This is the busiest station in Scotland. It was established by the Caledonian Railway in 1879 and was hugely expanded in 1901-5.
It is a 15 platform station (17 if those still open at Glasgow Central Low Level are included).
When opened it was an 8 platform station, numbered 1-8 from west to east. 8 was somewhat shorter then the rest as it had the offices, toilets and waiting rooms to the north. Permanent booking offices were added in 1882. The architect was Robert Rowand Anderson, the frontage being built in 1885.
9, added in 1889, was a very narrow platform. The lines fanned out over Argyle Street and crossed the River Clyde on a four track viaduct to Bridge Street. Such was the lack of siding space at first that one of the four lines was initially sacrificed as a carriage siding. A few sidings were provided by the 1890s. These platforms are often described as short but, with the exception of the 1&2, the present day platforms are around the same length, stretching from the circulating area south of Gordon Street to Argyle Street.
A large glazed roof was built covering the area from Gordon Street south to Argyle Street.
Below the station, at ground level, was a storage and station servicing area.
The approach to the original station was controlled by Argyll [sic] Street Junction and Ann Street signal boxes. The Ann Street box was on the east side of the line and just south of the Ann Street bridge. Opposite this box were three sidings at a loading bank, the sidings being approached from the north. At the south end of the Clyde Viaduct was Clyde Place Signal Box, on the west side of the line and south of Clyde Place itself.
Argyll Street Junction and Ann Street boxes closed with the first re-organisation and were replaced with a new 'Glasgow Central' box in 1889. This much larger box was also on the east side but to the north of the Ann Street bridge. Clyde Place box was replaced in 1890. This initial re-organisation brought the four track viaduct into proper use as a second set of through lines were added on the east side of Bridge Street meaning that the line south was now quadruple track. This was the re-organisation which allowed the extra platform, number 9.
Glasgow Central Low Level opened below ground level in 1896. This station runs out west from under the high level station almost as far as West Campbell Street below Argyle Street.
The major rebuilding of 1901-5 not only extended the station to the west but had a complete re-organisation of the existing platforms, raising of the existing bridge, the addition of a new larger bridge over the Clyde, a new approach to passenger flows and a complete resignalling resulting in a new Glasgow Central box, a power frame, being erected between the Clyde Viaduct [Glasgow Central] [1st] and Clyde Viaduct [Glasgow Central]. Signal gantries crossed the approach lines. The architects of the rebuilt station were Donald Matheson and James Miller.
Platform 1&2 was now on the east side (platform numbering was reversed). This long platform reaches south as far as just short of the Broomielaw. The buffer ends of platforms 3-8 are staggered, those further to the west being progressively further south. 9-13 were much longer platforms built in the new area to the west of the existing area and covered with a new glazed roof. The south end of platform 11/12 was the fish, fruit and milk platform, with two short platforms on either side.
At platform level are dark wooden concourse buildings, with curved shapes to allow crowds to 'flow' round, including the large train departure indicator boards, at first floor level.
This extension brought the station very close to the Broomielaw Quay, the quayside from which paddle steamers headed down the River Clyde to numerous Firth of Clyde destinations (famously 'doon the watter'). A baggage lift was added, served by its own short platform, at the south end of the station and west side of the line.
A considerable length of Argyle Street was now covered by the station and became known as the 'Hielanman's Umbrella', a gathering place for Highlandmen. (It's perhaps no coincidence that St Columba's Gaelic Church was nearby to the north and an important tram routes junction just to the east.) From this there were passages giving access up to the main station and down to the low level station. (The famous Clyde Model Dockyard, long associated with the Argyle Arcade, was briefly located here in the 1970s just before its closure).
The station remained largely as rebuilt. In the 1960s (1960-61) the original approach bridge was removed and new girders fitted to the east side for the station approach (the south end of platform 1&2 was slewed a little west). The station was resignallled and platforms and approach lines electrified.
The low level station closed to passengers in 1964. It was to re-open in 1979 as an important station on the Argyle Line.
The train departures board was replaced with an electronic board in the 1980s.
Two new platforms were added in 2010 in anticipation of the new railway to Glasgow Airport (which did not come to fruition). These platforms occupy the former taxi rank on the west side of the station between what were platforms 11 and 12.
With the selling off of former British Transport Hotels, former railway hotels, in 1983 the Central Hotel, built between 1882 and 1884, extended in 1890, became independent of the railway.
Glasgow Grand Central
Tours of the seldom seen parts of the station are available Glasgow Central Station Tours .
Glasgow Central Low Level
St Enoch [Subway]
Central Station Broomielaw Hoist
Buchanan Street [Subway]
Glasgow St Enoch
Glasgow Queen Street Low Level
Glasgow Queen Street High Level
Bridge Street [Subway]
Charing Cross [GC and DR]
| Anderston Tunnel|
Charing Cross Tunnel
Clyde Viaduct [Glasgow Central] [1st]
Clyde Viaduct [Glasgow Central]
Clyde Place Quay
Clyde Place Signal Box
Buchanan Street Goods
St Enoch Locomotive Depot
St Enoch Shopping Centre
George Square [Glasgow]
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
|Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.|
|30/12/1878||Uddingston Junction to Fullwood Junction (Caledonian Railway)|
Mossend branch opened for goods from Uddingston Junction to Fullwood Junction and a curve from Mossend Junction to Holytown Junction. This allowed trains from the Shotts route to approach Glasgow Central rather than Buchanan Street.
|01/05/1972||Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway (Caledoniand Railway)|
Coatbridge Central to Rutherglen Junction re-opened for Glasgow Central to Perth workings
|04/05/1974||Rutherglen and Coatbridge Railway (Caledoniand Railway)|
Coatbridge Central to Rutherglen Junction ceases to be used for Glasgow Central to Perth workings.
Wishaw and Coltness Railway
Clydesdale Junction Railway
Polloc and Govan Railway
Glasgow Central Station|
Glasgow Central to Carlisle electrification complete.
|09/12/1994||Glasgow Central Railway|
The River Kelvin bursts its banks and floods the disused tunnels from Kelvin Bridge to Stobcross, where it floods the open Argyle Line railway. The route through Low Level Glasgow Central is closed between Partick and Rutherglen and trains are diverted onto the Sunnyside Junction to Whifflet section of the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway for access to Motherwell. This remains in operation for around nine months.