Wemyss Bay: Panorama of the circulating area of Wemyss Bay station. The covered walkway to the pier is to the left and ticket office and platforms to the right. See a panning and zoomable version.
Ewan Crawford 17/08/2017

Wemyss Bay

Location type


Name and dates

Wemyss Bay (1905-)

Station code: WMS National Rail ScotRail
Where: Inverclyde, Scotland
Opened on the Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway.
Opened on the Caledonian Steam Packet Company.
Opened on the Caledonian MacBrayne.
Open on the Inverclyde Lines.


This is one of the pre-eminent 'must see' stations in Scotland. In 1905 it replaced an original Wemyss Bay [1st] station of 1865 on a slightly different orientation (see that entry for the 1865-1905 details). It is a terminus and a combined station and pier with a very fine concourse (with semi-circular ticket office supporting the glass roof), canopied platforms, main station building with a clock tower, mock exposed timber on gable ends and a covered walkway to the pier ending with a pair of small towers. The station benefited from the Caledonian Railway's awareness of passenger flows and how to design station to allow passengers to flow from ferry to train and vice versa. The station was designed by James Miller and Donald A Matheson.

In addition to operating the railway the Caledonian Railway operated steamers via the Caledonian Steam Packet Company, effectively extending the railway to the Firth of Clyde piers.

There was a signal box (opened 1893) built on the approach to the station, on the west side and with a signal bridge just to its east. In 1935 the box took over the Wemyss Bay Shed signal box, just to the north.

A line on the west side of the station dropped down a ramp on the west side of the station to the north part of the pier head. This was the baggage line. Wemyss Bay Goods yard was reached by reversal, its goods shed being close to the A78, running down the rear side of the box to reach the goods shed and loading bank.

The box closed in 1967, replaced by Paisley Power Box. The baggage line and goods yard are closed.

Despite conversion of the pier for roll-on-roll-off ferry services to Rothesay Pier the facility is still alongside the station, on the east side of the pier.

The station is now a two platform station, the lines serving the east island platform having been lifted.

The station and line to Wemyss Bay are promoted and supported by the Friends of Wemyss Bay .


Caledonian MacBrayne operate a car carrying ferry service to Rothesay Pier on the Isle of Bute.

Caledonian MacBrayne - Wemyss Bay


Station terminus pier

External links

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


Gaelic name: Bàgh nan Uaimhean

Nearby stations
Wemyss Bay [1st]
Upper Greenock
Fort Matilda
Greenock West
Greenock (Lynedoch)
Greenock Central
Greenock Cathcart Street [1st]
Wemyss Bay Goods
Wemyss Bay Shed
Finnockbog Siding
Inverkip Power Station
Inverkip Tunnels
Daff Glen Viaducts
Clocherlee Quarry
Kelly House
Wemyss House
Castle Wemyss
Skelmorlie Castle
Inverkip House
Innellan Pier
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.

Named for a Fisherman?

(From a poster at Wemyss Bay station.)

In 1814 Wemyss Bay passed from the Ardgowan estate to the Wallaces of Kelly and consisted of little more than a few cottages, four large houses and a hotel. It is said to have been named after a local fisherman, Robert Wemyss, who may have operated the valuable salmon fishery let by the Estate to a Mr Main of an Edinburgh company.

Bàgh nan Uaimhean

The Gaelic name for Wemyss Bay implies a location named for the caves around a bay - Bàgh (bay) nan (of) Uaimhean (caves). However the 'Wemyss' part of the name was a surname from a different part of the country. The family name came from the caves of Wemyss, Fife, home of the Wemyss family.

Chronology Dates

  /  /1862Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway
Act receives Royal assent for a line between Greenock and Wemyss Bay and a pier at Wemyss Bay.
  /  /1863Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway
Extension of proposed line and a different, replacement, pier authorised at Wemyss Bay.
01/05/1865Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway Wemyss Bay Steamboat Company
Operates vessels between Wemyss Bay, Largs Pier and Millport Pier.
15/05/1865Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway
Line opened from Port Glasgow through southern Greenock to Wemyss Bay. Stations at Upper Greenock, Ravenscraig, Inverkip and Wemyss Bay.
  /  /1877Gillies & Campbell
PS Sheila was built by Caird & Co for Gillies & Campbell for the Wemyss Bay to Rothesay Pier service.
  /  /1899Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway
Authorisation to double line, enlarge Wemyss Bay pier and power to dredge at pier.
  /  /1903Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway
Wemyss Bay station and pier re-built in grand style by the Caledonian Railway.
01/06/1903Greenock and Wemyss Bay Railway
Doubling of Dunrod Loop to Wemyss Bay opened.
05/06/1967Glasgow South Bank Electrification Gourock Extension Railway (Caledonian Railway)
Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines electrified.

News items

11/11/2023Extra ScotRail services for Inverclyde hailed by MSP [Greenock Telegraph]
18/10/2023A78 near Wemyss Bay to close overnight for railway bridge survey [Network Rail]
12/10/2023Man says new Wemyss Bay rail service 'slower than in 1967' [Greenock Telegraph]
09/10/2023ScotRail reveal plans for Gourock and Wemyss Bay lines [Greenock Telegraph]
09/08/2023Clyde Coast Fiddlers to play at Wemyss Bay Station [Greenock Telegraph]
01/08/2023Alan Cumming visits Wemyss Bay for Royal Scotsman doc [Greenock Telegraph]
24/07/2023Wemyss Bay Station in search for boy from 1960s photo [Greenock Telegraph]
20/06/2023Wemyss Bay Station praised in Scottish Parliament [Greenock Telegraph]
09/06/2023Wemyss Bay: TV presenter Tim Dunn presents World Cup of Stations Award [Largs and Millport News]
29/05/2023Wemyss Bay train station praised by provost after world cup [Greenock Telegraph]