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Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway

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The Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway was a light gauge (2 ft 3 in) railway constructed in the late 1880s from Campbeltown to Drumlemble, later extended to Machrihanish.

The original purpose of the railway was to transport coal from pits at Drumlemble. The Campbeltown terminus was in the main street, adjacent to the pier for easy trans-shipment. The coal was of poor quality and the lives of the pits relatively short, but the trains were saved by an influx of visitors to the area who wanted transport to the holiday attractions of Machrihanish bay, and in 1906 passenger coaches were constructed for this purpose. It is believed that nothing of this railway still exists.

Argyll Colliery closed in 1929, depriving the railway of its goods traffic, and buses increasingly took passengers to Machrihanish. As a result, the last trains ran in 1932 and the tracks were removed shortly afterwards.

Machrihanish Coalfield also used the line, and was open from 1946 to 1967, producing steam coal for use in power station located in Northern Ireland. The field produced an average of 15,000 tons per annum (about 60 tons per day), employing an average of about 170 workers, and peaked at 500 tons per day.

Although some consideration was given to renewing the line when Argyll Colliery (re-)opened in 1946, and also to installing underground conveyor belts to avoid congestion around Campbeltown Old Quay, no action resulted. In the event, coal was transported by road to a stocking yard in Glebe Street, adjacent to Millknowe School/the local gasworks/the (diesel) power station. When a ship was to be loaded (sometimes as often as three times a week), the coal was transported from the stocking yard to the Old Quay by road and loaded on the ship by a special loader fitted with conveyor belts.

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