISBN 978-0-9549866-3-6. OCLC 79435248.
- Page 25 - First ScotRail timetable for this route.