The upper section of the Hamilton to Strathaven railway, cutting through Blantyre was opened on 4th March 1862 with a trial trip.
The trial run went from Strathaven terminus to the junction near Hamilton. The trial went well, was tremendously successful and took in the new station at High Blantyre, where they stopped for engineers to water the engine. The station was the first from the Hamilton junction upwards.
Whilst this was being done, passengers in high spirits left the train and walked the short distance to Mr Downie’s hostelry/pub at Kirkton. Refreshments were had free from the industrial noise of the railway and engine.
Many congratulations were offered and it was especially noted how efficient the contractors had been in constructing the works so quickly. MacDonald and Grieve now held in high esteem for having completed the works in their given time, when many had thought it impossible.
It’s easy to forget how early this all was. It was 156 years ago after all and indeed even in the old postcard you see in this article, none of those tenement buildings even existed yet! Aside from a few small buildings and homes at Kirkton and the church still within the kirkyard , this area still had good view of surrounding fields and would still have felt very rural.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2018
Source: Inverness Courier Thursday 20th March 1862