Rothesay Dock

Location type


Name and dates

Rothesay Dock (1907-)

Opened on the Rothesay Dock Branch (North British Railway and Caledonian Railway).


This dock, opened by George, Prince of Wales and Duke of Rothesay, was completed in 1907. It is located in Clydebank, on the north bank of the River Clyde. It was built for the Clyde Navigation Trust and was built for the coal and iron and steel industries. It was built at the East Barns of Clyde.

The dock was built at Clydebank to reduce congestion at General Terminus and Glasgow Harbour and the busy upper reaches of the navigable river.

With local sources of iron ore worked out, ore was increasingly imported for the Lanarkshire steelworks, which had been one of the factors behind the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway to Ardrossan.

William Baird and Company, of the Gartsherie Iron works had purchased mines at Santander, North Spain and the Monte de Hierro mineral field in south Spain.

The north side of the dock had two, then quickly afterwards four, coal hoists for coal export. The south side was equipped with cranes. Dockside equipment, cranes, capstans etc, was electrically operated.

The dock had its outer basin at the west end. The west side of the basin had a cement works. The east end inner basin quaysides were served by the joint Rothesay Dock Branch (North British Railway and Caledonian Railway). The dock was approached from Clydebank Dock East Junction (Clydebank Dock was the original name before official opening) on the North British Railway system and from Scotstoun West Junction on the Caledonian Railway system. The line passed directly below Yoker Ferry on its approach to the dock.

The hoists were served by a large marshalling yard to the east, the southern quayside by a smaller yard to its south. The east end of these yards was crossed by Green Road and a well known long lattice footbridge crossed the lines. Yoker Green Road Signal Box was located here.

So large was the concern that it had its own power station on the northern quayside.

Strip coil was later imported via the dock for Gartcosh Steelworks and coal was imported, a reversal of the original situation.

The approach from Scotstoun West Junction fell out of use in 1980. By this time it was no longer used as an approach, the yard was simply used as a method of accessing the remaining goods only portions of the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway.

Coal import (for the Ravenscraig Steelworks finished with the opening of the Hunterston Ore Terminal in 1980. (General Terminus also closed.) The sidings and connection at Clydebank Dock East Junction fell out of use, allowing the yard there to be redeveloped as Yoker Depot in 1987-9. Space was left for a possible approach for the dock, which was not laid at first.

Track was relaid in 1988 for what turned out to be a very brief period of coal import for Kincardine Power Station (and apparently some later ran, or were planned to run, to Longannet Power Station or Cockenzie Power Station). It was said afterwards that this imported coal was to break an arrangement between the SSEB and British Coal, to show that coal could be sourced more cheaply from elsewhere, and that the railway been misled it would be a long term flow. Trains leaving the dock ran west to Dumbarton to run round, probably to then use the route via Cowlairs North Junction. Afterwards the line was abandoned again and after a long period of dereliction has been lifted.

An oil depot operates from the north quay and a marina is at the east end of the dock.

To the north west was the Clydebank Engineering and Shipbuilding Works and to the south east the Yoker Power Station.


Clyde Boatyard

Nustar Energy


Dock coal export ore import


Clydebank Dock

External links

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


  /  /1893William Baird and Company
Purchase mines at Santander, North Spain and the Monte de Hierro mineral field in south Spain. This traffic was initially received at General Terminus (Glasgow Harbour), but the harbour commissioners soon had plans for a new facility at Rothesay Dock served by the Rothesay Dock Branch (North British Railway and Caledonian Railway).
  /  /1958Ravenscraig Steel WorksGeneral Terminus and Glasgow Harbour Railway
General Terminus re-built for importing coal and iron ore as the facilities at Rothesay Dock and the Rothesay Dock Branch (North British Railway and Caledonian Railway) were not sufficient.
  /  /1988Rothesay Dock Branch (North British Railway and Caledonian Railway)
Single track line reinstated from Yoker Depot to the Rothesay Dock for imported coal trains from here to Kincardine Power Station (Kincardine Line). The former Rothesay dock yard was ripped up and replaced with a loop.