A History of Britain’s Railways

Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway

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Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway

This line is open. The line forms part of the Glasgow to Carlisle via Kilmarnock and Dumfries route (the Glasgow and South Western Railway or GSW main line) which is open for both passengers and freight. Passenger services are operated by ScotRail. The line is single-track between Annan and Gretna. A new loop at Thornhill has been opened as the line has seen a major increase in use and its capacity is limited.

Survey To be entered
Engineers To be entered
Act 16 July 1846
Contractors To be entered
Opened To be entered
Closed No

Passenger train heading north, just south of Mennock.
Passenger train heading north, just south of Mennock.

Cairn Valley Railway New Cumnock Waggonway Clickable map of the Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway

Local area


This line runs through mostly farmland. There was coal-mining at New Cumnock and Kirkconnel and a large military base between Dornock and Gretna.



Description of route 


This line ran from Horsecleugh by Old Cumnock to Gretna Junction. (It is alternatively quoted as having run from Closeburn to Gretna). The company had running powers over the Caledonian Railway from Gretna Junction to Carlisle.

Old Cumnock


This was the southern extent of the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway. The Glasgow, Dumfries and Carlisle Railway extended the former line to Carlisle.

Bank Junction


This junction faces north-west. This is the junction for the Knockshinnoch washery. There is no signalbox.



This is a former coalmine, now used as a washery. The bunker is at the end of a single track branch from Bank Junction. Just by the washery is a level crossing with gates operated by the traincrew. For more on this branch see the New Cumnock Waggonway page.

New Cumnock


This station was re-opened by Railtrack. It has a signalbox at the west end and a southbound goods loop and siding.



This is a two platform station with some sidings and a signalbox at its west end. There was a coalmine bordering the station to the north of the line at the west end of the station.


The station here was re-opened on the 27th of June 1994 by Railtrack.



There were sidings here which were used by the iron mines at Wanlockhead and Leadhills. This was not a station, but the summit of the line.



The station at Carronbridge is closed ans is now a house.



Thornhill is a closed station with a passing loop and a signalbox. The southbound loop has recently been opened to increase traffic paths on this line. The platforms, signalbox and main building still stand at this closed station. Semaphore signalling is used here.



Portrack Viaduct


Portrack Viaduct was recently replaced with a new viaduct immediately to its east. The old alignment of the approaching embankment from the south is now part of the gardens of a nearby house and has a number of art exhibits. A short section of track here has a locomotive on it.


Cairn Valley Junction 
(Cairn Valley Railway (Glasgow and South Western Railway)



Dumfries station is a large station with buildings built in red sandstone. The station was re-built and enlarged by the Glasgow and South Western Railway. The original station had two tracks between teh platforms, the southbound platform being largely unused, the northbound platform being mostly used for southbound departures for convenience of the passengers. After re-building there were three tracks between the two through platforms - the centre road being used to release engines or store stock.

At the north end of the station was a junction between the main line and the lines west to Castle Douglas, Stranraer and Portpatrick (Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway) and east to Lockerbie (Dumfries, Lochmaben and Lockerbie).






Annan station has two platforms and a glazed canopy. The goods yard is usually used for track maintenance machines these days. The signalbox remains open here. To the east of the station the line becomes single track. This single track section ends at Gretna and causes capacity problems.

Annan Solway Junction? 
(Solway Junction Railway) 




At Eastriggs there are sidings for a military depot served from a west facing junction. These sidings are the stub of thr former military railway which ran east from here through Gretna to Longtown.


Gretna Green


This is a new station. Immediately to its east is the old Gretna Green station where the single track from Annan becomes double. This single track section causes capacity problems.

Gretna Green (Old) 

Gretna Junction


This junction with the Caledonian Railway was in Scotland, just to the north of a large viaduct and the Caledonian Railway's Gretna station. The junction faced south towards Carlisle. Coming from the south, the line to Dumfries turned from northwards to westwards on a fairly tight radius.

Page created on 20/01/1998
Page last edited on: 11/03/2012
Contact: Ewan Crawford