Buchanan Street

Location type


Name and dates

Buchanan Street (1849-1966)

Opened on the Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway).


This was a major terminus in Glasgow. It was located at the north end of Buchanan Street. This was the station for the north with destinations such as Stirling, Oban, Dundee West and Aberdeen. It is particularly associated with the 3 hour expresses to Aberdeen hauled by A4 Pacifics in the 1960s.

In late 1849 the Caledonian Railway opened the station to replace the small and inconvenient Glebe Street station, terminus of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway which was to the north east. The station was built on the site of East Cowcaddens Quarry. The older company had been building the terminus for its own use, before being taken over by the Caledonian, and so it was slightly inadequate for the Caledonian's purposes.

The original terminus was a two platform station with a timber trainshed. One platform was used for arrivals and one for departure. Between the platform lines were sidings connected with turnplates. The station, from opening, became the main Caledonian Railway terminus in Glasgow and took the traffic from England. Buchanan Street Goods opened on the east side of the station in 1850.

The station was planned to be altered to the designs of the architect John Thomas Rochead in 1858.

Two additional timber trainsheds were added as traffic increased and services for the north were diverted away from Glasgow Queen Street High Level (particularly following the opening of the Hayhill Branch - Gartcosh Junction to Garnqueen North Junction - in 1866.

In 1871, the opening of the Glasgow and Coatbridge Branch (North British Railway), the North British Railway trains for Airdrie and the Monklands were diverted to the new line. The North British Railway had a ticket office at Buchanan Street.

With the opening of Glasgow Central in 1879 trains from England were diverted to that station. Approach to the station and goods yard was under Dobbies Loan and a three arch stone bridge carried the road over the trackbed.

On the 20th of January 1883 a station coal shed was blown up during the 'Fenian Dynamite Campaign'.

An additional goods yard (a warehouse and potato shed) was laid out on the east side in 1909, approached by a new route from Buchanan Street Tunnel West Signal Box under Dobbies Loan, passing under a long girder viaduct.

The station grew to have five platforms, in timber. The original trainshed, and additions, were still in use in 1932/3 when station reconstruction began to built the station familiar in the 1960s.

A new building was erected at the station frontage and platforms and sidings altered to provide a six platform station. The platform canopies from Ardrossan North were re-used. Carriage sidings were laid on the north side alongside the terminus.

Buchanan Street signal box was at the throat of the station on the north side of the railway west of Dobbies Loan. On the east side of Dobbies Loan was Buchanan Street Shed, on the north side of the line. Beyond this the line was met with the Buchanan Street Goods lines at Buchanan Street Tunnel West Signal Box and entered the Buchanan Street Tunnel.

The goods yard closed in 1962. The passenger station closed in 1966. The remaining traffic was transferred to Glasgow Queen Street High Level, but with the demise of the Strathmore line, the eastern portion of the Oban line and other closures this was a consolidation of services at Queen Street.

The site is now student flats, Scotrail House (once the carriage sidings) and the Glasgow Caledonian University. A single short portion of platform remains in a car park.

The climb from the station was uphill. Assisting engines (bankers) were used when leaving Glasgow, these being dropped at Robroyston.


Glasgow Caledonian University


Station terminus


Glasgow Buchanan Street

External links

NLS Collection OS map of 1892-1914
NLS Collection OS map of 1944-67

Nearby stations
Cowcaddens [Subway]
Glasgow Queen Street High Level
Glasgow Queen Street Low Level
Buchanan Street [Subway]
Glasgow Central
Glasgow (Townhead)
Glasgow Central Low Level
Argyle Street
Glasgow St Enoch
Charing Cross [GC and DR]
St Enoch [Subway]
Dunlop Street
High Street
College [1st]
Central Station Broomielaw Hoist
Buchanan Street Goods
Atlas Works
Port Dundas Foundry
Buchanan Street Shed
Bergius Engineering Works
Pulteney Street Engine Works
Port Dundas Engine Works
Cowlairs Tunnel
London Wharf [Port Dundas]
Carron Wharf [Port Dundas]
Hamburgh Wharf [Port Dundas]
Leith Wharf [Port Dundas]
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Buchanan Galleries
Buchanan Street Tunnel West Signal Box
Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.

Unofficial train names

In addition to the more famous named trains such as the 'Grampian Corridor' there were some unofficial, far less salubrious names.

The last evening train out from Buchanan Street to Glenboig was known as the 'Drunks' Special' and that to Stirling the 'Whores' Express'.

