John Speller's Web Pages G&SWR Muirkirk Branch

John Speller's Web Pages - G&SWR

G&SWR Muirkirk Branch G&SWR Horizontal
The Muirkirk Branch opened from Auchinleck on the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway (later G&SWR) main line to Muirkirk via Cronberry on 9 August 1848. In 1860 Nelsons' Handbook to Scotland described it in the following less than glowing terms: "Muirkirk Railway goes from Auchinleck Station, 10 miles eastward through Airsmoss, and among heathy uplands, to the town of Muirkirk. This is the most drearily situated town in Scotland, and exists chiefly for the working of iron."

At Muirkirk there was a connection with the Caledonian Railway to Lanark and Edinburgh Princes Street. The Glasgow & South Western Railway had running rights over the Caledonian Roailway from Muirkirk to Edinburgh, Leith and Granton. The Caledonian had reciprocal running rights from Muirkirk to Ayr. It is true that for a period the Caledonian Railway did connect some through coaches for Ayr to G&SWR trains at Muirkirk, but in the main Glasgow & South Western and Caledonian Railways could not overcome their differences sufficiently to exercise these running rights. This is a pity, since the route might then have proved an extremely profitable one to both companies.
Muirkirk train behind Manson 0-4-4T at Auchinleck
Mosshouse Viaduct on the Muirkirk Branch between Auchinleck and Cronberry
Muirkirk train at Kilmarnock behind ex-Caledonian Railway McIntosh "Dunalastair" 4-4-0 No. 14354. Fireman William Parker and Driver Thomas Palmer of the Muirkirk Shed
Muirkirk Station yard in around 1920. You can see what they meant about "the most drearily situated town in Scotland ..."
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