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The Railways  by Jim Howie

The towns of Airdrie and Coatbridge (collectively known as the Monklands), played a vital role in the early development of the railway system of Scotland, the Monkland & Kirkintilloch and Glasgow, Garnkirk & Coatbridge Railway companies being two of  the first railways in the country.  It is generally recognized that the G.G. & C was the first railway to be run as a "proper" railway, rather than the older companies which were little more than horse drawn waggonways. Despite this pivotal position the area has never had it's history told in one comprehensive volume, and this web page only scratches the surface!  

Probably the best and most detailed historical description of the area was by the late John Thomas in the chapter aptly titled  "The Cradle of Scottish Railways" in his book "A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain, Vol.6 - Scotland, The Lowlands and Borders", and for further information on the history of this area, I recommend that you read this book and the other publications listed in the appendix.

I became aware of the local network as a schoolboy in the 1960's and I can just remember the last few years of steam in the area.  Whifflet yard and Coatbridge Central became my favoured spotting locations and I started to take an interest in the local history after walking some of the disused branch lines and becoming intrigued by where they went to and why.  

This page started out as just another part of Lowland Locomotives" as a photographic gallery, but as I started to do some background research for the various locations the snowball started to roll as more and more information came to light.  As fresh sources of information were found to solve some puzzles, further enigmas were uncovered! If you know of any glaring errors in the text please advise me of corrections that are required, or if you have additional information I would appreciate your help. You will see a few entries with question marks!

The area has been transformed in the last 30 years, with the spread of electrification and the disappearance of mineral branches, freight sidings and that once common structure - the signal box.   In general, with the exception of container traffic, freight workings which originate in the towns have gone, while passenger traffic has increased to the point where Coatbridge must be one of the best served towns in the U.K., in terms of the number of passenger stations per head of population.

 

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