Greenock Princes Pier [2nd]

Location type


Name and dates

Greenock Princes Pier [2nd] (1894-1959)

Note: text in square brackets is added for clarity and was not part of the location's name.

Opened on the Greenock and Ayrshire Railway.
Opened on the Glasgow and South Western Railway [Piers].


Greenock Princes Pier was rebuilt for the Glasgow and South Western Railway in 1894 in a grand Italianate style. This was to counter the Gourock extension of the Caledonian Railway which opened in 1889 (and even the opening of Craigendoran Pier on the north bank in 1882).

The station replaced Greenock Princes Pier [1st], a little way to the south.

The new station had four canopied platforms and the large covered circulating area opened out onto Princes Pier itself. Platform 1 was on the west side. The quayside was long enough to accommodate more than one paddle steamer. A two covered exits ran from the circulating area, one to the west and one to the east of the station. The three exit points from the station had towers on either side. The building, two storeys high, was an impressive sight from offshore.

To the east of the passenger station were carriage sidings, Princes Pier Goods (a large goods yard with a notably large cattle depot) and Greenock Albert Harbour. To the south was Princes Pier Shed, on the west side of the line before it entered Union Street Tunnel and the steep climb south and east to Lynedoch. This steep incline led to a series of accidents over the years, breakaway wagons running down into the station.

With the considerable reconstruction the signal box was replaced in 1894. The box was south of Brougham Street and on the east side of the line with a clear view to the station, carriage sidings and goods headshunts (to the north) and engine shed, main line and sidings to the south. Over the lines, just west of the box, was a signal gantry.

The station closed in 1959 to regular traffic. It remained open for boat specials until 1965 and the line south to Kilmacolm singled. Cruise ships would moor at the Tail of the Bank and lighters convey passengers to the pier. Goods continued until 1966/67. The signal box was closed in 1967.

After complete closure the station was burned and demolished in 1967. The pier saw various uses after the station closed before being rebuilt as the Greenock Containerbase, opened in 1969. The dockside is capable of taking vessels of far greater draught than the paddle steamers which formerly called. A large area of hard standing was built on the site of the Albert Dock and former station site. The railway re-opened in 1971 to Greenock Containerbase Sidings, utilising a new connection at Containerbase Junction on the Wemyss Bay line, the old route south via Kilmacolm having closed in 1966.

The railway officially closed in 1991 (out of use around 1986) and has been lifted. The pier continues in use as a container port and, as a deep water pier, also welcomes cruise ships.

The formerly three track bridge over Brougham Street (the A770) to the south of the station remains in place.


Greenock Ocean Terminal



Station terminus pier

External links

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


Legends of the Glasgow and South Western Railway in the L.M.S.Days

The Glasgow & South Western Railway a History