In 1860 the first part of the Hamilton and Strathaven Railway opened, climbing from the 1849 Hamilton Branch (Caledonian Railway) to the higher ground to the west at High Blantyre and then turn south, ultimately reaching Strathaven [Flemington]. In particular this line would, for its northern portion between Hamilton and Quarter, serve many collieries en route.
The connection was made north west of Hamilton station (now Hamilton West) The junction faced the station, so trains had to run round in Hamilton to continue north. There was a signal box, of sorts, from opening.
Mineral traffic was considerable - not just on the Strathaven line but also in the Hamilton area in general - and a large yard was laid out, Strathaven Junction Yard, on the north/east side of the junction (trains from the Strathaven line crossed over the Hamilton Branch to reach the yard). Hamilton Shed opened by the Hamilton terminus.
As collieries opened the Strathaven line was doubled. (The Hamilton branch was already double.) Greenfield Colliery Pits Nos 1 and 2 were even right next to the junction, trains from the colliery reversing on the H&S to reach Strathaven Junction.
In 1876 the Hamilton line was continued east to Lesmahagow Junction, Motherwell, and reversal was no longer needed. This allowed direct running to the Coatbridge and Motherwell iron and steel works.
The first conventional box was opened at the junction in 1882. This was on the west side of the junction. Abbotsford Road passed under the line here, the bridge being extended as the Strathaven Junction Yard opened, turning into more of a long tunnel.
Further, in 1882 a new chiefly minerals curve opened from Auchinraith Junction (on the H&S) and Blantyre Junction [CR] on the Hamilton branch, allowing approach to Glasgow, Hallside and the Govan Iron Works (notably the latter, which was owned by the Dixon family, who had been promoters of the Strathaven line).
Brief use, 1903-1904, was made for iron ore traffic from Ardrossan via the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway, East Kilbride and Strathaven Junction to reach iron works in Coatbridge and Motherwell. The L&A was completed to Newton in 1904 , a far superior route to the tortuous line via East Kilbride.
The route to East Kilbride closed in 1937 and the passenger service on the H&S ceased in 1945.
The line south of High Blantyre closed in 1953. The portion to High Blantyre was singled in 1957. It closed in 1960.
The Strathaven Junction Yard survived the closure, it still handled mineral traffic in the Hamilton area and from the Coalburn lines. The signal box remained open until 1971.
The Hamilton Circle remains open, carrying a regular electric train passenger service. Almost all of the H&S between Strathaven Junction and High Blantyre has been obliterated by industrial estates, road and house building.
Bothwell [North British]
Bothwell Park Halt
Meikle Earnock Halt
Calderwood Glen Platform
| Craighead Yard [Empty]|
Greenfield Colliery Pits Nos 1 and 2
Blantyre Junction [NBR]
Whitehill Wagon Works
Strathaven Junction Yard
C W Ireland Works
Craighead BP Chemicals Siding
Whistleberry Colliery Pits Nos 1 and 2
Craighead Yard [Loaded]
Auchinraith Junction [NBR]
Craighead Colliery Pits Nos 1 and 2
|Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.|