Rare pictures show Glasgow Central station under construction

The new approach bridge over the Clyde, built 1901-05. The roof of the former Bridge Street station can be seen in the distance. Picture: Network Rail
The new approach bridge over the Clyde, built 1901-05. The roof of the former Bridge Street station can be seen in the distance. Picture: Network Rail
Share this article
0
Have your say

It’s Scotland’s busiest railway station, with more than 30 million passengers using it every year.

Glasgow Central is both a transport hub and a landmark in its own right, dominating the city centre in a way no other building can match.

Glasgow Central was largely rebuilt from 1901-05 to accomodate growing passenger numbers. Picture: Network Rail

Glasgow Central was largely rebuilt from 1901-05 to accomodate growing passenger numbers. Picture: Network Rail

Now rarely seen photographs have shed new light on a major rebuilding project at the turn of the 20th century which created the station in its current form.

First opened in 1879 by the Caledonian Railway, growing passenger numbers soon meant the original Central was deemed to small.

Pictures reveal the first concourse was considerably more crampt than the spacious complex of today - with passengers jostling for space with numerous horsedrawn cabs.

By 1899, some 16.8 million passengers were using the high level station, with a further 6.4 million using the low level platforms.

The foundations of the Central station extension are built, circa 1902. Picture: Network Rail

The foundations of the Central station extension are built, circa 1902. Picture: Network Rail

A system had also developed in which trains from Paisley stopped at Bridge Street station, on the south bank of the Clyde, rather than progressing into the city centre.

A plan was approved in 1900 to comprehensively rebuild Central and bring all its services under one roof.

The project began in 1901 with work continuing for four years.

A new eight track approach bridge built over the Clyde, while the existing bridge was raised in height.

The original Glasgow Central concourse, with horsedrawn cabs able to park adjacent to the trains, pictured shortly after the station opened. Picture: Network Rail

The original Glasgow Central concourse, with horsedrawn cabs able to park adjacent to the trains, pictured shortly after the station opened. Picture: Network Rail

A total of 13 platforms were installed, the concourse greatly expanded to accommodate a wide range of shops, and the iconic Central station roof was extended to accommodate the new space.

The revamped terminus was unveiled to widespread approval and cemented Central’s status as Glasgow’s leading station.

The rare pictures of the redevelopment were shared with The Scotsman by Network Rail, the current owners and operators of the station, as part of an on-going scheme to celebrate its unique heritage.

The Scotsman revealed yesterday a derelict platform in the low level station is to be restored to its Edwardian heyday to enhance popular behind-the-scenes tours of the complex.

Bridge Street station shortly before it closed in 1905. The station, to the south of the river, was the original Glasgow terminus of services to and from Paisley. Picture: Network Rail

Bridge Street station shortly before it closed in 1905. The station, to the south of the river, was the original Glasgow terminus of services to and from Paisley. Picture: Network Rail

Tracks will be re-laid and a vintage train carriage from the era shunted into the long-forgotten low-level platform.

A re-created bookstall will display historic newspapers, with other features to include shop fronts, old-fashioned vending machines and gas-effect lighting.

Funding for the restoration, which is due to start next month, will come from revenue from the tours of the station, which have attracted 29,000 people in two years.

The low-level station closed in 1964, and two of its four platforms remained shut when the cross-city Argyle line re-opened in 1977.

READ MORE: Hidden Glasgow Central platform to be re-opened after 50 years

The Central station roof is extended. Picture: Network Rail

The Central station roof is extended. Picture: Network Rail

Looking south towards Bridge Street. Picture: Network Rail

Looking south towards Bridge Street. Picture: Network Rail

The expanded high level concourse, shortly after it was finished in 1905. Picture: Network Rail

The expanded high level concourse, shortly after it was finished in 1905. Picture: Network Rail