Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway

Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway
[v · d · e]Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway
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- - Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway
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Castle Douglas
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Portpatrick Line Junction
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- -Kirkcudbright Railway
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New Galloway
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Loch Skerrow Halt
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Water of Fleet Viaduct
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Gatehouse of Fleet
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Newton Stewart
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Newton Stewart Junction
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Millisle Junction
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Garlieston Goods Station
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- - Girvan and Portpatrick Junction Railway
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Challoch Junction
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Castle Kennedy
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Cairnryan Junction
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Stranraer Harbour Junction
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Stranraer Harbour
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Stranraer Town
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Portpatrick Harbour

The Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway, often known as the Port Road,[1] was a railway in south-west Scotland, which linked Dumfries, via Castle Douglas, with the port towns of Portpatrick and Stranraer. It also formed part of an England-Scotland railway and sea route to Ireland.

The line, which was single track throughout, closed in 1965 apart from the short section from Stranraer Harbour to Challoch Junction.[2]



The line was a joint railway, being owned by the Caledonian, Glasgow and South Western, London and North Western and Midland railways.[2] It was formed by Act of Parliament on 6 August 1885.[3]

The Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway was formed from the amalgamation of two railway companies: The Portpatrick Railway and the Wigtownshire Railway, which got into financial difficulties; they merged and were taken over.[2]

In the 1921 grouping it became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).

The Portpatrick Railway

The Portpatrick Railway was intended to be part of a trunk route linking London and Belfast by railway, via a short sea crossing.[4] The Portpatrick Railway was built to service twin ports: Portpatrick to provide the shortest sea crossing for mail and passengers; and Stranraer for goods and cattle.[4]

The railway was authorised on 10 August 1857.[3] By 12 March 1861, the line connected Stranraer to Castle Douglas, where it joined the newly constructed Castle Douglas and Dumfries railway.[3] The branch to Portpatrick opened the following year, on 28 August 1862, with the Stranraer Harbour branch, which opened on 1 October 1862; although building work continued on the line for another five years.[3]

Portpatrick's importance as a port declined almost before the Portpatrick branch was completed. Portpatrick Harbour railway station both opened and closed permanently in 1868: opening on 11 September and closing in November.[5] However Portpatrick railway station, which opened on 28 August 1862, remained open until 6 February 1950.[5]

The section from Colfin to Portpatrick also closed in 1950; although Colfin to Stranraer remained open until 1959 for milk traffic.[2] After that trains ran only to the north-western termini: Stranraer Town and Stranraer Harbour.

Loch Ken Viaduct
Glenluce Viaduct

Major structures on the route include the Loch Ken viaduct, across the Dee, the Gatehouse viaduct across the Fleet, and the Glenluce viaduct, over the Water of Luce.

Places and towns served by the Portpatrick Railway

In Kirkcudbrightshire:

and in Wigtownshire:

The Wigtownshire Railway

The Wigtownshire Railway was authorised on 18 July 1872.[3] It ran for 19 miles from Newton Stewart to Whithorn.[3] Whilst it was independent, it had its own locomotives.[2]

There was a branch from Millisle to Garlieston station which opened on 3 August 1878.[3] Regular passenger services ceased on this branch on 1 March 1903; Millisle was then renamed as Millisle for Garlieston.[3][5] However, Garlieston had a good harbour from which there were occasional boat excursions to the Isle of Man (as indeed there still are (2008)).[2] These were well patronised, so the railway continued to provide excursion trains to Garlieston until 1935.[2]

Goods services ran from Newton Stewart to Whithorn until the line closed on 5 October 1964. By the 1960s, these services ran three days per week; with conditional working on the Garlieston branch, when required.[6]

The line today

The former Wigtownshire Railway closed completely to passengers on 29 September 1950;[3] and the Portpatrick to Stranraer Town section closed in stages in the 1950s.

The whole of the Castle Douglas and Dumfries Railway and majority of the remaining Portpatrick Railway was closed by the Beeching Axe in 1965. Only the Stranraer Harbour to Challoch Junction section is open; and is now served by services on the Glasgow South Western Line.

Connections to other lines

See also



  1. ^ "The Portpatrick and Wigtonshire Railway website". 27 November 2000. http://www.leverton.org/tunnels/ppwig/. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Casserley
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Awdry
  4. ^ a b Thomas
  5. ^ a b c Butt (1995).
  6. ^ Gammell, C.J. (1978). Scottish Branch Lines 1955 - 1965. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Co. ISBN 0-86093-005-X.


  • Awdry, Christopher (1990). Encyclopaedia of British Railway Companies. London: Guild Publishing.
  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations. Patrick Stephens Ltd, Sparkford. ISBN 1-85260-508-1.
  • Casserley, H.C.(1968). Britain's Joint Lines. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0024-7.
  • Jowett, Alan. (1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain & Ireland. Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1.
  • Thomas, John (1976). Forgotten Railways: Scotland. Newton Abbott: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8193-8.

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