From the book, “Blantyre Glasgow Road – The Real Story” by Paul Veverka (c) 2017
Glasgow Road Western Railway Bridge
Another earlier bridge existed near to Bridge 1, at a more westerly position on Glasgow Road. It was situated where today the pedestrian road crossing is adjacent to Lidl Superstore. The line dates from February 1863, but the bridge actually started out as a tunnel under Glasgow road. The railway leading up from the main Glasgow to Hamilton Line had to cross Glasgow Road and did so by means of a small tunnel, but large enough for 2 trains to pass. It then progressed westwards to Auchinraith Junction then up to High Blantyre Station.
In 1903 upon the arrival of trams in Blantyre, trams could not climb the steep incline up over the railway tunnel, so work had to be done to this structure, and indeed the surrounding railway spur. This involved realigning Glasgow Road, changing its levels significantly at this location by reducing it around 3 or 4 foot and building a new embankment and new western railway bridge. Trains could then go over Glasgow Road, similar to the Eastern Bridge nearby whilst trams and traffic ran under the bridges along Glasgow Road. Comparison of the 1898 and 1910 maps of Blantyre show this to good effect. It is for this reason as demonstrated below, that there is currently an unusual profile and unusual steepness to Glasgow Road at that location today.
The subsequent Western Railway Bridge was known as “Bridge 2”, the Western Railway Bridge or sometimes as Whistleberry Railway Bridge. To the immediate west was Chamber’s (Chalmers) Land on the south of Glasgow Road and from the mid 1920’s onwards, the entrance to the former greyhound racing track on the north side. To its east was the other rail bridge.
After William Arroll Contractors finished replacing the girders on the Eastern Bridge 1 in 1931, they moved attention to Bridge 2 to its west. Work commenced in January 1932 and by March it was well progressed.
The bridge replacement progress photos were taken on 6th March 1932. This and the other bridge were a notable landmark on Glasgow’s Road for any early traffic. The railway line ceased to operate in 1960 and quickly fell into disrepair, being dismantled shortly after. Whilst the line was removed, the bridge remained right into the late 1970’s before being entirely removed.
The adjacent railway embankment provided a good vantage point on the North side of Glasgow Road for spectators to watch the nearby Speedway. The modern photo was taken from spare ground at nearby Chalmers Land, courtesy G. Cook.