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Greenock's Lost Railways Photographs

Hi all. A gallery and project which will expand rapidly over the next few days.

ABANDONED AND DISUSED RAILWAYS: Greenock's Lost Railways - Full information can be found in the gallery commentary box and all 40 photographs take today by clicking on the link above

Best Regards

Jonathan McGurk

Railway and Freelance Photographer

Great pics jonno.

Thank you for sharing them....

Did I not post my pics from that line? I visited there about 6 weeks or so ago

Rest of the set viewable HERE

Glad you like them, thought you might hehe. Stuball, your pics are fab:). I am visiting the whole branch tomorrow. Like I say the gallery will expand over the next few days:P. Did you walk the whole branch Stuball and if so anything surprising as in rats or anything?

Best Regards

Jonathan McGurk

Nothing that unusual... except perhaps the female mallard duck sitting in the puddle. Saw a fox too but used to seeing them.
We went from the viaduct to the last tunnel thats locked. Planning a return trip soon for the other direction with the 2 adjacent tunnels.

Interesting seeing that burntout car... wasnt there on my visit. Has it been driven along the line or pushed down from above?

is the fence to get into the other tunnel fenceable if you know what I mean? Good pix minx;)

Best Regards

Jonathan McGurk

wee minx wrote:
Nice pics are mine....

Wots with the square in the pic ? I can see mibees 18  there ,but wot a weird pic
wee minx

, spooky isn't it...I can see a profile of wee man with a big chin praying
It is a number 18 plate, looked pretty clear in reality, but looks different now.  

Greenock's Lost Railways Photographs Part 2

Hi all. I've added another 15 to the Greenock's Lost Railways gallery on my
site. I will be revisiting the town and the sites of its lost railway lines in the
next few weeks. I am taking time out photography this week in order to do work on my
site and get it back to what it was a month or so ago before unfortunately being
hacked into. I'll keep you all up-to-date with updates I make to the site. For
now all 55 photographs can be found here:


Best Regards

Jonathan McGurk

Railway and Freelance Photographer

Glad I found this site and the pics of the Greenock tunnels. In my childhood, me and many others used to play in these tunnels and as we got older, "adventure" in them from 1970 - 1977. Films like Von Ryans Express and the Railway children were worshiped by us then. Sort of christmas exciting stuff, games of soldiers etc. The Airfix days.

From 1970 and probably before, the line was disussed for several years, allowing us to freely explore them and their offshoot branch lines in the Lynedoch street goods station yard area (now a mix of failed industrial units). There was also a few bomb shelters, with stair cases going down, probably buried now.

We roamed the line from Greenock Lynedoch Street all the way down to the container terminal, several miles, through the "Simba" tunnel, that's the longest tunnel which commences at Brachelston Street , and goes below old Greenock cemetary, hence the name Simba, a sort of Greenock abbreviation of cemetary !...or could it be to do with Zulu Dawn, big film at that time ?

One interesting point about the Simba tunnel is, it crosses over the Greenock West - Fort  Matilda/Gourock tunnel, while under ground, both tunnels. A tunnel below a tunnel. A remarkable piece of engineering for the time they were mined. There is also an air shaft, about 50 feet dia from the Simba tunnel which is visable from the back gardens in the Finnart Street / Brisbane Street area. You can see it on Google maps clearly. An old uncle now deceased many years ago, told me that the reason for the air shaft was accidental, due to a cave in on tunnel construction.

The rail line re opened around 1973 for a short period transporting containers from Greenock to Glasgow and we used to get home from school around 4.30 and all meet at upper Lynedoch Street and decend via a secret route, and there are/was several, through bushes, an access tunnel via a ladder, and a water channel with a path underground to the railway and make our way into the Mearns Steet / China town tunnel and stand in the manholes inside the tunnel awaiting the Glasgow - Container Terminal train to approach around 5.30pm.

Like clockwork, we all turned up. That would not happen nowadays.

The excitement of being in there, in the tunnel, while the huge Diesel, sometimes 2 locos, passed through, I cannot expalin. You would really need to have been there at that time to imagine the noise and vibration and see the light of the train approaching.

We would then play around for about an hour and a half until it made it's return trip with a full compliment of containers, on it's return trip to Glasgow.

The rail line was also used as a shortcut walk to the Greenock Baths (swimming pool) by people from the Strone area (Stronies). We were scared of them as they were one of the feared gangs at that time. YS.

I have many stories that I can tell you about these tunnels.

I would love to go for a walk through these tunnels again but I wonder if I was spotted, would I be arrested for tresspassing ?

