About the Kilmarnock to Dumfries Line
There had been competing bids to link the Glasgow to Carlisle and the English railway network, with the Annandale line (now the West Coast Main Line) the preferrred option.
However, on March 9th, 1844, a provisional committee of the Glasgow & Carlisle Railway Company (GD&CR) was formed to promote the interests of Dumfries which was bypassed by the then proposed Annadale route.
This proposal went to Parliament as a Bill in the 1845 session as did the Annandale scheme. Locomotive power had improved, so the gradients over Annandale were less significant and the Annandale route could fork as it reached northwards and serve Edinburgh as well as Glasgow.
Parliament was still unwilling to sanction two major lines and on July 31st 1845, the Annandale route was successful in gaining Royal Assent. The supporters of the Nithsdale scheme did not give up and resolved to try again in the 1846 session and on August 13th, 1846 the Glasgow Dumfries and Carlisle Railway via Kilmarnock was authorised.
The GD&CR proceeded with construction contracts and on August 21st 1848 a special train for directors and their friends was run from Dumfries to Annan. The line opened to the public from Dumfries to Gretna on August 23rd, 1848.
On October 15th 1849, the line was opened from Dumfries to Closeburn and on May 20th, 1850, the final section was opened from Closeburn to Horsecleugh, where an end-on junction was made with the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway (GPK&AR) which opened from Auchinleck to that point on the same day.
The authorising Acts of Parliament of 1846 and 1847 had confirmed that the GD&CR would merge with the GPK&AR on completion of the GD&CR line; in fact the GPK&AR as senior partner absorbed the GD&CR, and changed its name to the Glasgow & South Western Railway.
On October 28th, 1850 therefore, the Glasgow and South Western railway started its existence, and the GD&CR was dissolved. Passenger services on this line are today operated by Abellio ScotRail.
If you would like any further information about this line, please email the Partnership.
© South West Scotland Community Rail Partnership, Girvan Railway Station, Vicarton Street, Girvan, KA26 9JF
Company No: SC460916 | Scottish Charity No: SC039478