You'll all be pleased to know (including myself !! ) that this is the last post in the South West Scotland series. There's no need for me to remind anyone that it has taken me over 1 year to post about 1 weeks travel.
It may seem a bit unusual to talk about a railway station but this is one of my favourites. In the past I have only visited the station by special charter trains but there were too many people about to capture the place properly. Having arrived by car, visited Rothesay and Mount Stuart by the ferry, it seemed an ideal opportunity to photograph it late in the day between the ferry arrival / departure times.
Wemyss Bay railway station first opened in 1865 with the extension incorporating the pier being designed by Glasgow Architect James Miller and completed in 1903.
The 19th century Industrialists of Glasgow opted to escape the city by living to the west of the conurbation and along the Clyde coast. With the rich history of shipbuilding in Glasgow, Clyde steamers provided the means of reaching the new found holiday destinations of Dunoon and Rothesay.
The Steamers initially sailed directly from Glasgow to Rothesay with options of Dunoon and Largs. In 1841 a rail route was opened from Glasgow to Greenock that reduced the journey times significantly by an hour to the destinations of Largs and Rothesay. The ferry service from Glasgow still ran many years later, but due to river pollution, only the poor used it with economy fares. On a similar theme, there were concerns about the wealthy having to pass through the poorest part of town from Greenock railway station to the dockside.
... variations on a theme ...
There were operational difficulties between rival railway companies who owned the boats and large financial losses resulted. It was necessary to have a dedicated railway station / pier terminal to improve the situation and an extension to Weymss Bay (for Rothesay) was built in the late 19th century.
The 10 mile branch to Wemyss Bay that opened to passengers on 15th May 1865 was most unusual in that it was designed to carry passengers first and not freight.
The formative years were not easy due to all the different rail and ferry companies not agreeing on a variety of operational issues.
Steamers ran complex routes and were often late causing trains to miss their paths on a single railway line network. Competition from the later Gourock extension and pier caused some disagreement due to platform rights at the brand new Glasgow Central station.
The enlarged and updated Wemyss Bay station created a statement of railway grandeur that defied other terminus rivals on the Clyde coast.
Time to allow the sun to set on my South West Scotland travels ...