Location type


Name and dates

Carstairs (1848-)

Station code: CRS National Rail ScotRail
Where: South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Opened on the Caledonian Railway.
Opened on the Carstairs House Tramway.
Open on the Carlisle to Glasgow.
Open on the Carlisle to Edinburgh.


This is an island platform station on the western junction of the triangular junction at Carstairs. There is a modern station building on the platform which is approached by a footbridge over the Glasgow bound lines.

On opening, the station was briefly known as 'Float'.

The station has been rebuilt a number of times, notably a replacement of the trainshed with canopies around 1913, a track reorganisation in 1972/3, and replacement of the building in 2000. A further re-organisation of the junction took place in 2023.

During the 1913/14 reconstruction the large trainshed which covered the platform was removed. This had brick sidewalls and a large timber roof over the station buildings. The station buildings below the roof were not removed but given a new roof and platform canopies. The two storey part of this building had stood outside the trainshed at the west end of the station, towered over by the large trainshed. The trainshed's roof was partly glazed - with two long sections above each platform.

The original building was described in the Ordnance Survey Name Book thus

This is one of the most important railway stations in the Country as through it daily pass not only the traffic between Edinburgh & Glasgow but the greater part of the traffic between the manufacturing districts of Scotland and England, it contains extensive accommodation for the workmen employed, machinery for the repair of steam engines, also extensive refreshment rooms and all the usual adjuncts of a first class station. The station and surrounding houses are well lit with gas, the main building consists of brick walls and a glass roof which when illuminated at night has a brilliant effect.

Carstairs North Signal Box was at the west end of the station, on the north side of the line and Carstairs South was in the 'V' of the junction at the east end. The small south box was probably replaced by Carstairs Platform box, built immediately to the east of the trainshed around 1900, possibly both coexisted briefly.

In 1902 the north box became box no 2. A box on the same footprint as the 1900 box became no 3.

No 2 box was replaced in 1915 and as the appearance of no 3 differs before and after the rebuilding of 1913/4 it is likely to have been rebuilt around 1915 too.

Boxes 1, 2 3, Dolphinton Junction, Strawfrank Junction, Symington Junction (at Symington [2nd]) and Leggatfoot Signal Box were replaced by a short lived panel box at the station in 1972 before control passed to the Motherwell Signalling Centre in 1973.

It was for electrification the boxes were replaced. Additionally the track level was raised and modified to allow fast non-stop running from Glasgow to Carlisle, leading to the station building being at a sunken level in relation to the rebuilt platform. The east end of the platform was cut back leading to a wedge shaped platform, a complication arising from the modified Glasgow line and its connection to the route to Edinburgh.

The 2000 building reconstruction included demolition of the original station building and replacement with a smaller building. The platform has been extended at its west end.

Alterations in 2023 converted an island platform with loops on either side of the platform lines to an island platform with a double track bypass for non-stop trains to the south, loops on either side and a proper west to north line which avoids the platform. Linespeeds are generally improved, the bypass for Glasgow trains is now 120mph where previously 90mph applied at the south end of the station.

To the north of the station was Carstairs Shed, which provided engines for trains from the south splitting here into Glasgow and Edinburgh portions, bankers and local passenger and goods needs.

The station is in the small village of Carstairs Station which is south east of Carstairs itself. An electric tramway, Carstairs House Tramway, ran south west to Carstairs House, opened in 1888 and closed after 1895.


Station Junction


Carstairs Junction


Gaelic name: Caisteal Tarrais

Chronology Dates

13/10/1853Edinburgh Station and Branches (Caledonian Railway)
From Slateford Junction [1st] to a bay platform by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway's Haymarket station opened. Trains could run from the bay to Carstairs or Falkirk. The line is opened with a running of the Royal Train to Haymarket. The connection at Haymarket was taken out later.
  /  /1863Dolphinton Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Act passed for a branch from Carstairs to Dolphinton [CR].
  /  /1863Caledonian Railway
Approval for the Strawfrank Junction to Dolphinton Junction curve. The curve is required as the Dolphinton Branch (Caledonian Railway) will sever the Lampits Junction to Float Junction curve allowing direct running to Edinburgh Princes Street from the south, rather than reversal at Carstairs.
01/03/1867Dolphinton Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Carstairs to Dolphinton [CR] opened.
14/10/1913Caledonian Railway
Reconstruction of Carstairs station authorised.
04/06/1945Dolphinton Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Dolphinton [CR] to Carstairs (Dolphinton Junction) closed to passengers.
01/11/1950Dolphinton Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Dolphinton [CR] to Carstairs (Dolphinton Junction) closed to freight.
18/04/1966Lanark Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Lanark to Carstairs (Lanark Junction South Curve) closed to passengers.
07/10/1968Lanark Branch (Caledonian Railway)
Lanark to Carstairs (Lanark Junction South Curve) closed to freight. (Alternative date 20/10/1968).

News items

08/12/2023New lift and footbridge for Carstairs Station next year [Glasgow World]
05/06/2023Carstairs Junction fully reopened [Network Rail]
02/06/2023Carstairs closure opens window to improve safety and performance [Network Rail]
23/05/2023Carstairs station to reopen following successful delivery of enhancement programme [Network Rail]
02/05/2023Remodelling Carstairs Junction [Rail Engineer]
29/04/2023Final phase of work on Carstairs rail junction begins [News and Star]
21/04/2023Direct weekday services resume on West Coast mainline [Network Rail]
28/03/2023Easter holiday travel warning for Lanarkshire train passengers [Daily Record]
17/03/2023Avanti West Coast advises customers to check before travelling during next phase of major upgrade work in Scotland [Avanti West Coast]
17/03/2023First phase of Carstairs Junction remodel nearing completion [Network Rail]


An Illustrated History of Carlisle's Railways

Bradshaw's Guides Scotlands Railways West Coast - Carlisle to Inverness: 5

Caledonian Dunalastairs and Associated Classes (Locomotive Monograph)

Caledonian in LMS Days (Railways in Retrospect)

Caledonian Railway

Caledonian Railway Carriages

Caledonian Railway Livery: The True Line Elegance and Style

Caledonian Railway Wagons & Non-Passenger Coaching Stock

Caledonian Routes 3: Stirling to Crianlarich - DVD - Oakwood Press

Caley to the Coast: Rothesay by Wemyss Bay (Oakwood Library of Railway History)

Callander & Oban Railway Through Time

Callander and Oban Railway (Library of Railway History)

Carlisle To Beattock: including the Dumfries Branch (Scottish Main Lines)

Carlisle to Hawick: The Waverley Route (Scml)

Signalling the Caledonian Railway

The Caledonian Railway 'jumbos' the 18in. X 26in. 0-6-0s

The Caledonian, Scotland's Imperial Railway: A History

The Vanished Railways of Old Western Dunbartonshire (Britains Railways/Old Photos)

Through Scotland with the Caledonian Railway

Vanished Railways of West Lothian