Commuting to Glasgow local history
The East Dunbartonshire communities of Lenzie and Bearsden share a common history. Both were developed around their railway stations during the second half of the nineteenth century, to meet the aspirations of members of the Glasgow business community who wished to live in a pleasant country environment close enough to fast-track to their work in the city each day.
Lenzie began to develop earlier than Bearsden. The first three "commuter houses" were built in Auchinloch Road, just south of the station in 1848. During the 1850s the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway Company encouraged the development of houses beside its railway stations by offering free season tickets to persons building villas worth £500 or more.
Duration of the tickets was on a sliding scale, with each £100 of the value of the villa being worth one year of free travel. However, comparatively few commuters took up the offer at the time, mainly because of a shortage of amenities near the stations. In Lenzie large scale development began in the 1870s, when running water was piped in for the first time.
Bearsden Station was opened in 1863, and at first development was slow. As at Lenzie, however, the 1870s was a period of major growth, thanks to the introduction of a supply of running water. Most commuters walked to the railway station, but by the end of the nineteenth century a few of the outlying residents were employing a coachman, coach and horses to take them to the railway each morning and to wait for the arrival of the business train from the city each evening.
Milngavie had a range of local industries to provide employment for its residents and did not at first jump on the commuter bandwagon. From the 1890s, however, a number of houses aimed at the Glasgow business market were erected, especially in the vicinity of Tannoch Loch.
A boom in commuter traffic soon led to the enlargement of Milngavie Station and doubling of the railway line to Westerton.