Page 7: A selection
of Gradient Profiles
As mentioned in the introduction, the topography of the area did not
lend itself well to railway construction, and operating railways in the
Monklands involved tackling some fierce gradients. The most severe
gradient was on the Rochsoles Branch, where empty mineral trains to Dalmacoulter
Quarry faced a 500 yard stretch of 1 in 20, followed by similar lengths
of 1 in 22 and 1 in 23½. The Ballochney incline on the Ballochney
main line was 1 in 23 at it's steepest, a stretch of 400 yards just below
Commonhead Station. Even the Monklands Railways' "New Line" which
remains in operation today has a stiff climb at a steady 1 in 70 (Beattock
is 1 in 74) through Coatdyke and Airdrie Stations which, until the end
of freight operations on this route, proved troublesome for even the modern
diesels. The Caledonian Railway, despite spending a fortune on civil
engineering, still had to climb a bank of 1 in 64 to reach their terminus
The diagrams are reduced in scale to fit on the page. To view
them full size double click on the diagram to open it in it's own window.
Below the diagrams, where appropriate, is a table of lengths and gradients
of the section, showing the height gained or lost by the line.
Grateful thanks are due to Mr Wm. Marshall Shaw of the North British
Railway Study Group, who very kindly copied these diagrams from the original
NBR Gradient Diagram book.