The railway first came to Galloway in 1859 with the opening of the Dumfries to Castle Douglas line followed by the opening of the line to Portpatrick in 1861. The Kirkcudbright branch line opened in 1864. Along with other small networks across the country, the railways were closed down as part of the Beeching cuts in 1965.
Parton Station Master James Murray (above and above right), in his Glasgow and South Western Railway uniform around 1900. He was station master at Parton for 44 years. Great pride was taken by staff in the presentation of the stations, and Parton won many awards over the years for its garden and general condition. Murray’s grand-daughters Agnes and Jean can be seen tending the plants in the photograph.
British Railway’s locomotive no. 72007 “Clan Mackintosh” approaching the Ken Viaduct just before arriving at Parton Station on 22nd August 1964.
At 6am on August 10th 1963 an engine approached two empty carriages in Kirkcudbright Station too quickly and shunted them through the buffers and across the road. Happily, as it was early in the morning, few people were about and no-one was hurt.
Signal Box No. 2 at Castle Douglas Station. This was on the Kirkcudbright branch line, just under the road bridge. The roof of the Station Hotel can be seen in the background.
Two routes were considered for the railway to Portpatrick – one along the coast which would have brought the line close to Gatehouse, and the chosen route which took the line through the hills but left Gatehouse Station some six miles uphill from the town. It is suggested that the local landowners did not want the line passing through their estates. The chosen route however was a spectacular one.
Today the station is a private house, but the line can be walked from near the station down to the Big Water of Fleet viaduct with its twenty arches. The viaduct features in the 1935 film version of the 39 Steps.
Signalman McGaw in the Gatehouse signal box around 1960 and the railway carriage, formerly one of Queen Victoria’s state rail carriages, which was used as a chapel by the Church of Scotland to serve outlying parts of the parishes. It was broken up in the 1970s.