muirkirk in the hills of ayrshire - from the muirkirk enterprise group


MuirkirkRailways in Muirkirk

The railway came to Muirkirk on 9th August 1848 with the opening of the Auchinleck to Muirkirk branch line of the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway (GPK&AR) and the arrival of Engine No 31, The Orion.

The original Muirkirk Railway Station was opened on 9 August 1848 as the terminus of the Muirkirk branch of the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway. (later absorbed into the Glasgow and South-Western Railway). This station was located at NGR NS 692 263 This station was replaced by a new station in 1896.

The new Muirkirk Railway Station was opened in 1896, becoming the terminus of the Muirkirk branch of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway. This station had an end-on junction with the Carstairs, Glenbuck, Muirkirk junction of the Caledonian Railway. The new station closed to regular passenger traffic on 5 October 1964 when the last train left for Lanark.. 

THE "NEW" RAILWAY, 1918 - Extracted from Cairntable Echoes - Glenbuck Memories
What was termed the "new" railway when it was laid between ten and twenty years ago, by the Caledonian Railway Company, linking up the existing railway from Lesmahagow to Gallawhistle Pit, Glenbuck, with that at Muirkirk, it is now approaching probably its last phase. The railway was completed, but was never opened for traffic. Some years ago the rails were lifted. These are being re-laid by contractors for the purpose of dismantling the bridges and removing the iron girders from the several inconsiderably viaducts which spans the glens at Crossflatt, Ponesk, and Glenbuck, for, it is said, use in France.


Images of the Railway in Muirkirk

Picture of Muirkirk railwaymen - click to enlarge the picture


This is believed to be be a picture taken at Muirkirk Railway Station.

Front row, third from left is understood to be Thomas Palmer, originally from Cumbria.

Can anyone put any more names to faces? Or a guess at the date?

Click on the picture for a larger image.


Muirkirk railwaymen Thomas Palmer (right) and Will Parker pictured at Kilmarnock Station


This picture originally appeared in the Daily Record with the headline "Is This My Holiday train?" and caption "This wee girl with her holiday kit made sure she boarded the right train at Kilmarnock Station on Saturday, at the beginning of the Kilmarnock Grozet Fair, when large numbers left the town for coast and country."

On the footplate are Muirkirk railwaymen Will Parker (left) and Thomas Palmer (right).

Send any info to

Click on the picture for a larger image.





Muirkirk Engine Sheds 1951Muirkirk Engine Shed in 1951. For railway buffs, the engine is the ex Caledonian Railway 4-4-0 LMS 3P No 54504.

4-4-0-Engine Number 40572 at Muirkirk in September 19514-4-0-Engine Number 40575 at Muirkirk in September 1951


Muirkirk Railway Station in May 1958Muirkirk Railway Station photographed in 1958

Muirkirk Turntable 1959Engine 40574 on Muirkirk turntable in 1959

77105 at Muirkirk Railway Station 1961
Engine 77015 at Muirkirk Railway Station in 1961

Muirkirk Engine Shed in 1962
Muirkirk Engine Shed in 1962

Railway Engines 57566, 44322 and 44283 at Muirkirk on 30th June 1963
Steam Day at Muirkirk Railway Shed 30th June 1963

LNER B1 61342 at Muirkirk April 1966
Rail Tour at Muirkirk April 1966 LNER B1 61342 at Muirkirk 10th April 1966

Caledonian Railway 123 at Muirkirk
Caledonian Railway engine 123 refuelling at Muirkirk

Muirkirk Signal Box No. 2 1951
Muirkirk Signal Box No. 2

The Muirkirk to Lanark train departing Inches station
The Muirkirk to Lanark train departing Inches station headed my LMS engine 40154


Shunter at Kames Colliery 1968
Shunter at Kames Colliery 1968

Muirkirk Railway Viaduct
A rare view of a viaduct on the Muirkirk line
NCB Ayrshire Area locomotive No. 13 at Kames Colliery 11th September 1968
The NCB Ayrshire area locomotive No. 13 viewed at Kaimes Colliery on 11th September 1968 and in a somewhat sorry state.


