Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway

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Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway
Leadhills & Wanlockhead Railway 05-08-29 64.jpeg
Locomotive No.6 Clyde with typical train at Leadhills station
Locale Scotland
Dates of operation 1986–Present
Track gauge 2 ft (610 mm)
Headquarters Leadhills

The Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, is laid on the trackbed of the former Leadhills and Wanlockhead Branch of the Caledonian Railway which led off the main line between Carlisle and Glasgow at Elvanfoot.


The "preserved" section runs from Leadhills for about 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) towards Wanlockhead and is the highest adhesion railway in the UK. The rack and pinion Snowdon Mountain Railway is higher. Trains are currently diesel worked with the locomotive propelling the train up hill away from Leadhills.

The original railway closed in the late 1930s shortly after the mines in Wanlockhead had closed.

The railway currently stops at the border of South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway.


Trains operate on the push-pull principle as there are no run round loop facilities at the end of the run. Movements within the main station site at Leadhills are controlled from the reconstructed signal box which contains the original lever frame from Arrochar and Tarbet signal box.

Bus replacement[edit]

For two weeks during July 2016 the railway operated an extended service, connecting with local bus routes, as the road between Wanlockhead and Leadhills was closed for repairs.[1]


Most locomotives are fitted with air brakes to allow them to operate passenger trains.

Number Name Builder Type Date Works number Livery Notes
2 Elvan Motor Rail 4wDM 1955 9792 Blue Built for the London Brick Company, King's Dyke Works, Whittlesea.
4 Luce Ruston and Hornsby 4wDM 1966 7002/0467/6 Green Built for contractors Edmund Nuttall Ltd, Leith. Acquired 1987
5 Little Clyde Ruston and Hornsby 4wDM 1966 7002/0467/2 Green Built for contractors Edmund Nuttall Ltd, Leith. Acquired 1987
6 Clyde Hunslet 4wDM 1975 6347 Blue Built for National Coal Board, Eppleton Colliery. Acquired 1990
8 Nith Hudswell Clarke 4wDMF 1956 DM1002 Red Built for the National Coal Board, Waterloo Main Colliery. Acquired 1993
9 Charlotte Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0WT 1913 6335 Black Acquired 1994. Being restored to full working order.
(10) Mennock Hunslet-Barclay 0-4-0DM 1994 LD 9348
(11) Decauville 0-4-0T 1915 917 Under restoration
12 Clayton 4wDM 1994 18190B
21 Moeyse 4wDM 1941

Rolling stock[edit]

The railway maintains four air-braked coaches for use on its passenger trains. Three of the coaches are mounted on ex-peat wagon underframes, the fourth is mounted on the chassis of a former Simplex locomotive.

There are many wagons around the railway including the ubiquitous Hudson skip wagons and examples from RNAD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "'Replacement' train offer as road shuts". BBC News. 4 July 2016. 
  • Thomas, Cliff (2002). The Narrow Gauge in Britain & Ireland. Atlantic Publishers. ISBN 1-902827-05-8. 
  • Keggans, Sandie (2004). Transporting the Lead. Wanlockhead Museum Trust. ISBN 0-9530645-3-0. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°24′25″N 3°45′50″W / 55.407°N 3.764°W / 55.407; -3.764