In 1863 the Caledonian Railway opened a loop line branching off their main Glasgow to Hamilton line, sweeping up into Blantyre and heading northwards, under Glasgow Road, over fields at Springwell and onwards through developing Blantyre, up to a new High Blantyre Station.
On 1st May 1882, a spur was added leading from this loop to the main line at Craighead, forming what was to become known as the Auchinraith Junction. The junction sat above the field formerly the golf course and poultry run.
A sweeping semi circular branch was added nearby to the North British Railway giving access to Birdsfield Siding and to allow Auchinraith Pits connection to the main NBR Hamilton branch at Blantyre Junction to the north of Springwell. The colliery was already served by the Hamilton and Strathaven Railway line from Auchinraith.
A small path crossed the railway at Auchinraith junction , adjacent to a signal box. The signal box fell out of use in 1925 although was used again during war years and existed right up until the 1960’s.
The line ceased operating on 1st June 1960 and the line quickly became weed ridden and unused, serving only on occasion as the odd freight service.
In the following photos from the early 1960’s, the Auchinraith Junction is shown, unused and with the houses of Springwell Housing Scheme on the right at numbers 45 and 47 Springwells Crescent.
The gardens and houses to the left of the railway line are no longer there, demolished along the bottom of Auchinraith Road to make way for the East Kilbride Expressway in the early 1980’s.
The exact location of Auchinraith Junction today is now at the top of the slip road coming from Lidl supermarket back on to the A725 heading to EK.
From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road -The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
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