Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway letterhead 1846
The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway (GPK&AR) was a railway in Scotland that historically provided services between Glasgow, Kilmarnock and Ayr. Most of the railway is still in use as part of the Ayrshire Coast Line and Glasgow South Western Line.
1839 The railway first opened on 5 August 1839 between Ayr and Irvine, to Kilwinning on 23 March 1840, to Beith on 21 July 1840, allowing more direct passenger services from Kilmarnock to Ardrossan (via the Ardrossan Railway).
1840 there were five trains each day from Glasgow to Ayr in each direction
On 16 July 1846 the GPK&AR took over control of the Kilmarnock and Troon Railway, and in 1847 the company bought the Paisley and Renfrew Railway, however the sale would not be completed until 31 July 1852.
The GPK&AR also co-owned the Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway, which was operated as a joint undertaking with the Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway (later part of the Caledonian Railway). This line allowed trains access to Glasgow Bridge Street railway station: the original terminus at Glasgow.
The last line to open by the original company was a branch to Muirkirk from Auchinleck on 9 August 1848. The railway amalgamated with the Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway (GD&CR) on 28 October 1850 to form the Glasgow and South Western Railway (G&SWR).
Under the control of the Glasgow and South Western Railway, the former Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway had several of its stations closed, and several new ones opened. Some stations, such as Stewarton (later called Cunninghamhead) were closed and then reopened again some years later. A new station in Ayr was built in 1857 by the Ayr and Dalmellington Railway (who were absorbed by the G&SWR the following year), which became the new terminus for trains in the town, and as a result the original Ayr station was closed to passengers (but remained open for goods traffic).
Trains continued to run via the Glasgow and Paisley Joint Line (under the joint management of the Glasgow and South Western and Caledonian Railways) to Bridge Street station, which remained the Glasgow terminus of both companies until 1883.
The City of Glasgow Union Railway opened St Enoch railway station in 1876; in 1883 it became the headquarters of the G&SWR, and a result all G&SWR passenger services were moved to St Enoch railway station. From Shields Junction, G&SWR trains traversed the City of Glasgow Union Railway to reach St Enoch railway station.
1892 a new Troon station was built much nearer the centre of the town. The original Troon station was closed and its line became a means of bypassing the loop built for the new station. The line was closed on 18 April 1966, with Glasgow trains being forced to use the newer line to reach Ayr, and vice versa.
Various extensions and additional lines were added to the former GPK&AR during the Glasgow and South Western era: a line between Ayr and Mauchline was opened on 1 July 1870, with a connecting line to Cronberry opening on 1 July 1882; a branch to Darvel was opened south-east of Kilmarnock on 1 June 1896, a short branch to Catrine from Mauchline was opened on 1 September 1903, and an alternate route from Johnstone was Dalry was opened on 1 June 1905.
1923 the Glasgow and South Western Railway merged with six other major companies (and several other smaller companies) to form the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Information Courtesy of Graces Guide 2018