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Greenock was founded as a fishing village sometime prior to 1592 when it split from the Inverkip parish. After the Act of Union 1707, Greenock's facilities made it the main port on the West Coast and it prospered due to trade with the Americas, importing sugar from the Caribbean. In 1827 Loch Thom was constructed as a reservoir with The Cut aquaduct bringing water to power industry. Greenock Central railway station at Cathcart Street opened in 1841, for the first time providing a fast route to the coast to catch Clyde steamer services without having to take the steamer all the way from Glasgow. In 1869 the Caledonian Railway was bypassed by the rival Glasgow and South Western Railway opening a station on the waterfront at Princes Pier.

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