A History of Britain’s Railways

Buchanan Street Extension

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Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway) 

This line was built as the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway's Glasgow Townhead terminus station was inconveniently located outside Glasgow up a hill. This line is now closed. This was an approach line and terminus at the top (north) end of Buchanan Street for locations such as Aberdeen, Perth, Dundee West, Stirling and Oban. Services which previously ran to this station were diverted to Glasgow Queen Street on closure. There were very extensive goods yards at this station which have also closed.

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Opened 01/11/1849
Closed 07/11/1966

The very large site of the former passenger and goods stations are now occupied by the Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotrail house, a number of carparks and some vacant land. The southern portal of the tunnel which passed under the Monklands Canal still exists - the canal now being replaced by the M8 motorway. The approach to the station was double track and there were four passenger platforms. The platforms were canopied - the canopies being taken from the rambling Ardrossan North station when Buchanan Street station was re-built.

The Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway had attempted to extend its line to central Glasgow on a viaduct but this was considered to high an approach to Glasgow by the Caledonian Railway when it took over - so this alignment was abandoned and the Buchanan Street line planned.

Clickable map of the Buchanan Street Extension

Local area 


The terminus of this line was to the north of the Glasgow's city centre.



Description of route 


From Buchanan Street passenger and goods station via a tunnel and cutting through the Tennant factory's waste to St. Rollox and further east to Milton Junction.

Buchanan Street


The site of the passenger station is now occupied by Railtrack's Scotrail house headquarters, and goods station is occupied by the Campus of the Glasgow Caledonian University. When first opened express trains from London and the south terminated here until the opening of Glasgow Central Station.

Buchanan Street Shed


This locomotive shed was on the other side of the Dobbies Loan road overbridge from the station. The shed was a two road brick shed with a 20 foot turntable. It was opened in ~1884 and in. ~1862 partly re-built. It became out of use around ~1930 except for as a station pilot stabling point. Demolished by ~1945 and just a pile of rubble in 1952. The turntable here went out of use at station's closure, november 1966.

St Rollox


Between Buchanan Street to St Rollox the passenger line was joined by the large fan of rails from the goods station (occupied by the Glasgow Caledonian University) became double track, passed under the Union Canal (now occupied by the M8, the south tunnel portal still exists), the line ran through a cutting (this was cut through the waste dumps from the nearby Tennants works, the site is now landscaped), was crossed by a Port Dundas branch of the original Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway (site also landscaped), and ran uphill to St Rollox station.

The station had two platforms and was in a cutting. To the north was the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway's Sighthill Goods yard (site now occupied by a Costco cash and carry) and to the south was the Caledonian Railway's large St Rollox works. The station site and cutting have been infilled, landscaped and a footpath now runs here.

Sighthill West Temporary Junction


This was a temporary junction between the Caledonian Railway's line and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway's Sighthill Branch. The connection was established when the Glasgow, Dumbarton and Helensburgh Railway did not agree with the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway's terms for the use of Queen Street station. The first trains to and from Helensburgh ran from Buchanan Street rather than Queen Street. The junction faced south west towards Buchanan Street station. No trace remains.

St Rollox Works


These works were originally established by the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway. A connection was laid from the Buchanan Street line when it opened. The works are still in operation, but have been largely cut back, much of the site is now occupied by a Tesco supermarket.

Sighthill East Junction


Confusingly this name is now applied to Sighthill Junction, just south of Springburn station.

This junction faced east towards Coatbridge. A spur was built from the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway's Sighthill to connect to the Caledonian Railway's line. The Sighthill Goods yard was re-built in later years to be approached from the east rather than the north with the new approach tracks using this connection. Nearby was a west facing junction for a line whcih ran round the north side of Balornock shed and re-connected at Robroyston West Junction. This line had connections to the Switchback Railway (which provided a connection to the Clydesdale Junction Railway at Rutherglen) and Hamiltonhill Branch (which was the starting point of the Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire Railway).

On the closure of Buchanan Street trains to Cumbernauld were diverted to use this spur to approach Springburn station where they terminated at the non-electrified through passenger lines. Springburn was and is also served by local electrified services running along the former City of Glasgow Union Railway to Queen Street Low Level and beyond. The goods by-pass lines were retained at Springburn as these tracks were often occupied by these stopped trains. In preparation for the opening of the Cowlairs chord the service continued to Cowlairs and then reversed direction and ran to Queen Street station. On the opening of the chord these services ran directly without reversal and the goods lines were lifted.

Milton Junction


Here the Buchanan Street line joined the original course of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway at an east facing junction. From here the line ran steadily downhill into Glasgow and Buchanan Street station.

Page created on 07/01/1997
Page last edited on: 07/08/2011
Contact: Ewan Crawford