Ballochney Railway

Ballochney Incline NGR NS740650

Kipps and Rawyards pair of inclines NGR NS774663

In 1826 the first Scottish railway, the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway ran from Monklands coalfields to Kirkintilloch. In 1827 a branch line was opened to Kipps. It was said that the first locomotive on this line was driven by the now famous George Stephenson and was named after him.

In 1828 the Ballochney Railway Company introduced a horse drawn train capable of pulling 2 or 3 passenger wagons. Around this time, travellers from Glasgow to Airdrie used to prefer to alight at Coatbridge and walk over "The Moss" via Leaend, rather than travelling on to Commonhead Station. The reason being that, the latter part of the journey was accomplished by the engine being dragged up the incline with a rope attached to a steam winch at Commonhead. This took a certain amount of time and passengers were also aware of the danger if the rope should break.

A later feature of the Ballochney Railway was the two self-acting inclined planes, which were about 1000 yards long and were located between Kipps and Rawyards. These were known as the Ballochney Inclines and they were both very steep with each having an incline of around 1 in 23. The inclines were double tracked and each was worked by means of a rope, one end was attached to the ascending train and the other to the descending train.

The rope passed around a pulley wheel at the top of each incline. The descending train had to be heavier than the ascending train in order to achieve sufficient momentum to pull the ascending train up the hill.

Rope breakage did happen in the early days and it was known for mineral trains and empty wagons to finish up in a heap of wreckage. At least one passenger train finished up this way.