Muirkirk Station Masters

from Cairntable Echoes:-

  • ROBERT ANDERSON LESLIE 1844: 1851 - 6 yrs, living with Anderson grandparents in Cooperhill, Edinkillie, Moray. 1861 - 16 yrs, apprentice clerk, living with parents and sister.  1871 - 26 yrs, Railway Station Master, dwelling Railway Station House, Muirkirk with wife and 3 children.  1881 - 36 yrs, Railway Station Master, dwelling Railway Station House, Muirkirk, with wife and 5 children. (No sign of daughter  Agnes) 1891 - 46 yrs, inspector of Poor Register & C!, dwelling Hope Villa, Muirkirk with wife and 5 children - visiting minister and wife in household. 1901 - 56 yrs, Inspector of Poor, dwelling Wellwood St On Remore Cott., Muirkirk, with wife and 3 adult daughters.
    Wife AGNES H abt 1843: 1871 - 28 yrs.  1881 - 38 yrs. 1891 - 48 yrs.  1901 - 58 yrs.
  • 1870 - Mr R. A. Leslie
  • 1907 - Mr W. Y. Millar came to Muirkirk as Stationmaster in 1899, and retired through ill health, and was replaced in September, 1908, by Mr Robert Brown, the predecessor of Mr Millar.
  • To-day (1st May 1917) we have to record the death of Mr R. A. Leslie, J.P., "Remore," Wellwood Street. Mr Leslie was born
    at Remore in Nairnshire. His business training was begun in the office of a banker and solicitor in Nairn. He spent some
    time in Glasgow, but bad health forced him to seek outdoor employment and took up duries with the North British Railway Co. Mr Leslie was appointed Stationmaster at Muirkirk in 1870, being transferred from Galston. In 1882 Mr Leslie
    was appointed Inspector of Poor, School Board Clerk, and Registrar of this Parish, from which, to the regret of all, he
    retired two years ago owing to failing health, but was retained in the capacity of consulting clerk. Mr Leslie took his full
    share in the public life of the village. Interested in music, he took a leading part in the formation of the late Choral Union- once a power in Muirkirk musically. In 1910 he was appointed Justice of the Peace.
  • LESLIE.-Mr Alexander Leslie (retired Stationmaster) died at Saltcoats on 27th March 1937.
  • 1945 - Mr Thomas Waugh, Stationmaster at Muirkirk for six years, was replaced by Mr D. Kerr from Newton-on-Ayr. Mr Kerr, incidentally, is a brother of Mr E. M. Kerr of the Clydesdale Bank here in Muirkirk.
  • 1956 - Mr A. Graham, Stationmaster at Muirkirk since 1951, has been transferred to Newton-upon-Ayr.
  • 1958 - Mr A. Bryden, Stationmaster at Muirkirk, was transferred to Stranraer Harbour. He was replaced by Mr James Grant.
  • 1961 A link with our district in days gone by was severed by the passing on 31st October at Hitchen, Herts., of Mr Andrew Fergusson, who had been residing with his daughter and sonin- law at Ickleford. Mr Fergusson, who was 84 years of age, was a native of Carsphairn, and started as a signalman on the railway at Glenbuck early in the century. He became stationmaster at Glenbuck back in 1921, and after ten years in that capacity he was transferred to Carnwath Station, finally ending his railway career at High Blantyre. He spent some time in retirement at Cambuslang before the
    family moved to England. The funeral took place to Muirkirk cemetery. Mr Fergusson was predeceased by his wife 29 years ago. She was Margaret Young Johnstone, a member of the wellknown family who farmed at Airdsgreen.
  • 1962 - Mr W. McCubbin is the new Stationmaster at Muirkirk. Mr McCubbin, who was formerly in charge at Cronberry and Lugar, will continue to control the three stations


  • William Rae (later relief signalman at Muirkirk and Inches Stations)


  • William Rae - relief signalman at Muirkirk and Inches Stations)


  • J McCall - 1909 (age 26 GSWR )

Accidents on Muirkirk's Railways

  • 14th December 1867 - train misroute was reported by the Glasgow and South Western Railway
  • 17th May 1875 - collision was reported by the Glasgow and South Western Railway
  • Memorial near Commondyke Station to Sister Laurienne8th August 1888 - pedestrian killed crossing line
    To the north of Commondyke station is a memorial a cross, in memory of Sister Laurienne who was struck by a train when crossing the railway line. The memorial reads "AT THE DISTANCE OF EIGHT FEET IN FRONT OF THIS SPOT THE REV SISTER LAURIENNE WAS ACCIDENTALLY KILLED ON THE 8TH DAY OF AUGUST 1888." The driver was Johnnie Goodfellow, and the engine No. 90, an 0-4-0 from Muirkirk.
  • 7th June 1956 - Railway Fatal Accident
    When the 1pm train from Lanark arrived at Muirkirk Station, a man's cap was discovered on the front of the engine.
    On investigation the body of 68 year old William Findlay of 17 Lapriak Avenue was found on the line about a quarter of a mile east of the Station. It was thought that Mr Findlay, who had some deafness, had been walking towards the station when the accident happened.

Muirkirk Railway Closures

  • Cronberry, GASSWATER SIDING g f to Muirkirk - Glasgow & S Western - 07-Feb-1969 - Used by rail tour 10-May-1969
  • Ponfeigh to Muirkirk - Caledonian - 05-Oct-1964
  • Muirkirk to Lanark
    Passenger services from Muirkirk ceased in October 1964 when the last diesel multiple unit left for Lanark, driven by John Shankley. A photograph of this train can be seen here on the Ayrshire Villages website

Railway Links

Ayrshire's last days of steam

Ayrshire's Last Days of Steam

Concentrating on the 1950s and '60's, the last days of steam before diesel, electric power, and Dr Beeching's deadly axe changed the railways for ever. This collection of photographs from that era, taken by acclaimed railway historian and photographer W.A.C. Smith, are an invaluable record of the time when steam ruled and trains were never late. Featuring many of the stations which once served all of Ayrshire, the 59 excellent photographs include locations at Kilmarnock, Darvel, Mauchline, Dalry, Kilwinning, Saltcoats, and others together with familiar rolling stock of the day.

More information on this book can be found on the Stenlake Publishing website

Lost railways of Ayrshire and Renfrewshire by Stenlake Publishing

Ayrshire & Renfrewshire's Lost Railways

Fascinating statistics on the now closed lines and demolished stations from these two counties, accompanied by 52 old photographs showing many of the locations in their prime. The original Wemyss Bay station, forerunner to the extravagant mock-Tudor structure that exists today, a railbus at Crosshouse, and the sorry spectacle of Kilwinning East station during demolition are some of the many subjects.

More information on this book can be found on the Stenlake Publishing website