Leadhills and Wanlockhead Branch

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Leadhills and Wanlockhead Branch
(Caledonian Railway)
Stations (from east to west)

The Leadhills and Wanlockhead Light Railway was promoted by the Caledonian Railway, using the provisions of 1896 Light Railways Act.[1] It opened to traffic between Elvanfoot and Leadhills on 1 October 1901, with the remaining section to Wanlockhead on 19 September 1902.[1]

The line

It had a summit of 1,498 feet, which was the highest, for a Standard gauge line, in Great Britain.[1][2]

The line closed to passengers on 31 December 1938 and to freight shortly afterwards.[1][2]

A significant viaduct on the line (Rispin Cleugh viaduct) was built by Sir Robert McAlpine. It was built from concrete; but was clad with terracotta bricks to improve its appearance.[2] It was demolished with explosives in 1991 as the terracotta bricks were falling off.[2]

Rispin Cleugh viaduct shortly before being demolished.
Photographer:- Stewart D. Macfarlane
Date:- 11 November 1990


The narrow gauge Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, which is also a light railway, has been built on the track formation, west from Leadhills. Some terracotta bricks have been reused in a signal box.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Awdry
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Atterbury, pages 228 - 229
  • Atterbury, Paul (2004). Branch Line Britain. Newton Abbott: David and Charles. ISBN 0-7153-2416-0.
  • Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing. ISBN 1-8526-0049-7

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