Old station buildings at North Queensferry revamped

A CAFE and heritage centre is being opened today at North Queensferry station by Fife Provost Jim Leishman - the 249th in Scotland to have rejuvenated buildings or gardens.

An aerial view of North Queensferry station.  Picture:  Ian Rutherford
An aerial view of North Queensferry station. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The launch marks the 124th anniversary of the station, which was completed four months after the completion of the adjacent Forth Bridge in 1890.

It means seven in ten of Scotland’s 351 stations now have empty buildings back in use or boast floral displays, tended volunteers.

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These include bookshops, bunkhouses and a gold prospectors’ office, while around 50 stations now have cafes.

The Victorian building at North Queensferry station, which has been closed for 25 years, will become the Bridge the Gap cafe, a visitor information centre and a “Station Story” gallery devised by North Queensferry Heritage Trust.

The original waiting room has also been restored and will be available for hire by community groups.

A replica of the station’s North British Railway clock from 1890 is due to be unveiled at the opening.

The grade B listed timber building had suffered vandalism and been placed on the Buildings at Risk register before being leased from ScotRail to North Queensferry Station Trust.

The opening comes nearly 20 years after North Queensferry Heritage Trust first proposed refurbishing the station, which was initially dismissed as unviable.

A second phase of the project, to upgrade the station toilets, is expected to be completed early next year.

James Lawson, of the North Queensferry Station Trust, said: “The unveiling of the first phase of this project gives us an excellent opportunity to reflect on all the hard work and dedication of the trust to date.

“The aim of the project is to transform the disused station building into a community facility and visitor attraction for North Queensferry and this event marks an important milestone in the project for the trust, our volunteers and funding partners.”

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “I am delighted to hear about this programme to restore the station building to its former glory and to include a visitor information centre and café to encourage people to see what is available locally while enjoying some good Scottish hospitality.”

New uses for other station buildings include a bookshop at Pitlochry, bunkhouse at Bridge of Orchy, church at Dumfries and Cononish gold mine owner Scotgold’s office at Tyndrum Upper.

There are also music rehearsal studios at Dundee, a laundry at Dunblane and a museum at Glenfinnan.

The next planned openings include a restaurant at Tain, boxing gym at Helensburgh and cafe and bookshop at Kilmarnock.

Catalysts for the projects include ScotRail’s Adopt a Station scheme, the Stations Community Regeneration Fund and grants from the Railway Heritage Trust.