Stuball wrote:
Did I not post my pics from that line? I visited there about 6 weeks or so ago

Rest of the set viewable HERE
Photo number 2 is Mearns Street bridge with Whinhill or Broomhill Court (high flat) in the background. Mearns ST bridges is a remarkable piece of engineering for such an unoccupied area of Greenock. Makes you wonder why they went to so much work.

Hi Vambo and welcome to UG.

Thanks for sharing your stories of this old tunnel. If you were to go walking as far as you can go, I doubt you'd be spotted by anybody and if you were, nothing would come of it. Obviously as a forum, we cannot advise it and it would be totally at your own risk

You can only go as far as the last tunnel... the simba tunnel? the last one before the docks?

Stuball, Yes, the simba tunnel is the last one before the docks and also the longest tunnel on that line. I also think that it was the second longest tunnel in Scotland at that time, after the Greenock West / Fort Matilda tunnel.

Locally, among younger teenagers, it was a big thing if someone had walked the simba tunnel. It was a classed as a real mystery place. Especially to be in there when a train was coming. A typical phrase would be.... (See big Jada, he walked the simba tunnel last night)

Pity about the fence on the entrance. I know that these tunnels were used for under age drinking / glue sniffing etc, mentioned in the local paper numerous times, that's probably the reason it was put there.

Last time I walked it was around 1976, a group of us and it was really eerie ! About a quarter the way in, you come accross the ventilation shaft and the light pouring in.

When these tunnels were originally constructed, there were 2 railway tracks. When it was converted for the use of container trains, they tore one track out and laid a single track in the centre line.

Here is the entrance to 'the simba'

It should be noted the opposite end has been back filled

The entrance to the Simba was a drinking den to under age drinkers (me included !) back in the late 70s. Glue sniffers in the 80s and more likely druggies in the 90s.

I bet you noticed a lot of discarded bottles and all sorts in that area.

I wonder who is the key custodian to the padlock on that gate.

There wasnt as much junk as you'd expect for the years of dereliction. Back at the station remnants there was a load of blue bags etc but most of the line was fairly clear. It looks like someone had been along to clear it up

Some good pictures of "Greenock's Lost Railways" of the Lynedoch St upper goods yard and surrounding rail works here. You need to trawl through the ones which may be of no interest to you to find some with tunnel entrances etc.

Note that Greenock has changed significantly since these pics were taken with most of these old buildings now been demolished in the 1970s and 80s.

You would need a 1970s or earlier map edition to cross reference the locations.

Visited the tunnels quite recently and they are certainly the best closed railway tunnels I have visited. Well worth the trip and the climb :P

The first proper tunnel you come to is Trafalgar St Tunnel:

Trafalgar St Tunnel - Princes Pier Line

But the longest tunnel is definitely the best!

Union Street Tunnel - Princes Pier Line

The air shaft mid way through:

Union St Tunnel Air Shaft - Princes Pier Line

Near to the portal at the Ocean Terminal:

Colours of the Greenock Tunnels

Part of the tunnel is reinforced with this shot hinting at the structure:

Princes Pier Line

And last but not least a typical self portrait and easily my fave shot from the trip:

Union Street Tunnel - Princes Pier Line
Alex Glass

Great set of photos horza


truely amazing photos.

Give this man a medal  

Thanks for the comments. Its a great tunnel to visit as its not often you see the old line still intact and a few signals along the way.

Hi Horza great photos, I didn't think there were any lines complete with rails etc, left in Scotland

As an outsider to the area and interested in old railways, it would be interesting to know where these old line run. Could anyone with knowledge post a map with the old lines overlaid. please?

UKAK wrote:
As an outsider to the area and interested in old railways, it would be interesting to know where these old line run. Could anyone with knowledge post a map with the old lines overlaid. please?

Sure thing. This map is centred over the Lynedoch station. Use the slider on the left to go between a satellite view and the OS map.

That's great.

Hi all, enjoying looking at all the pics. I went to The Mount School in the late 60's early 70's. A few of us idiots used to climb over the fence opposite the Mearns St. school, slither down the grass slope to the top of the retaining wall. Then shin down while gripping on to a big cable that ran down the retaining wall. It used to scare the hell out of me going down that but you can't be seen to be scared or life would be even worse! Then we walked through the tunnel under our school and emerged at Wellington St. I think it was. That tunnel was damned dark as it was curved.
gamez fan

Nice pics unusal to see they left the line intact it seems..??? Forum Index -> The Greater Glasgow Area
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