In the early 1800s, Ayrshire was already established as a prosperous, mainly rural agricultural county. The realization that there was abundant coal and (to a lesser extent) iron ore deposits to be exploited, together with the coming of the Industrial Revolution, rendered the area wide open to the 'railway mania' that swept Britain in the mid to late 1800s. The proximity of the county north to Glasgow and south to Carlisle (and thence south) made it an attractive proposition for early railway developers. Gordon Thomson explores the history and development of the railway routes in Ayrshire; how the coming of the railways changed the face of the area and supported the growth of industry. It looks at how services evolved through the eras of LMS, nationalization and privatization, and the preservation and heritage scene in Ayrshire.
Gordon Thomson is a lifelong railway enthusiast, starting his interest as a teenager in the late 1960s. Since 1980, he has lived in Ayrshire, taking a keen interest in the history and development of railways in this scenic area of Scotland. He is involved in railway preservation as an active member of the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group.