Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway

Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway

The Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway was an early mineral railway running from a colliery at Monklands to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Kirkintilloch, Scotland.

The railway was Authorised on 17 May 1824 and it opened on 1 October 1826.[1] Its main function was intended to be the transportation of coal, but iron ore and passengers were also carried. It was built to the Scotch gauge of 4 ft 6 in (1,372 mm).[1][2]

In 1848 it merged with two adjoining railway lines to become the Monkland Railways; which in turn were absorbed by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway.[1]


Formation of the railway

The Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway was set up by the owners of local canals, coal mines (coalmasters), iron works and iron mines (ironmasters). The railway was intended to work as a feeder, in conjunction with the canals, particularly the Monkland Canal, the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Union Canal, and the River Clyde, to transport these products to both Glasgow and Edinburgh.[3]

The engineer was Thomas Grainger.[3]

The route

The railway initially ran from the Palacecraig coal pit, near Airdrie, past Coatbridge and Gartsherrie, to a canal basin on the Forth and Clyde Canal at Kirkintilloch.[3] From here the goods could go by canal to either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Particularly for goods which had previously been transported from Monklands, via the Monkland Canal, the River Clyde and the Forth and Clyde Canal, to Edinburgh it shortened the journey time by one week. In 1833 the railway operated a wagon ferry on the Forth and Clyde Canal.[4]

The opening of the Slamannan Railway in 1840 reduced the distance to Edinburgh by another 24 miles (38.6 km).[5]

Attempted take over and change of gauge

The opening of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway in 1841 provided a competitive route for the transportation of coal and iron ore.

The Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway started negotiations in 1844 to take over the various Monkland Railways; and at the same time the railway companies applied for permission to change to Standard gauge.[3] In May 1846, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was refused permission to amalgamate and it decide to withdraw on 31 December 1846. The Caledonian Railway by that time had taken over the Wishaw and Coltness Railway and the Glasgow and Garnkirk Railway.[3]

The Ballochney Railway, the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway and the Slamannan Railway all obtained aurthorisation to change to Standard gauge between 1845 and 1846.[3] The three railways changed their gauge on 26 July and 27 July 1847.[3]

Amalgamation to form the Monkland Railways

On 14 August 1848 the Slamannan Railway merged with the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway and the Ballochney Railway to become the Monkland Railways.[1]

The Monkland Railways were absorbed by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway by an Act of Parliament, dated 5 July 1865, effective from 31 July 1865.[1] A day later (on 1 August 1865) the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway was absorbed into the North British Railway.

Links to other lines and modes of transportation



  1. ^ a b c d e Awdry, Page 149
  2. ^ Robertson
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Thomas
  4. ^ Marshall (1989)
  5. ^ Wishaw


  • Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0049-7. OCLC 19514063. 
  • Marshall, John (1989). The Guinness Railway Book. Enfield: Guinness. ISBN 0-85112-359-7. 
  • Popplewell, Lawrence. A Gazetteer of the Railway Contractors and Engineers of Scotland 1831 - 1914. (Vol. 1: 1831 - 1870 and Vol. 2: 1871 - 1914).. Bournmouth: Melledgen Press. ISBN 0-9066-3714-7. OCLC 19888025. 
  • Robertson, C.J.A. (1983). The Origins of the Scottish Railway System: 1722-1844 (1st ed.). Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-8597-6088-X. 
  • Thomas, John (1971). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume VI Scotland: The Lowlands and the Borders (1st ed.). Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5408-6. OCLC 16198685. 
  • Thomas, John; Paterson, Rev A.J.S. (1984). A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain. Volume VI Scotland: The Lowlands and the Borders (2nd ed.). Newton Abbott, Devon: David & Charles. ISBN 0-9465-3712-7. OCLC 12521072. 
  • Whishaw, Francis (Reprinted and republished 1969) [1840]. The Railways of Great Britain and Ireland practically described and illustrated (3rd ed.). Newton Abbott: David & Charles (1842 edition - London: John Weale). ISBN 0-7153-4786-1. 

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