Internal Communication, pp.xxx-xxxi.

[Gazetteer of Scotland Contents]

The roads of Scotland, till about the middle of last century, were so few and bad, that three-fourths of the whole country were inaccessible to a wheeled vehicle. The Highlands, in particular, could be traversed only by their own chamois-moving mountaineers, and, even on their least upland grounds, were sublimely uncognizant of both the motion and the mechanism of a wheel; and at enormous cost and labour – as will be found detailed in our article on the HIGHLANDS – they were literally revolutionized in political, social, and agricultural character, simply by their being pierced and traversed with roads, and brought into acquaintance with the unpoetic cart. Both turnpike and subordinate roads are now ramified through most districts to an amount so nearly co-extensive with the wants of the country, that the absence of them in any locality is, in most instances, evidence of its being a tract of moorish or mountain waste; and as Sir H. Parnell remarks, in his Treatise on Roads, “in consequence of the excellent materials which abound in all parts of Scotland, and of the greater skill and science of Scottish trustees and surveyors, the turnpike roads in Scotland are superior to those in England.” Owing to almost constant, and generally bold, inequality of surface, Scotland offers few facilities for the construction of canals; yet it has seven of these works, two of which connect the eastern and the western seas, while the features of the others combine interest with utility. The Caledonian canal extends from the vicinity of Inverness on the north-east, to Corpach, near Fort-William, on the south-west, a distance of 60½ miles, 37½ of which are through Lochs Ness, Oich, and Lochy; and communicates between the Beauly frith and the head of Loch-Eil. The Forth and Clyde canal extends from the frith of Forth, or mouth of the Carron, at Grangemouth, to Bowling-bay on the Clyde, a distance of 35 miles; and sends off a small branch to Glasgow, and a smaller one to the mouth of the Cart, to communicate by that river with Paisley. The Edinburgh and Glasgow union canal extends from Port-Hopetoun at Edinburgh, to the Forth and Clyde canal at Port-Downie, near Falkirk, a distance of 31½ miles. The Monkland canal extends from the basin at the north-east extremity of Glasgow, to Woodhall, about 2 miles south-east of Airdrie, a distance of 12 miles; communicates at its west end by a cut of a mile in length with the basin of the Glasgow branch of the Forth and Clyde canal: and, in terms of an act obtained in 1837, may send off a branch to the north side of Duke-street, Glasgow. The Crinan canal lies across the northern extremity of the long peninsula of Knapdale and Kintyre, is about 9 miles in length, and connects Loch-Fyne with the Western ocean. The Aberdeenshire canal extends from the harbour of Aberdeen, up the valley of the Don, to Port-Elphinstone, near Inverury, a distance of 18¼ miles. The Glasgow, Paisley, and Ardrossan canal, was projected to extend from Port-Eglinton, on the south side of Glasgow, to the harbour of Ardrossan, but has been executed only to Johnstone, a distance of 11 miles. A railway to continue the communication of this incompleted work, was projected to extend from Johnstone to Ardrossan, a distance of 22½ miles, but has been constructed only to Kilwinning, about one-third of the distance. The Kilmarnock and Troon railway, extending 9½ miles between the places mentioned in its designation, was the earliest public railway, or rather tram-road, in Scotland. The Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway connects the rich coal districts of Old and New Monkland with the Forth and Clyde canal, in the vicinity of Kirkintilloch, 10 miles from Glasgow. The Ballochney railway extends from the termination of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch railway in the parish of New Monkland, 4 miles eastward; and there forks into two lines, the one of which traverses the ironstone and coalfield lying to the south, and the other that lying: to the north, of Airdrie-hill. The Wishaw and Coltness railway extends about 4 miles southward, from the termination of the former line, in the parish of Old Monkland, and is projected to be executed further southward, to the estates of Wishaw, Coltness, and Allanton. The Glasgow and Garnkirk railway extends 8¼ miles westward from the vicinity of Gartsherrie bridge, where it joins the western termination of the Ballochney railway, to the junction of the Forth and Clyde and the Monkland canals at Glasgow; and was the earliest railway in Scotland constructed with double lines, and for the transit of locomotive engines. The Slamannan railway extends from the east end of the Ballochney railway to the Union canal, not far from Linlithgow, a distance of about 12½ miles; and sends off a branch to Bathgate. The Pollock and Govan railway connects the mineral fields on the south-east of Glasgow with that city; and terminates at the harbour, on the level of the quay. The Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock, and Ayr railway, extends from the harbour of Glasgow to that of Ayr, a distance of 40 miles; joins the Ardrossan railway at Kilwinning, and the Kilmarnock and Troon railway at Troon; and will send off from the vicinity of Dalry a branch about 11 miles long, to Kilmarnock. The Glasgow and Greenock railway is common to the former railway to Paisley, and thence extends to the centre of Greenock, near the harbour, a distance from Glasgow of 22½ miles. The Paisley and Renfrew railway extends from the north side of Paisley to the Clyde at Renfrew, a distance of 3¼ miles. The Edinburgh and Glasgow railway connects these cities by way of Linlithgow and Falkirk, is 46 miles in length, and pursues nearly the same course as the Union and the Forth and Clyde canals. The Edinburgh and Dalkeith railway extends from the south side of Edinburgh to the South-Esk at Dalhousie-Mains, a distance of 8¼ miles; sends off branches to Leith, Fisherrow, and Dalkeith, which increase its aggregate length to 15 miles; and from its south end is continued by private lines to the collieries of Newbattle and Arniston. The Edinburgh and Newhaven extends about 2½ miles from the centre of the metropolis to Trinity-pier at Newhaven. The Dundee and Newtyle railway extends 10½ miles from the north side of Dundee to Newtyle, and sends off branches to Cupar- Angus and Glammis. The Dundee and Arbroath extends from the harbour of Dundee to Arbroath, a distance of 16¾ miles. The Arbroath and Forfar railway connects these towns, extending 15¼ miles from a point of junction with the Dundee and Arbroath railway. Most of the works thus traced in outline and mutual relation will be found fully and separately described in the alphabetical arrangement.

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