First rail service to capital since 1965?

Leaving soon? Could the old direct link between the Royal Burgh and Scotland's capital city be restored
Leaving soon? Could the old direct link between the Royal Burgh and Scotland's capital city be restored

Could travellers from Lanark Station soon be turning back the clock half a century by boarding a direct train to Edinburgh?

The Royal Burgh was cut off from Scotland’s capital city barely 35 miles away back in the mid-1960’s during the then massive cull of rural services and stations; the town also lost its Racecourse Station and Ayrshire rail limks at about the same time.

Almost ever since the axeing of the Edinburgh service there have been calls for its return and now a suggestion has been made that there could be a simple and relatively inexpensive way of restoring the link.

Trains from Lanark to the capital used to use a short `spur’ line onto the main West Coast Line at Cleghorn.

One major snag about restoring the service is that, since then, three new homes have been built where that spur used to run and compulsory urchase and demolition of these buildings would be expensive and obviously highly distressing for the householders.

Now Lanark Community Council member Leslie Reid has suggested a way of restoring the service without having to rebuld the spur.

He suggested to a recent council meeting that trains going to Edinburgh could simply use the existing link onto the West Coast Line heading for nGlasgow, go a short distance up it and, before reaching the Cleghorn level crossing, simply reverse the direction of the train towards Carstairs and on to the capital. A reverse process would apply to return journeys.

The matter was discussed at the council’s latest monthly meeting when chairman Frank Gunning said that Leslie’s plan seemed to have merit but he was “sure restoring the Edinburgh service won’t be as simple as all that. We will have to take advice on the technicalities involved in that.”

As Leslie could not attend that night’s meeting, Frank proposed that the matter be discussed in greater detail at the council’s next meeting at the end of November when Leslie would be present.

The last time the Gazette broached the subject of restoring the Lanark-Edinburgh service, we were told by ScotRail that the real problem would be re-organising the vastly complex signalling on the West Coast Line , especially the Cleghorn stretch which already has to juggle with the demands of both local and cross-border, inter-city trains.