The Cairnryan Military Railway (Stenlake)

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Originally published in 1999 by Stranraer and District Local History, The Cairnryan Military Railway is a new edition of the book by Bill Gill, which has been reformatted into landscape style and has additional new illustrations.

The village of Cairnryan is situated 6 miles north of Stranraer on the eastern shore of Loch Ryan and it was here that the Cairnryan Military Railway was built during the Second World War, to provide a rail link from Stranraer to the new military port at Cairnryan. Following the Dunkirk evacuation there was an urgent need to develop new ports outside the range of the German bombers and various locations on the west coast of Scotland were considered. One stipulation was that there should be no existing port, to avoid the problems which occurred when combining both military and commercial operations. Cairnryan military port was built entirely by servicemen to prevent the issues with working-class disruption that occurred on Red Clydeside during the First World War, consequently the seven mile long Cairnryan Military Railway was constructed by the Royal Engineers, with assistance from the Pioneer Corps.

After the war the port was given a new role; unused munitions were transported there by rail or ship, then transferred onto landing craft and dumped in deep water out at sea, but by the end of the 1950s military use had ceased and finally, in 1967, it took no more than a few weeks to lift the rails for sale abroad. Following on from this the port was used for ship disposal and since the 1970s has been redeveloped and has two ferry terminals which run services to Northern Ireland. The line of the railway can still be traced and various remains are still visible.

3 maps, 5 track diagrams, 43 black & white photographs. 48 pages.

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