Chronology Dates

  /  /1847Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
New better sited Glasgow terminus in Buchanan Street authorised. Glasgow, Garnkirk and Coatbridge Railway proposed line abandoned. Proposed Garscube Road line abandoned.
01/11/1849Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Glasgow Buchanan Street opened on a new extension which branched off at Milton Junction and ran parallel to the original line before passing under it and the Monkland Canal in a tunnel. English trains via the Caledonian Railway main line are diverted from South Side [CR] to the new more suitable station.
  /  /1853Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Authorisation to build Buchanan Street Station Hotel.
  /  /1853Sighthill Branch (Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway) Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Sighthill branch authorised. Sighthill West Junction [1st] and Sighthill East Junction [1st] authorised to be formed with the Buchanan Street line.
28/05/1858Glasgow, Dumbarton and Helensburgh Railway
Opened as single track from Cowlairs Junction to Bowling and Dalreoch Junction to Helensburgh. Due to a disagreement over station access charges between the company and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway the first trains ran to Buchanan Street using the Sighthill Branch (Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway) and a connection at St Rollox (Sighthill West Junction) with the Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway) line. The disagreement was resolved a month later. (Alternative date 31st.) Stations opened at (eastern portion) Maryhill, Dalmuir [1st] and Kilpatrick, and (western portion) Cardross and Helensburgh.
  /  /1865Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Authorisation to enlarge and improve the Glasgow Buchanan Street terminus.
01/04/1868Lesmahagow Railway
Ferniegair to Motherwell, Lesmahagow Junction, opened to passengers. Trains start running from Buchanan Street to Lesmahagow [1st].
01/01/1870Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Completion of expansion works at Glasgow Buchanan Street. The station begins to handle traffic from the north, which had previously used Glasgow Queen Street High Level where the Caledonian Railway had a ticket office. (Another improvement, the Hayhill Branch (Caledonian Railway), giving direct access to the north without reversal at Coatbridge [CR], had opened in 1866.)
01/01/1870Hayhill Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Opened to passengers, with the opening of Glasgow Buchanan Street.
02/01/1871Glasgow and Coatbridge Branch (North British Railway)
Line opened. With this opening North British Railway trains for Airdrie and the Monklands are diverted from Glasgow Buchanan Street to the new railway.
01/10/1878Uddingston Junction to Fullwood Junction (Caledonian Railway)
Uddingston Junction to Fullwood Junction opened for goods. This new line would allow trains from the Shotts route to approach Glasgow Central (under construction) rather than Buchanan Street.
01/05/1879Uddingston Junction to Fullwood Junction (Caledonian Railway)
Mossend branch opened for passengers from Uddingston Junction to Fullwood Junction. Associated with the impending opening of Glasgow Central and the diversion of trains from Edinburgh Princes Street via Shotts from Buchanan Street.
01/09/1879Glasgow Central Station (Caledonian Railway)
Glasgow Central fully opened. Trains for England via the Caledonian Railway are transferred from Glasgow Buchanan Street. The service to Edinburgh Princes Street is also transferred. South Side [CR] closed.
20/01/1883Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
As part of the 'Fenian Dynamite Campaign' a coal shed at Buchanan Street was blown up. The Tradeston Gas Works were also attacked and there was an attempt to blow up the Possil Street canal bridge.
  /  /1900Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Authorisation to lengthen the Dobbies Loan Bridge (crossing the throat of Buchanan Street station and Buchanan Street Goods).
  /  /1900Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Purchase of Glasgow City Poorhouse, east of Buchanan Street station, for expansion of Buchanan Street Goods.
  /  /1902Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Expansion of Buchanan Street passenger station approved.
  /  /1932Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Buchanan Street station re-built. Reconditioned canopies from Ardrossan North (which had just closed), on the Lanarkshire and Ayrshire Railway,were erected.
  /  /1962Aberdeen Joint (Caledonian Railway) Aberdeen Railway Arbroath and Forfar Railway Scottish Midland Junction Railway Scottish Central Railway Caledonian Railway Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
A4 Pacifics introduced on the Aberdeen to Glasgow Buchanan Street 3 hour Grampian run.
06/09/1962Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Brake failure at Buchanan Street station results in a collision.
03/09/1966Aberdeen Joint (Caledonian Railway) Aberdeen Railway Arbroath and Forfar Railway Scottish Midland Junction Railway Scottish Central Railway Caledonian Railway Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
A4 Pacifics from Aberdeen to Glasgow Buchanan Street withdrawn.
07/11/1966Buchanan Street Extension (Caledonian Railway)
Buchanan Street station closed; Buchanan Street to Sighthill East Junction closed. Where possible trains are diverted to Glasgow Queen Street High Level. A local shuttle to Cumbernauld commences from Springburn.

News items

13/01/2023Glasgow's forgotten railway station lost in decades of change [Glasgow Times]
14/12/2021Glasgow Subway celebrates turning 125 with Buchanan Street party [Glasgow Times]
09/04/2018Those were the days 1930: The Glasgow railway station that time forgot [Herald]
13/10/2015Glasgow Crossrail: Will the ‘missing link’ be built? [Scotsman]
09/01/2008Going underground with Wi-Fi trial. [Scotsman article]
30/06/2003Partick Interchange improvements