Records of the Glasgow & South Western Railway Co and the Ardrossan Railway, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Land orders 1838-1911
  • Printed legislation 1854-1911
  • Papers regarding the amalgamation of the Glasgow & South Western Railway and the Ardrossan railway c1853
  • Llegal case papers against individuals and companies 1838-1916
  • Newspapers regarding the vesting of the Ardrossan Railway within the Glasgow & South Western Railway 1853
  • Evidence in support of the Ardrossan and Glasgow & South Western Railway Bill 1854
  • Correspondence 1841-1911
  • Papers regarding the Ardrossan Railway 1841-1848
  • Shareholder records of the Glasgow, Kilmarnock and Ardrossan Railway 1850-1851
  • Traffic statistics for the Ardrossan railway 1841-1854
  • Papers relating to the Seamill line and Kirkonhall estate 1902-1907
  • Ardrossan Railway arrestments for the recovery of debt 1850
  • Railway and canal traffic regulations 1852-1854
  • Business papers of the Earl of Eglinton regarding the Ardrossan & Harbour Railway 1846-1854
  • Miscellaneous railway papers relating to Ayrshire 1823-1900
  • Charges for Ardrossan Railway freight 1846-1848
  • Ardrossan harbour plans and financial papers 1845-1885
  • Notes on the history of the Ardrossan Railway 1967
  • Reports, accounts and traffic returns of the Ardrossan Railway 1841-1853
  • Company papers of the Glasgow, Kilmarnock & Ardrossan Railway 1852

Administrative / Biographical History

The Ardrossan & Johnstone Railway , North Ayrshire, Scotland was authorised in July 1827  by an Act of Parliament to engineer a line between Ardrossan harbour to the Glasgow, Paisley & Ardrossan canal at Johnstone, Renfrewshire, Scotland. The line was only completed between Ardrossan and Kilwinning, North Ayrshire, with a 4ft 6in gauge. The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway Act of 1837 authorised the making of a line from Glasgow to Ayr, South Ayrshire, with a connection to the Ardrossan & Johnstone Railway at Kilwinning, effectively making the Ardrossan Railway a branch line. The Ardrossan Railway Act of 1840  changed the name of the company to the Ardrossan Railway, doubled the line and introduced the 4ft 8in gauge making it suitable to carry locomotives. In 1854, the Ardrossan Railway Transfer Act vested the Ardrossan Railway in the Glasgow & South Western Railway Co .

The Glasgow & South Western Railway Co was formed in 1850  by the amalgamation of the Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock & Ayr Railway and the Glasgow, Dumfries & Carlisle Railway. The main line linked Glasgow with Carlisle, England via Paisley, Dalry, Kilmarnock, Dumfries and Annan, joining the Caledonian Railway at Gretna, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland. This was a rather round about route, and, in 1865,  the company was allowed to build a cut-off between Glasgow and Kilmarnock via Cathcart on the south side of Glasgow.

Competition between the three big Scottish railway companies, i.e. the Caledonian Railway, North British Railway and the Glasgow & South Western Railway, was fierce and each guarded their territory whilst building branch lines that encroached on the others' territory.

The company went on to expand its control by purchasing other lines, such as the Greenock & Ayrshire in 1879. The company merged in 1923 with the Caledonian Railway , the Highland Railway, the London & North Western Railway, and the Midland Railway to form the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Co. This company was nationalised as part of British Rail in 1948.

John Kellet,Railways and Victorian Cities(London, 1979)

David Thomas,A 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

Gift : Ayr County Council : c1961

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 Ayr County Council


None expected

Related Material

GB 234 BR/GSW, GD 360, 422 Records of the Glasgow & South Western Railway Co (National Archives of Scotland)

GB 233 MSS 6354-56 Miscellaneous papers of the Caledonian railway (National Library of Scotland)

GB 248 UGD 008 The Scottish Railway Collection

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, Director of Archive Services, 26 April 2002