The effects of
on "The Moss" "A remarkable place between Airdrie & Coatbridge"
In the early 1800's, "The Moss" was a peaceful farming area on the extreme edge of the towns of Airdrie and Coatbridge. The industrial revolution was starting to make an impact. Both towns would be in at the birth of both the railways and the manufacture of iron and steel and the spread of mining activities. "The Moss" would play a large part in these events and would suffer enormous upheaval.
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. The original station at Leaend in Garden Square was moved in 1844 to Hallcraig after a branch line was laid to Commonhead. In 1831 the Garnkirk - Glasgow line opened for traffic. A locomotive would bring the carriages for Airdrie to Gartsherrie Station where they were detached and drawn from that point to Leaend by horses.
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. The long rope was supported by rollers placed between the rails every 20 feet or so.
On that part of the line a "dandycart" was used. The dandy-cart was coupled behind a length of loaded wagons, which descended, by gravity and the horse travelled as a passenger downhill. The horse would then return up the hill with empty wagons.
Typical Dandy Cart as
The traffic flow on the Ballochney was suited to such an arrangement. Most of the descending traffic was wagons loaded with coal or ironstone for Kipps while ascending traffic was mostly empty wagons.
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.
Ballochney Incline - Looking from Airdrienote the 4 chimneys of the Northburn Steelworks