The highest point on the WCML north of the border (built by the Caledonian Railway and opened on 15 February 1848), it is located 52 miles south of Glasgow Central and 349 miles north of London Euston stations. The height of the summit is 1,033 feet above sea level. The signboard by the rail track records the elevation as 1,016 feet.
The summit was the location of a private halt from 1900 to around 1926.
Steam locomotives frequently required banking assistance in getting their heavy trains up the incline, particularly in the northbound direction, which had steeper gradients. There was an engine shed at Beattock which had banking locomotives on standby twenty-four hours per day to minimise train delays.
The severity of the climb to the summit is referenced in W. H. Auden's poem Night Mail, written in 1936 for the G.P.O. Film Unit's celebrated production of the same name.
Electric locomotives, as far back as the Class 86, as well as today's Inter-city services, climb the gradient without assistance.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
about Beattock Summit)
- Butt (1995), page 30
- RAILSCOT on Caledonian Railway
- Beattock Summit on navigable OS map
- British Transport Films, (1974). "Wires over the Border". Disc One, Track 5, In: British Transport Films Collection. Volume 3: Running a Railway. (DVD Format), BFIVD720.
- Location map: 55°25’18"N, 3°35’27"W