The 1840s had seen a rapid expansion of railways in Britain. Some were more likely to succeed than others. The Glasgow & South Western found itself always in the shadow of its competitors; its route from Glasgow to Carlisle lacked the direct approach taken by the rival Caledonian Railway. The G&SWR trains from Glasgow meandered through Renfrewshire and Ayrshire, calling at Paisley, Johnstone, Lochwinnoch, Beith, Kilbirnie and Dalry before heading to Ayr or Kilmarnock, Mauchline, Cumnock then south into Dumfriesshire, through Sanquhar, Thornhill, Closeburn, Auldgirth and Dumfries. Completed in 1850, and lightly populated for most of the route, the line needed to attract additional traffic. This guide, published in 1852, is an attempt to tempt visitors by describing the highlights to be seen along the route. Guides of this nature were not uncommon as the railways sought to capitalise on what was to become an expanding tourist market. However, this didn't prevent the Company offering early commuters First Class Annual Season Tickets for the 184-mile round trip from Dumfries to Glasgow!