Looking back: Glasgow Central Station

Opened by the Caledonian Railway on 31 July 1879, Glasgow Central is Scotland’s largest and busiest railway station - boasting a rich history.

Glasgow Central Old Exchange: first multiple switchboard 1880-89.
Glasgow Central Old Exchange: first multiple switchboard 1880-89.

Since it opened its doors in 1879, the station has grown from eight to 15 platforms.

It’s been the site of a supposed murder and a gas explosion. It even acted as a temporary mortuary during World War One.

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During World War Two, the entire station was painted black to avoid catching the eye of the Luftwaffe - the plan worked well as the station was never hit.

The Blue Train leaves Glasgow Central railway station in May 1966.
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But after the Blitz, the black paint proved impossible to remove.

It was only in 1998 that they finally started replacing every single pane.

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Ten years after its opening, in 1890, the bridge over Argyle Street was widened to include a ninth platform.

From 1901 to 1905, the station was reconstructed by further extending the station over the Argyle Street to include 13 platforms.

A Freightliner container being loaded at Glasgow Central railway station in May 1966

The bridge over River Clyde was raised by 30in and expanded to include eight tracks.

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In the 1980s, additional works were carried out on the high level station to replace the old train information office with an electro-mechanical destination board.

The station is also thought of in connection to the Great Train Robbery: an infamous mark on the station’s history, as the targeted train departed from Glasgow Central.

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In 1932 Laurel and Hardy arrived at Central and were met by a crowd of 40,000 whistling the stars’ famous theme tune.

1957- 3-year-old Paul Flannigan sits on top of luggage ready to go.

Glasgow Central is also believed to be haunted.

A desperate man who lost his fortune in the Wall Street Crash is rumoured to have killed his wife for her life insurance money in the old boiler room.

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For years, station staff were too terrified to go into the grain store, where they insisted they saw a ghostly thin woman with brown hair. And just last year The Ghost Club conducted a fruitful official investigation into the station’s alleged hauntings.

The original 1889 signal box was replaced with an electro-pneumatic power-operated box based on the Westinghouse system in 1907 and it opened on 5 April 1908.

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The Victorian kiosk (left) at Glasgow Central railway station was due to be moved to make way for the electronic departures/arrivals board in January 1985.

Overhead power lines began to appear on the high-level platforms early 1960s.

Plans to electrify other routes, such as the Whifflet Line, as part of a scheme to improve rail services in Scotland, was completed in November 2014.

A goods engine pulls into Glasgow Central (cira 1868).
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The Queen at Central Station (Glasgow Central) in Glasgow, June 1964.
The track and rail control box at Glasgow Central Station in may 1966
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Tram leaving the Glasgow Central Station entrance
The Christmas tree in Central Station in Glasgow, December 1965.
Crowds outside Glasgow Central railway station in July 1966
A 64lb carcase of a 4ft porpoise which was found at Central Station, Glasgow.
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British Rail staff dresses in Victorian costume with a cake to celebrate the 100th birthday of Glasgow Central station in August 1979.
Glasgow Central Station - Mr Shand the station-master
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Glasgow Central Station - Indicator boards and loud hailers in use
Glasgow Central Station Christmas tree - General view after Lord Provost Galpen had switched on lights