Holytown Tunnel

Location type


Name and dates

Holytown Tunnel (1834-1855)

Opened on the Wishaw and Coltness Railway.
Opened on the Mossend Marshalling Yard (Caledonian Railway).


This tunnel was in the Carnbroe Estate and was opened out in 1855. It was on the Wishaw and Coltness Railway between, using modern references, the M8 (to the north) and Mossend Marshalling Yard (to the south). The tunnel may have been twin bore. Known as either Holytown or Carnbroe Tunnel.

The opening out of the tunnel was included in the act for the Caledonian Railway. The tunnel was opened out by contractor Alexander Wilson who later took the Caledonian Railway to court as the excavated ground turned out not to be earth but rock.

The Ordnance Survey Name Book refers to it thus

The Tunnel near this, of the Wishaw & Coltness Section of the Caledonian Railway, is being cut through for the purpose of doing away with it. It has been worked for that purpose for 2 years & it is probable that the same will be taken before it is completed. The Tunnel was condemmed as dangerous.

The Caledonian Railway, having taken over the Wishaw and Coltness Railway in 1948, embarked on a series of improvements on what was now a main line rather than a largely mineral line. From 1849 trains from London and the south used this route to approach the new Buchanan Street terminus in Glasgow. To the south, the Motherwell Deviation (Caledonian Railway) opened in 1857 replacing the deteriorating Jerviston Viaduct as well as improving the layout in Motherwell.




Carnbroe Tunnel

External links

NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67


25/01/1834Wishaw and Coltness Railway
First portion of line opened from Whifflet to Holytown [1st] for minerals. (This portion included the Holytown Tunnel south of Carnbroe.)
  /  /1854Wishaw and Coltness Railway
Authorisation to open out the Holytown Tunnel. (Associated with other improvements such as the Motherwell Deviation (Caledonian Railway) authorised in the same year.)
  /  /1855Wishaw and Coltness Railway
Holytown Tunnel opened out.


A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain: Scotland - The Lowlands and the Borders v. 6 (Regional railway history series)

Old Newmains and the Villages Around Wishaw

Old Wishaw

Wishaw 1896: Lanarkshire Sheet 18.03 (Old O.S. Maps of Lanarkshire)