Tram birthplace on track for £2million sale


By Michael MacLeod

THE site of Scotland’s first permanent electric tramway is up for sale for more than £1.8million.

The Carstairs Mains estate in Lanarkshire became a hive of activity 121 years ago after MP Henry Monteith dreamed up a tram system.

His grandson made the historic link for construction workers building a major new junction on the Caledonian Railway.

But the tram system, which managed to clock 35mph, was scrapped after a suspected fatal accident.

Remnants of the unique railway can still be seen at the farm – a far cry from the technological advances of Scotland’s current tram development in Edinburgh.

Carstairs Mains is now a 646-acre working farm, and sellers Savills are hoping an investor will fork out almost £2million to move in.

After buying the estate in 1819, Mr Monteith had a mansion house designed by eminent architect William Burn.

In the following year’s general election he defeated the great industrialist and social reformer, Robert Owen – creator of New Lanark.

He asked his grandson, Joseph Monteith – a skilled engineer – to take on the task of building a tramway.

And in late 1888 he built the first permanent electric tramway in Scotland.

It ran for 1890 yards between the station and the “Big Hoose”.

Speeds of 35mph were achieved in trials, but it was soon abandoned, due to what historians believe was a fatal accident.

The farm then continued to run as a dairy unit until two years ago.

The sellers hope a developer will revamp the B-listed buildings to their former glory.