Glasgow Central

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Glasgow Central is Scotland's busiest station with 28 million passengers flowing through it in 2009. Central is Scotlands gateway to the West Coast Mainline. It is also Glasgow's gateway to the South of Scotland and England. Services to Scotland's main cites normally come from Glasgow Queen Street. It is owned by Network Rail.


Glasgow Central Station opened on 1st August 1879. The original station had just 8 platforms all linked to Bridge Street Station.

Before the 60's Glasgow had 4 major terminus stations. Central, Queens Street, St Enoch's and Buchannan Street.

In 1890 the lines outside Central were congested and a fifth line was built through Bridge Street and 3 new platforms were built.

In 1896 the original Argyle Line was opened under Central and 2 low level platforms were built. Between 1901 and 1905 the station seen a massive refurbishment and 4 new platforms were built on the High Level.

In 1907 the famous Central Hotel opened. The hotel was extensively refurbished during 2009-2010 and reopened in September 2010 under the ownership of the Principal Hayley group rebranded as the "Glasgow Grand Central Hotel".

In 1908 a brand new signal box was opened on the bridge across the Clyde and this remained open until 1961 when it was replaced with the main one at Bridge Street Junction. This box remained open until 27th December 2008 when it was replaced by the West of Scotland Signalling Centre outside Glasgow Queen Street. The building remains standing but is not in any use.

In 1959 the Class 303 or known as the Blue Trains were introduced on the North Clyde Line.

In 1962 work was underway to electrify the Cathcart Circle. During this the old 1879 bridge across the clyde was removed and the lines were rearranged. The electrification was completed in late 1962.

On 3rd October 1964 as part of the Beeching Axe the low level station was closed and the line was filled in.

Between 1966 and 1967 the Inverclyde Line was electrified and Blue Trains soon began serving Gourock and Wemyss Bay. This meant the withdrawel of steam locomotives from Central and in the same year both St Enoch's and Buchannan Street shut and Central was now operating diesel Class 101, Class 104 and Class 107 on the unelectrified routes. Now the Ayrshire Coast Line and the South Western Line was operating from Central.

In 1979 the Argyle Line was being rebuilt and offically reopened on 2nd November 1979. At this time, the ((Relivery/Overhaul 2011-12)) were introduced.

In the 1980s a major refurbishment was undertaken. This included an all new travel centre, more shops and re-flooring. The refurbishment was complete in 1985. Also in that year the Ayrshire Coast Line was electrified and new Class 318 were introduced and also Class 156 were introduced and replacing the older diesel units.

In 1991 Class 320 were introduced. These units were originally supposed to be used on the Argyle Line but the tunnels made it impossible for the driver to see the platforms. Instead the Class 320s were introduced on the North Clyde Line replacing Blue Trains that had not been refurbished. In that same year services to London Kings Cross were introduced via the East Coast Mainline.

Over the Christmas festive period of 1994, on 11 December, torrential rain caused the River Kelvin to burst its banks at the closed Kelvinbridge station, with the water making its way through the disused tunnels to Exhibition Centre and the Low-Level station, which was completely submerged by the resultant flash flood. It was closed for many months while repairs were made.

In 1998 another refurbishment was underway. This would include new Customer Information Screens, re-flooring, re-surfacing and re-signing. The work was complete by 2005.

In 1999 Class 334 were introduced to replace the remaining Blue Trains. But due to teething problems the Class 334s weren't introduced until 2002 taking the Blue Trains well over there age limit. The withdrawal meant significant changes to rolling stock deployment. The Class 314s were moved to the Cathcart Circle and the Class 334s and Class 318s were just about everywhere.

In 2001 Class 305s and Class 322s were introduced on twice daily North Berwick services.

In 2006 the older tracks were replaced with newer tracks closing the station for several days.

In 2007 resignalling closed the station during the Easter Holidays. That same year First Transpennine Express introduced services between Glasgow and Manchester Piccadilly.

In 2009 new express services to Edinburgh via Shotts were introduced. This meant that Class 158 became a frequent visitor.

Between 2009 and 2010 the car park was closed and replaced with two new platforms opening in May 2010.

In December 2010 Class 380 units were introduced on the Inverclyde and Ayrshire Line.

In December 2010 following the opening of the Airdrie Bathgate link. Class 334's are slowely moving to the North Clyde Line

In May 2011 modifications on most Class 320 trains will be complete and they will begin to operate out of Central Low Level and on the Argyle Line. Also in May East Coast will reduce services out of Glasgow Central however Arriva Crosscountry will operate more services to Leeds, Birmingham and Exeter.

In March 2016 Class 170 trains started to appear because Queen Street tunnel meaning 170's were diverted to Glasgow Central for the Aberdeen/Inverness but this will end on the 8th August when Queen Street tunnel re-opens.


First Scotrail normally do the most routes round Glasgow and Scotland with Virgin West Coast operating to Birmingham New Street and London Euston via West Coast Mainline, Arriva Crosscountry operate to Birmingham New Street, Southampton Central, Plymouth and Penzance via East Coast Mainline, East Coast operate to London Kings Cross via East Coast Mainline and First Transpennine Express operate to Manchester Airport via West Coast Mainline.


1,2 and 3: Services to the Edinburgh Waverley and Whifflet and services to England via West Coast Mainline and East Coast Mainline.
4,5,6,7 and 8: Services to Newton, Neilston, Cathcart, East Kilbride, Barrhead and Kilmarnock.
9,10,11,12,13,14 and 15: Services to Gourock, Wemyss Bay, Paisley Canal, Largs, Ardrossan, Ayr, Girvan and Stranraer with some services to Carlisle and Newcastle.
16 and 17: Low Level Services to Dalmuir, Milngavie, Balloch(Sunday only) Lanark, Motherwell and Larkhall with peak services to Cumbernauld and Carstairs.

Trains seen in the High Level platforms

HST East Coast and Arriva CrossCountry
Class 90 ScotRail Caledonian Sleeper
Class 91 East Coast
Class 156 ScotRail
Class 158 ScotRail
Class 170 ScotRail (Only from 20 March 2016 to 8 August 2016)
Class 185 First TransPennie
Class 220 Arriva CrossCountry
Class 221 Arriva CrossCountry and Virgin West Coast
Class 314 ScotRail
Class 350 First TransPennie
Class 380 ScotRail
Class 390 Virgin West Coast

Trains seen in the low level platforms

Class 318 ScotRail
Class 320 ScotRail
Class 334 ScotRail

See Also

Internal Links