Public Transport: Railways

The Railway Inn, Thornliebank took its name when the railway was extended from Kennishead to provide a short-lived passenger service to Spiersbridge from 27 September 1848 to 1 May 1849. Thornliebank Railway Station, as we know it today, was opened on 1 October 1881.

In 1848/49 a new railway opened from Eglinton Street, Glasgow to Neilston via Barrhead. On Saturday night the last train left Glasgow after 11pm, earning the name, the "drunkard's special". The line was extended to Kilmarnock under the Barrhead and Kilmarnock Railway Company. Later the Caledonian Railway took over, then the Glasgow and South Western Company.

The Glasgow and Ayrshire line built by the Caledonian Company ran from Glasgow Central, via Patterton, Lyoncross and Neilston, then on to Ardrossan. A short line was also made from Paisley through Barrhead, joining the Ayrshire railway near Springhill; this passed over a long viaduct at Kelburn Street and through a cutting said to have caused the contractor to go bankrupt. To make way for a new station in Barrhead, the area known as the centre was cleared and a new street, Cochrane Street, made.

In 1864 a railway line was laid to Giffnock, now the East Kilbride line, and the first business people were able to consider moving out to Giffnock to build their sandstone villas and commute daily to the city. The oldest houses and villas in Giffnock are centred on the lines of transport at Eastwood Toll and Giffnock Station. Early transport to and from Giffnock was almost entirely by train. Residents of an area to the south, much larger than now, used Giffnock Station. The station yard was filled twice a day with private carriages from the "Uplands". The horse bus from Mearns had many a race in the morning to catch a train.

In the 1890's there were three morning trains to town: the first one at 8 o'clock, said to be for those under cashier rank, another about 9 o'clock for the cashiers and head clerks and a third about 10 o'clock for governors and ladies.

On 1 January 1866 Busby Railway Company opened the four-mile railway line from Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston Direct Railway at South Side Station, Gushetfaulds, via Pollokshaws to Busby, at a cost of £67,000, with three trains daily each way. The opening of Clarkston Station was an important contribution to Clarkston's growth in that it served a residential area and not an industrial one. It was the businessmen of Busby who decided to promote this line and their chairman was Joseph C. Wakefield of the calico-printing firm Inglis & Wakefield, established at Field Road, Busby. The Busby Railway Company was authorised by the Busby Railway Act of 1865, to extend the track a further four miles to East Kilbride. Sidings were constructed for the Busby Printworks, the Giffnock Quarries, coalmines, limeworks and general goods at stations. In 1882 the Busby Railway Company amalgamated with the Caledonian Railway Company. Allan Gilmour in the 19th century refused to allow the railway to be brought to Eaglesham thus contributing to the survival of the conservation village.

The Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway Act of the 15 July 15 1897 provided a spur from the East Kilbride line to Clarkston East junction and also a spur to Clarkston West junction, the first used for storage of stock only and the latter for through running of trains from 1 April 1903. This lasted only a short time and both junctions were removed in 1907.

As Mearns moved into the 20th century many changes occurred in the operation of the railways. The Caledonian Railway's line through Whitecraigs and Patterton was opened in 1903, which helped to make the northern fringes of Mearns more accessible for those working in Glasgow. In 1923 the Caledonian Railway became the London, Midland and Scottish Railway and in 1948, British Rail.

On 9 July 1929 Williamwood Halt Station was opened on the site of Clarkston West Junction, between Muirend and Whitecraigs, to serve the new housing being built. It originally consisted of two, short, wooden platforms but was upgraded as Williamwood Station in the late 1930's.

From 6 July 1959, diesel multiple units began to replace the steam trains, the former surviving until electrification of the line on 28 May 1962 (The Blue Trains). The last passenger steam train ran on 15 April 15 1966.