Dumbarton Central

Location type


Names and dates

Dumbarton (1850-1952)
Dumbarton Central (1952-)

Station code: DBC National Rail ScotRail
Where: West Dunbartonshire, Scotland
Opened on the Caledonian and Dumbartonshire Junction Railway.
Opened on the Dumbarton and Balloch Joint Railway (Caledonian Railway, Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway and North British Railway Joint).
Open on the West Highland Line.
Open on the Glasgow to Helensburgh.


This is a three platform station on the Helensburgh, Balloch and West Highland Railway lines.

The station consists of two island platforms (the northernmost eastbound face is currently out of use with the trackbed overgrown) with a permanent way yard in the sidings at the east end of the station, south side of the line. The station is above street level, the side walls bordering Station Road (south) and Bankend Road (north) are topped with castellations, no doubt due to the nearby Dumbarton Castle. The south wall, at its west end, had the dropping ramp of a goods line to the former Leven Engine Works.

The main entrance, leading to steps, was under the Church Street over bridge. It is now via the side entrances on Station and Bankend roads which lead to a subway and entry ramp. Platform level buildings carry canopies covering the platforms. With the loss of the building at stations along the largely closed former Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway the buildings here are the best indication of their style.

This was a originally a two platform station, with a standard North British Railway building on the eastbound platform. but was converted into a four platform station when in 1896 it became part of the Dumbarton and Balloch Joint Railway (Caledonian Railway, Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway and North British Railway Joint). The northern island was built first. It was rebuilt and enlarged and provided with Caledonian Railway style buildings.

To the south is a goods bypass line for the station. This had a connection to the nearby Leven Engine Works which dropped down at the west end of the station to road level.

The station was built on the already largely obliterated site of St Mary's Collegiate Church, the only remains parts of which are an arch in the garden of the nearby Dumbarton Municipal Buildings, a stone at the library and probably re-used stones in the Glencairn Greit Tenement. This explains why the road to the station from the town was College Street. The station site was bounded to the north by water, now reclaimed land.

To the west are the Leven Viaduct [Dumbarton] and Dalreoch station. To the east was Dumbarton East Junction.

The Armed Forces Veterans Association, Dumbarton is based in the westbound platforms' station building.

The Coffee Station is based in the eastbound platform station building.

For many years the railway displayed 'Dunbarton' on the platform, a great source of irritation as it refers to the district not the town. With the arrival of the Caledonian Railway's Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire Railway from the east and subsequent rebuilding this was finally remedied.

The station has had five signal boxes. The first of these opened in 1882 and closed in 1898 during the reconstruction of the station. It was at the east end of the station on the north side of the line.

This box was replaced with three boxes. Dumbarton West was on the south side of the line at the west end of the station. Dumbarton Central was at the east end of the station and on the north side of the line (close to the original box). Dumbarton East was at Dumbarton East Junction, a little way to the east of the station. This was located on the north side of the line by Dumbarton Rope Works.

In 1960 a new panel box opened at the east end of the station. This still stands, looking out over the line from the north side. This box replaced Dumbarton Goods Junction and Leven Shipyard Junction in 1960 and Dalreoch Junction, Dumbarton West, Dumbarton Central and Dumbarton East boxes in 1961.

This box closed with the Yoker Resignalling Scheme. The station has been under control of Yoker Signalling Centre since 1991.


The Denny Tank Museum is south of the station, at the east end of the Dumbarton town centre.

Dumbarton East is closer to Dumbarton Castle than Dumbarton Central is.



External links

NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67


15/07/1850Caledonian and Dumbartonshire Junction Railway
Opened from Balloch [1st] via Dumbarton to Bowling on the River Clyde, and beside the Forth and Clyde Canal. Steamers ran in connection with the line on Loch Lomond and the River Clyde. A turntable is installed to the north west of the Balloch [1st] station.
01/10/1896Caledonian and Dumbartonshire Junction Railway Dumbarton and Balloch Joint Line
The North British Railway is forced to put its Dumbarton Central to Balloch Pier line into joint ownership with the Caledonian Railway to stop the Caledonian Railway from building a second railway (the proposed Dumbarton, Jamestown and Loch Lomond Railway) from Dumbarton to Balloch. The North British Railway now has to pay access charges for its section between Dalreoch Junction and Dumbarton East Junction.
  /07/1989Yoker Re-signaling Scheme
Re-signaling complete. Boxes at Helensburgh Central, Craigendoran, Dumbarton Central, Dalmuir Park, Singer, Milngavie, Westerton, Hyndland, Clydebank Dock, High Street East Junction, Bellgrove, Parkhead, Shettleston, Heatheryknowe Junction, Sunnyside Junction, Airdrie replaced by the new Yoker Signalling Centre.


The Vanished Railways of Old Western Dunbartonshire (Britains Railways/Old Photos)