Cowgill Reservoir Railway

Any aspect related to the structures and equipment on the Caledonian Railway Company.
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Jim Summers
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Cowgill Reservoir Railway

Post by Jim Summers »

Folks will know of the recently published Middleton Press book surveying the Caley line from Carlisle to Beattock.

The author, Dennis Lovett, is currently working on Beattock to Carstairs but has hit a brick wall with the fourth of the reservoir railways which were built on a temporary basis to aid construction, namely the Cowgill Reservoir Railway. He wonders if we can assist.

He believes that the contractor, John Best of Leith, built such a line but nothing appears to be known about it. Dennis has been unable to source a map so far.

In 1892, the Airdire & Coatbridge Water Company was granted an Act of Parliament to construct a reservoir above Coulter. The reservoir was completed in 1902 and opened in 1904. The Upper and Lower reservoirs are a mile apart.

Please share on this Forum any information you have.

Best wishes,

Jim
jimwatt2mm
Posts: 798
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Re: Cowgill Reservoir Railway

Post by jimwatt2mm »

Peter Marshall's book on The Peebles Railways has a brief mention of it on p169. In that he states that the contractor for the dam was John Best of Leith, who also built the Talla dam. The clay for it was supplied by Loudon and Russell of Allanton Brickworks. Best transported the clay from Coulter station, but had difficulties with traction engines and Best laid rails (understood to be at 3' gauge) for 2 miles of the route.

Marshall goes on to say that a second reservoir was built for Motherwell and Wishaw by Robert McAlpine and Son who constructed a standard gauge line from Causwayend (on the outskirts of Biggar) extending up to 7½ miles, with 3' gauge lines used at the site. This line apparently ran for 2½ miles along the eastern edge of the present A702 as far as Coulter before turning up the valley.

There is no trace of either of these lines on any of the 25"~1mile OS maps as they seem to fall between two surveys, built after the 1896 survey, but gone by the 1909 one.

HTH.

Jim W
Jim Summers
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Cowgill Reservoir Railway

Post by Jim Summers »

Thanks, Jim.
Another area for someone to research sometime.

JImS
caley739
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:59 am

Re: Cowgill Reservoir Railway

Post by caley739 »

Harold Bowtell authored many books and papers on reservoir railways. He published an article "Railways to Cowgill, Culter Waterhead and Camps" in The March 1971 issue of The Journal of the Stevenson Locomotive Society. Unfortunately I do not have a copy of that issue but it is likely to have some relevant information on Cowgill.

Tom Robertson
Jim Summers
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:54 pm

Re: Cowgill Reservoir Railway

Post by Jim Summers »

Tom kindly pointed out Harold Bowtell's article in the SLS Journal.
I passed that information on to the author of the forthcoming Middleton Press book, Dennis Lovett, who was the original inquirer.
He followed up Tom's lead and has written:

"Just to let you know that the E-bay-procured copy of the SLS Journal turned up this morning and does not disappoint!
There is far more material than we will ever need including a map of the elusive Cowgill route.
Please thank your Caledonian Railway Association pal for giving us the lead."

Ah, the power of the CRA Forum!

Many thanks to Tom.

Jim
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