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Scottish Steam

Scottish Steam

The Borders Last Days of Steam

The Borders Last Days of Steam

Lothian Express

Aberdeen Express

Tay Bridge Train


Scotland Railways

Early Scottish railways were horse-worked, with wooden rails, carrying coal to navigable water! tor transport in ships. In 1721 the first ran from Tranent to Cockenzie, East Lothian. By the late 18th century there were several in Central Scotland and iron rails were replacing wood. In 1812 the Kilmarnock and Troon was opened as Scotland’s first public railway. It had a passenger service, as did the Elgin Railway in west Fife.

The first wooden railway in Scotland was the Monkland and Kirkintilloch (1826), a coal line built with wrought-iron rails. The Edinburgh and Dalkeith (1B31) was similar. The first locomotive-worked line was the Garnkirk and Glasgow (1831). The success ot the Liverpool and Manchester Railway (1830) led to a vogue for locomotive worked lines carrying passengers and general freight between significant centres of population.

Scottish examples ran from Dundee to Arbroath and
Forfar, and from Glasgow to Greenock, Ayr and Edinburgh, all opened by 1842. Longer-distance routes followed, of which the first was the North British Railway, from Edinburgh to Berwick (tB46). The profitability of these early main-line railway companies led to a Railway Mania with investors speculating in railway shares. This led to the construction of a network of railways linking Carlisle to Glasgow (via Lockerbie and va Dumfries), to Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee. There were also routes from Ednburgh to Dundee, with ferries across the Forth and Tay, and to Hawick. Anglo Scottsh services operated via Berwick and Carlisle. The boom collapsed in 1849, and during the 1850's few railways were built, apart from some cheaper railways, for instance from Stirling to Balloch, and from Leuchars to St Andrews.

During the 1850's the commercal and operating problems
of running railway networks were largely solved. Track and signalling were improved, and more powerful locomotives and better rolling stock developed. In the late 1850's confidence returned, and lines were built between then and the mid 1850's from Dunkeld to Inverness and Bonar Bridge, from Dumfries to Portpatrick, and from Aberdeen to Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff, Macduff and Inverness.

In the mid 1B60's most of Scotland’s railways were amalgamated into 4 companies, the North British, Caledonian, Glasgow and South Western, and Great North of Scotland railways. These companes built new stations in the city centres, and rebuilt existing stations to cope with increasing traffic.

Rising living standards in the 1880's and 1890's made leisure travel popular. Suburban lines were also built, especially in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The popularity of the Clyde estuary resorts led to the development of rail linked steamer services by the Caledonian, North British and Glasgow and South Western raIways, with new piers at Wemyss Bay, Craigendoran, Greenock and Ardrossan.

In Glasgow underground lines were built serving suburban, and in the case of the North British, Clyde Coast traffic. The Caledonian and the Glasgow and South Western both expanded their city-centre stations for Clyde Coast and suburban traffic. Construction of suburban lines was however halted a fter 1901 by the electrification and extension of the Glasgow and Paisley street tramways.

During World War I Britain’s railways were controlled by
the Government. The advantages of this were such that in 1921 an Act was passed grouping most of Britain’s companies into 4 large concerns. Scotland’s railways were spit between the London, Midland and Scottish Caledonian and Glasgow and South Western and London, and North Eastern (North British and Great North of Scotland) railways. The weakness of the British economy, and increasing road competition, meant that the new companies struggled. The railways were nationalised in
1948, and some line closures followed in the early 1950's.
In 1955 a programme of modernisation began, replacing
steam by diesel traction on most lines. The Glasgow suburban routes were electrifed.

The 1960's saw a drastic rationalisation of the network. Social considerations saved lines to Wick and Thurso, Kyle of Lochalsh, Mallaig and Oban, but the Borders
lines, the Dumfries to Stranraer route, and the direct line from Perth to Montrose via Forfar all closed. Wagon freight also ended, with the closure of many freight-only lines. Within a very short time the railways ceased to offer a comprehensive transport service.

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