Clydesdale Railway Guaranteed Company Dividend Warrant 1879
The Clydesdale Junction Railway company was formed to build a railway connecting Motherwell and Hamilton with Glasgow, in Scotland.
Conceived for local journeys, it was used by the main line Caledonian Railway to get access to Glasgow, and was soon taken over by the larger company. The route formed an alternative main line to Glasgow for the Caledonian, and eventually was the dominant route to the city.
Although the Company was taken over before completion of its line, its short route remains in heavy use today as part of the West Coast Main Line, carrying heavy inter-city and suburban traffic, and some freight.The Clydesdale Junction Railway was promoted to connect Hamilton and Motherwell with the southern side of Glasgow, by joining the eastern end of the Polloc and Govan Railway, and forming a short line from it to a Glasgow terminal.
It obtained an authorising Act of Parliament on 31 July 1845, with capital of £330,000. At Motherwell it linked with the Wishaw and Coltness Railway at a point a little east of the present-day station and junction.The engineers for the line were Joseph Locke and John Edward Errington, the contractor was the firm of Brassey, Mackenzie and Stephenson.
The Clydesdale, like the Caledonian, had been authorised at the height of the railway mania, and the inevitable slump was now in force. The Clydesdale found it difficult to get subscriptions paid, and in November 1847 considered deferring further construction. However Thomas Brassey agreed to continue the work against credit, in effect financing the construction himself.The line opened between Rutherglen and Motherwell on 1 June 1849, between Newton and Hamilton on 10 September 1849.[note 1] At this time the General Terminus and Glasgow Harbour Railway made a connection to the Clydesdale line at Larkfield Junction, giving access from the Motherwell direction to River Clyde shipping berths at General Terminus.
On 27 September 1848 the Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston Direct Railway (GB&NDR) had opened a Glasgow terminus called South Side,[note 2] located in the angle where Cathcart Road and Pollokshaws Road converge. The Clydesdale Junction line formed a northward extension from the original Polloc and Govan line, reaching its own South Side station alongside the GB&NDR station. At first both stations were primitive affairs, but in 1849 the reception building was rebuilt to an imposing design by the architect William Tite.
The Caledonian was engaged in extending the Townhead line to a new Glasgow terminus called Buchanan Street, but in November 1849 it was advertising two daily return trains to Edinburgh from South Side; the trains ran to and from Greenock over the friendly Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway. The Greenock line did not run directly into South Side, and the trains must have run to Larkfield Junction and reversed into South Side before continuing their journey. The route to Edinburgh was via Carstairs. There were five return journeys to Hamilton.By now the Clydesdale line was an intrinsic part of the Caledonian Railway, but the Clydesdale Junction Railway Company continued to exist, expecting to receive its guaranteed 6%. In fact the Caledonian had significantly over-reached itself financially, in desperation to acquire or lease numerous railways under construction so as to secure territory against competitors. For some time it had been failing to make the payments that were due, and there were suggestions of major financial irregularity within the Caledonian. In 1851 the Clydesdale company in concert with other concerns in the same position; the Caledonian attempted to stall by objecting that they should not have to pay out for railways that gave them inadequate income, but this was an obvious distortion of the legal position, and in May the Caledonian had to agree to pay £20,000 in arrears to the Clydesdale. An agreement later that year guaranteed payments of £25,250 annually in perpetuity, money that at the time the Caledonian could ill afford.
The Clydesdale Junction Railway itself was now simply a part of the Caledonian Railway, and its small extent made it a minor part. Nonetheless it was a key part of the system. When Glasgow Central station opened in 1879, all of the Carlisle traffic was diverted to that terminus, running over the Clydesdale Junction line.
As suburban traffic developed towards the end of the nineteenth century and in the following decades, the route became increasingly important.
South Side station closed in 1877 but the site was developed as a goods yard; in the 1970s it became Gushetfaulds Railfreight Terminal, and then Gushetfaulds Freightliner Terminal. However opening of the Euroterminal at Coatbridge rendered that redundant, and the site closed to rail use.
The curving route to the north end of the terminal brings it close to the old City of Glasgow Union Railway line, and it has been suggested that a link there would be part of the Crossrail Glasgow scheme, enabling through running from the Motherwell direction to the north side of the Clyde at Bellgrove and beyond. However the Crossrail Glasgow scheme is as yet unfunded.