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The Cathcart Circle Lines form a suburban railway route linking Glasgow (Central) to Cathcart via a circular line, with branches to Newton and Neilston, on the south bank of the River Clyde. They are part of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport network.
The lines were built by the Cathcart District Railway (Cathcart Circle) and the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway (Newton and Neilston lines). The first part opened on 1 March 1886 as a double line from Glasgow Central to Mount Florida then single to Cathcart, doubled on 26 May 1886. The circular route back to Central station via Shawlands and Maxwell Park was completed on 2 April 1894.
The Newton and Neilston branches were built to provide a through route from the Lanarkshire coalfields to ports such as Ardrossan on the Ayrshire coast. There is still a junction with other lines at Newton, but the track beyond Neilston has been lifted.
The lines originally carried significant amounts of freight, but commuter trains are the only regular users now. Football Specials sometimes run to Mount Florida and King's Park for major matches at Hampden Park.
When the lines were built much of the land around them was open countryside. The existence of a commuter railway was a major factor in the development of Glasgow's southern suburbs, although until electrification in 1962 there was virtually no passenger service beyond Kirkhill by this route.
On weekdays the services have provided a vital transport link for school pupils and college students at nearby schools and higher education establishments, contributing to passenger numbers on top of the commuter traffic.
The lines under British Railways were electrified on Monday 28 May 1962 at the standard 25 kV AC, but originally 6.25 kV between Pollokshields East and Mount Florida because of limited clearances. The "Blue Trains", Class 303 units, which had dual voltage capability, replaced steam trains and early diesel units.
There was a trial run on the previous day., and over 5,500 passengers were reported as using the new trains in their first morning rush hour.