RAIL CHRONOLOGY : BATHGATE's early railway history:
a chronology

Page first uploaded: 29 December 2012.

Locational map, also giving access to National Library of Scotland's on-line mapping.

Having puzzled for some time why established chronologers - the likes of Clinker, Greville & Spence, Quick, the David & Charles Regional series authors and David Lindsay's NBR Register - had overlooked the closure of the original dead-ended Bathgate station in their various compilations – presumably because the change never caused a flicker in Bradshaw’s Guide's pages nor in the Railway Clearing House's Handbook of Stations – I was prompted to tackle some contemporary sources. The National Archives and the newspaper collection at Colindale were enough to demonstrate that the accepted history was incomplete, and that a station closure and its replacement on a different site had been overlooked. Subsequent work in the National Archives of Scotland, and the local history libraries of West Lothian, Falkirk and Airdrie allowed a definitive view to be offered. Further, no source had established the correct opening date for passenger services between the Upper and Lower stations in the town, and popular opinion about the relative sites of the 1849 and 1986 passenger stations was deomstrably wrong. The outcome of this research is set out in a Word document that can be accessed by following this link.

Attention should be drawn to plans from the invaluable selection available on-line at The National Library of Scotland's website. 25" to the mile (1:2500) are available for 1854 (published 1856) and ca.1896 (published 1897). These are also available via the old-maps website, where they can also be compared with a 1990 (1:10000) (use co-ordinates 297610 668430). These will, of course, also be available in “hard copy” in various libraries, while the 25" for 1856 is reproduced at page 22 of Airdrie–Bathgate Rail Link – Reconnecting Communities, by Ann Glen – published by Network Rail to mark the re-opening of the Airdrie-Bathgate line.

Richard Maund

An abridged version of this article also appeared in Railway and Canal Historical Society Railway Chronology Group Co-ordinating Newsletter no. 67, July 2011.

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