Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway

The Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway, a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, is laid on the trackbed of the former Leadhills and Wanlockhead Branch of the Caledonian Railway which led off the main line between Carlisle and Glasgow at Elvanfoot.

Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway
Locomotive No.6 Clyde with typical train at Leadhills station
Dates of operation1986Present
Track gauge2 ft (610 mm)
Leadhills and Wanlockhead Railway


The preserved section runs from Leadhills for about 1 kilometre (0.6 mi) towards Wanlockhead and is the highest adhesion railway in the UK. The rack and pinion Snowdon Mountain Railway is higher. Trains are currently diesel worked with the locomotive propelling the train up hill away from Leadhills.

The original railway closed in the late 1930s shortly after the mines in Wanlockhead had closed.

The railway currently stops at the border of South Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway.


Trains operate on the push-pull principle as there are no run round loop facilities at the end of the run. Movements within the main station site at Leadhills are controlled from the reconstructed signal box which contains the original lever frame from Arrochar and Tarbet signal box.

Bus replacement

For two weeks during July 2016 the railway operated an extended service, connecting with local bus routes, as the road between Wanlockhead and Leadhills was closed for repairs.[1]


The Leadhills & Wanlockhead won the Heritage Railway Association Annual Awards 2016, Small Groups


Most locomotives are fitted with air brakes to allow them to operate passenger trains.

Number Name Builder Type Build Date Arrival Date Works Number Livery Notes Service
L&WR 2, KD7, L114 Elvan Motor Rail 4w DM 3 March 1955 13 March 1986 9792 Blue Built for the London Brick Company, King's Dyke Works, Whittlesea. In Service
L&WR 4 Luce Ruston and Hornsby 4w DM September 1966 13 November 1987 7002/0467/6 Green Built for contractors Edmund Nuttall Ltd, Leith. In Service
L&WR 5 Little Clyde Ruston and Hornsby 4w DM September 1966 13 November 1987 7002/0467/2 Originally White, Currently in Green Built for contractors Edmund Nuttall Ltd, Leith. In Service
L&WR 6,

NCB 20/180/4

Clyde Previously known as The Peril Hunslet 4w DM 1975 January 1990 HE6347 Originally Yellow, Currently in Blue Built for National Coal Board, Eppleton Colliery. Out of Service
L&WR 8, NCB 1-44-121 Nith Hudswell Clarke 4w DMF 1956 October 1996, Returned from restoration June 1998 DM1002 Red Built for the National Coal Board, Waterloo Main Colliery. In Service
(9) Charlotte Orenstein & Koppel 0-4-0 WT 1913 1994 OK6335 Green Imported from Belgium. Being restored to full working order. Stored
L&WR 10 Mennock Previously known as Eileen Hunslet-Barclay 0-4-0 DM 1994 2012 LD 9348 White Helped with the tunnelling work for London Olympic Park Out of Service
(11) Progres Decauville 0-4-0 T 1915 20 August 2005 917 Greyish White Under restoration Stored
(11) Number 29 Wingrove & Rogers, Liverpool 0-4-0 BE 1939 2003 1416 Yellow Required a JCB to clear it out of 20 years of vegetation. In pieces
L&WR 12 Clayton Clayton 4w DM 1978 August 1994 1819B Green Built for Stock, Sold to NCB Wearmouth In Service
(21) Moeyse 4w DM 1941 Black No longer part of railway fleet Stored Offsite

Rolling stock

The railway maintains four air-braked coaches for use on its passenger trains. Three of the coaches are mounted on ex-peat wagon underframes, the fourth is mounted on the chassis of a former Simplex locomotive.

There are many wagons around the railway including the ubiquitous Hudson skip wagons and examples from RNAD.

See also


  • Thomas, Cliff (2002). The Narrow Gauge in Britain & Ireland. Atlantic Publishers. ISBN 1-902827-05-8.
  • Keggans, Sandie (2004). Transporting the Lead. Wanlockhead Museum Trust. ISBN 0-9530645-3-0.

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