Records of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway Co, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Agreements with other railway companies 1861-1865,
  • Railway bills 1847-1861
  • Papers relating to the Forth of Clyde Navigation 1846-1865
  • Legal court case papers 1853-1856
  • Stobcross land purchase records 1861-1864
  • Conveyance rate tables 1861-1865
  • Brief against the Monklands Railway Amalgamation Bill

Administrative / Biographical History

The Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway Co obtained an Act of Parliament in 1838  and opened, in 1842  , a line between Glasgow Dundas Street Station (later re-named Queen Street) to Edinburgh Haymarket station, giving a swift direct passage between the two cities for the first time. The 46 mile line was completed at a cost of £1.2 million which compared favourably with the £1.4 million that the 30 mile line between Liverpool and Manchester had cost. Journeys between the cities took 2.5 hours and 4 trains ran each way daily. The line was extended east to meet the North British Railway in 1846. Branches were built to Campsie, South Queensferry, West Lothian; and Corstorphine, Edinburgh. A number of independent branches were opened to locations such as Helensburgh, Argyll and bute; Falkirk; and Bathgate, West Lothian.

In 1847  , the Wilsontown, Morningside & Coltness Railway agreed to promote a bill for amalgamation with the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway but the law prohibited the amalgamation of companies which had not expended half of their authorised capital, which was the case with the Wilsontown, Morningside & Coltness Railway. The purpose of the law was to stop larger lines from buying up smaller companies and thus nullifying the purpose of parliament in passing the original railway act for the smaller line. As a result, the lines did not merge until 1849  yet the Wilsontown, Morningside & Coltness Railway was managed independently until 1850  when the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway took it over.

The Edinburgh-Glasgow route produced fierce competition between the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway and the Caledonian Railway who competed for the inter-urban traffic. In 1854 fares were reduced to 6d, half the previous price, for a third class ticket between the two cities on both lines. The price war continued until July 1856 when the two companies signed a 'joint purse' agreement, with 30.64 per cent going to the Edinburgh & Glasgow and 69.36 per cent to the Caledonian.

The company was absorbed in 1865 by the North British Railway Co , a company which the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway had itself promoted. The line is still used as the main link between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

David Thomas, vol 6A regional history of the railways of Great Britain: Scotland(Newton Abbot, 1971)


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Loan : Mitchells, Johnston & Co : Glasgow : prior to 1966

Other Finding Aids

The archive forms part of the Scottish Railways Collection held by Glasgow University Archive Services, finding aid reference GB 248 UGD 008

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1631) and London (NRA21659)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Mitchells, Johnston & Co , solicitors, Glasgow


None expected

Related Material

GB 234 BR/EGR, CS96 Records of the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway Co (National Archives of Scotland)

GB 248 UGD 008 The Scottish Railway Collection

GB 248 UGD 008/5 Records of the Wishaw & Coltness Railway and the Wilsontown, Morningside & Coltness Railway

For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the Archon repository search page


J R Kellet,Railways and Victorian Cities(London, 1979)

Additional Information

This material is original

Revised by Lesley Richmond, 26 April 2002