Sunrise on Ravenstruther Rail Freight Terminal in Scotland

The long awaited rebirth of rail-connected Cloburn Quarry has been celebrated onsite. The former coal handling depot in South Lanarkshire has been inaugurated as a new aggregates terminal, serving the continued growth of the UK infrastructure and construction industry. The onsite quarry will supply materials, with the facility to handle both outbound and inbound loads. 

Designated Ravenstruther Rail Freight Terminal, the facility is located just off the West Coast Main Line, just a few minutes north of Carstairs Junction, affording direct connections to Glasgow, Edinburgh and the south.

Cloburn Quarry Company has been for some time working towards the opening of their Ravenstruther Rail Freight Terminal, on the site of a former coal loading terminal, deep in the mining communities of South Lanarkshire. The horseshoe-shaped, dual track terminal is adjacent to the town of Lanark. Track upgrades have been completed and the track is now fully reconnected to the West Coast Main Line.

Back on the economic map

The aggregates industry in the UK is continuing to grow. Neither the pandemic nor the fallout from Brexit has affected the sector. It is on the back of this continued boom that Cloburn has brought on stream their terminal after extensive re-engineering. Stuart Clingan, Cloburn’s managing director and the man in charge of the terminal says the first fully loaded trains are safely on their way. “The loading terminal allows us serve our customers all over the UK and Europe. It is fantastic news to see more freight making its way back to the national rail network in light of the reduction over recent years, not to mention the inevitable reduction in carbon emissions this facility will lead to.”

Stuart Clingan is the managing director of Cloburn Quarry Company and recommends you do not stand on a live railway line

The South Lanarkshire region of Scotland has been in economic hiatus for many years. The loss of heavy industry has been a difficult bridge to cross. While the new terminal may not address all those issues, it is welcome good news, and goes some way towards putting the region back on the industrial and economic map. “This is a very positive deal for all concerned, securing the long-term future of the site and paving the way for a new phase of growth and development under Cloburn’s ownership”, added Clingan.

Lanark Red is known worldwide

The primary product from the site is red granite. The product is a familiar and aesthetically attractive finish on the roads of the area. It is also ideal material for rail ballast and was used in the building of the Borders Railway project, the biggest domestic rail reopening in five decades. “The products we deliver to our customers are of the highest quality”, said Clingan. “Our dedication to stringent production and our attention to detail with our logistics means you can count on us for nothing less than the best red granite and the best service.”

Loading underway in the crisp January sunshine at Ravenstruther Rail Freight Terminal, Cloburn Quarry

Operationally, the terminal is in the hands of the owners, Cloburn Quarry Company. “The fact that we operate our own quarry gives us a great deal of control over all aspects that determine the quality of our service”, says the managing director. “We ensure consistency across the whole process from production to delivery. Due to the properties of our granite it is one of handful of Network Rail Approved Ballast suppliers in the UK. We’ve provided track ballast across the nation, acting as suppliers to Network Rail, heritage railways and narrow gauge railways throughout the UK and worldwide.”

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is RailFreight's UK correspondent.

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