Glasgow (Townhead)

Location type


Name and dates

Glasgow (Townhead) (1831-1849)

Opened on the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway.


This was an early passenger terminus in Glasgow opened in 1831. Known variously as
- Glebe Street
- Glasgow (Townhead)
- St Rollox [1st]
It was simply the Glasgow terminus of the line when opened, the first Glasgow station.

This was the west terminus of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway which ran east to the Monklands, meeting the Monkland and Kirkintilloch Railway at its Gartsherrie [M and K] station. Many passengers, in the early days, were day trippers from Glasgow to the Gartsherrie Inn. An arrangement was made to continue the journey via the M&K and a short portion of the Ballochney Railway to Airdrie [Leaend] - the carriage being horse drawn. (Later trains could continue to locations such as Kipps, Slamannan, Coatbridge [NB] and Motherwell Junction). The terminus was by a bend in the 'Cut of Junction' linking the Forth and Clyde Canal and Monkland Canal. Townhead Basin, not far away to the east, had been the starting place for passenger boats to Coatbridge and Airdrie via the Monkland Canal.

In 1840 Francis Whishaw described the terminus

At the St Rollox depot there are several lines of way the buildings for the repairs of the locomotive engines and for the carriages & c are here situate and there is a small booking office and passenger hall or what in England is better known as a waiting room.

A reasonable guess might be that the terminus was at Glebe Street with lines continuing a short distance over the road to reach the canal at Glasgow Field, St Rollox Depot. The chemical works did not extend quite as far west as Glebe Street at the time, (muriatic and sulphuric acid sections were added by Glebe Street later).

Initially passengers paid on leaving the station. From March 1837 a booking office opened.

Astonishingly it was to this primitive terminus that the trains from England, via the brand new Caledonian Railway, ran between 15 February 1848 and 1 June 1849 when South Side [CR] took the traffic with the opening of the Clydesdale Junction Railway. In preparation the Garnkirk and Glasgow line was re-gauged in 1847.

The station was known by several different names. Most likely it was known as the Glasgow terminus of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway during its short lifetime. Names associated with it include Glebe Street, Glasgow (Townhead) and St Rollox.

The location was by the Glebe Street level crossing near the St Rollox Chemical Works.

The site was distant from the city centre and it was replaced by Buchanan Street in 1849 (taking the traffic away from South Side [CR]) to make a more fitting terminus for the new Caledonian Railway. After this date the site was subsumed into the goods lines, particularly the coal yard at St Rollox Depot, at Townhead. The original terminus was wholly unsuited being on high ground above the city and located by a chemical works and canal coal depot (rather betraying the purpose of the line) the new terminus was closer into the city.

In the 1840s the goods sidings expanded west from the original terminus close to Glebe Street to reach as far as Canal Street. This led to a curve from the original NE-SE alignment to turn westwards parallel to the canal, serving a series of coal drops. The lines crossing over Glebe Street were essentially laid out as a form of marshalling yard for the new coal drops and nearby works. See the St Rollox Depot entry.

Broomhill Cottage, which appeared as a cottage from the north and a stone built two storey two road shed from the east, has been referred to as the booking office. However it has also been pointed out that on demolition the stone turned out to be stone sleepers. The building is to the north of, and aligned with, the 1840s goods yard extension. This location, the far side of the terminus from Glasgow, does not seem appropriate for a booking office. The upper floor may have been used by the goods agent for the enlarged goods facilities. It may not date from the opening, but it cannot be ruled out that it was associated with the station. As to the purpose of the lower level both engine shed and carriage shed have been mentioned. The cottage site is to the west of Pinkston Road. Glebe Street Works shed was on the east side.

Nothing remains today, the trackbed has been landscaped and, along with the Monkland Canal, partly covered by the M8 motorway. The station may have been on the west side of today's Pinkston Road.


Terminus station


Glebe Street St Rollox [1st]

External links

Canmore site record
NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Chronology Dates

01/06/1831Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow (Townhead) and Gartgill (Gartsherrie) stations opened at either end of the line.
27/09/1831Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow (Townhead) to Gartgill (Gartsherrie) opened officially.
  /  /1842Cut of Junction
The portion of canal between St Rollox Depot/Glasgow (Townhead) (Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway) and Port Dundas Basin is improved by increasing the canal depth. This portion was originally only 4ft deep (depth of the Monkland Canal) which prohibited the larger coal boats of the Forth and Clyde Canal reaching St Rollox. The railway depot was rebuilt and enlarged in the 1840s.
15/02/1848Caledonian Railway
Beattock to Glasgow (Townhead) (via the Wishaw and Coltness Railway and the Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway) and Edinburgh (Lothian Road) branch opened. The stations at Abington and Elvanfoot, on its main line, are used by the lead mines and villages at Leadhills and Wanlockhead.
01/11/1849Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow (Townhead) to Milton Junction closed to passengers.
24/07/1968Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow (Townhead) to Milton Junction closed.


The Monkland & Kirkintilloch and associated railways