The Paisley Canal railway line is a little bit odd, as services were reduced in the 1960s and 1970s, before it was finally closed down in 1983. Soon after closure and the demolition of key structures along the route, there was a new plan to re-open it again, with the line coming back into service in July 1990, even though there’s another line which goes from Glasgow to Paisley. Although I think it’s marvellous for a rail line to be brought back into usage, I’m surprised that this one was saved.
This map from the 1890s shows how strange this rail line is (clicking on the map makes it a little larger). The rail line at the top is beautifully straight (well, other than the curve, but my point is hopefully clear) whereas this canal line to the south of it is all over the show with its little curves and bends. That’s because they built the line on top of the former canal (hence the name), so it wasn’t really ideal in very many ways.
This is the departure boards at Glasgow Central railway station and this is where one of the first differences with the new Paisley Canal line becomes evident.
The railway line used to start at St. Enoch station, but that was knocked down in 1975. As can be seen above, they’ve now built a shopping on that site, so services have been to Glasgow Central railway station.
The train was departing from platform 12, as observant readers might notice.
I had to look this up (I’m not that much of a train geek), but this is a Class 380 train, built in Germany around ten years ago, operated by Abellio ScotRail.
The train wasn’t overly busy and was suitably clean throughout.
I was slightly surprised to see power points.
Some of the stations had to be reconstructed, but in many places only one platform was put back.
Previously operated by diesel locomotives, the line has now also been electrified, with the work being completed in 2012.
There was a platform there once….
And here’s the end of the line, Paisley Canal railway station. It didn’t always end here, it used to carry on to Kilmacolm and there are apparently vague plans put forwards to restoring it all the way.
This plaque was unveiled by the local MP, who at the time was Douglas Alexander who was also the Secretary of State for International Development. To be precise, he had been given that Cabinet the day before he unveiled this plaque, which likely wasn’t ideal timing. It notes that the work on the Ardrossan Canal was completed in 1811, being converted into a rail line in 1883.
A plaque noting the reopening of the line, although I’d like to see one next to it showing the politicians who had decided to close it just a few years before.
This is where the line used to continue, they’ve plonked some steps up to the bridge and made a big hole in that to give access to the road.
Looking back to the end of the line.