Glasgow Queen Street High Level: Scotrail HST powercar 43035 on a training run from Eastfield to Perth shortly after arrival at Queen Street Platform 7 on 7th November 2018.
Colin McDonald 07/11/2018

Glasgow Queen Street High Level

Location type


Name and dates

Glasgow Queen Street High Level (1842-)

Station code: GLQ National Rail ScotRail
Where: Glasgow City, Scotland
Opened on the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway.
Open on the West Highland Line.
Open on the Glasgow to Perth.
Open on the Glasgow to Anniesland via Maryhill.


This is a high level terminus with seven platforms under a large glazed barrel roof trainshed to the north of George Square [Glasgow]. It is a terminus for lines to the north, west and east. The railway was electrified in 2016.

The station is undergoing a major expansion and renovation (2019,2020). The works will, for the first time in its history, bring the station frontage out into the open alongside George Square.

The station is terminus for services to Oban, Fort William, Mallaig, Anniesland, Stirling, Dunblane, Perth, Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh Waverley.

Below the station is Glasgow Queen Street Low Level, opened in 1886. Its running lines are a 90 degrees to the main station.

The station is built into the side of a hill, the site of the Crawford Mansion and a quarry (Dovanhill Quarry) before opening. It was the western terminus of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway. Until 1870 it was the terminus for Caledonian Railway trains to Stirling, Perth and the north and the company had a ticket office.

The northern end of the station is within a deep dressed stone lined cutting with Cowlairs Tunnel running northwards beyond. The steep climb is the Cowlairs Incline, up which trains were once hauled by cable powered by steam engine at Cowlairs.

The station has its frontage onto the north side of Glasgow's George Square. Much of the station dates from the major rebuilding between 1877 and 1888 which enlarged the station and provided the roof. The architect was James Carswell. This is a glazed tied arch, 450 by 250 feet and 78 feet tall. Under this are the passenger platforms. There was a very small goods yard on the east side, not sufficient for the goods traffic, which led to the opening of Sighthill Goods in 1855.

The goods yard was altered several times, but the general layout was a series of covered platforms outside the main trainshed on the east side, a parcels department and a beer store with, in the north east corner, a grain and flour warehouse.

Many of the alterations to the trainshed and surrounding buildings were made in the 1960s and 1970s. These are now being replaced and an entirely new frontage (2019) built. The roof had a narrow escape in the 1960s when it was to be replaced with platform canopies.

The station's signal box (1881) was located on a gantry over the lines at the station throat. This closed in 1967, replaced by Cowlairs Power Box. The gantry remained in place afterwards until the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre was built at the north end of the station.

The apparent second tunnel entry at the north end of the station, on the east of the Cowlairs Tunnel, does not lead to a tunnel.


The Buchanan Galleries shopping centre is to the north of the station, overshadowing the entry to the Cowlairs Tunnel.

The North British Hotel was to the east of the station. It became a British Transport Hotel and was sold in 1984. It is now the Millenium Hotel Glasgow .

Glasgow City Council - George Square Webcam


Station terminus


Glasgow Queen Street


Gaelic name: Glaschu Sraid na Banrighinn

Chronology Dates

18/02/1842Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level station opened (originally called Glasgow or Dundas Street). (Date also given as the 21st.)
  /  /1844Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Banking engines Hercules (loco no 21) and Samson (no 22) tried on the Cowlairs Incline between Glasgow Queen Street High Level and Cowlairs. Rope haulage was used to assist locomotives pulling trains up this incline. The rope was dropped at the top of the incline. Brake vans were used going down into Glasgow Queen Street High Level.
28/08/1863Glasgow and Milngavie Junction Railway
Line opened as a single track. Stations at; Bearsden, Milngavie. The line ran from Milngavie to Milngavie Junction (later renamed Westerton Junction) with trains continuing to Glasgow Queen Street High Level until the Glasgow City and District Railway opened after which trains started to serve Glasgow Queen Street Low Level.
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.)
  /  /1879Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level station re-built.
  /  /1888Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Improvement to Glasgow Queen Street High Level station complete. The tunnel mouth at the foot of the Cowlairs Tunnel was opened out in preparation for the opening of a second (eastern) bore, and although the portal was built the tunnel was not.
23/05/1949West Highland Railway
Passenger services between Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Crianlarich [WHR] and Oban start.
03/03/1954Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Accident with banking engine at Glasgow Queen Street High Level station demolishes destination board.
06/01/1964Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level Goods closed.
  /  /1965Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level closed to steam.
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.
  /  /1973Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level and Glasgow Queen Street Low Level modernised.
02/12/1993Glasgow, Dumbarton and Helensburgh Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level to Maryhill re-opened for local passenger service (Stations at; Maryhill, Lambhill, Summerston, Possilpark, Ashfield), trains continue to Knightswood West Junction to swap tracks.
  /03/2004Edinburgh Airport Rail Link
Proposed scheme would have a station under Edinburgh Airport served by a link off the Forth Bridge Connecting Lines (North British Railway) and the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway and the Forth Bridge lines. The layout would be southern approaches (both approached from the east) from South Gyle and Gogar combining and passing under Edinburgh Airport before dividing with a western link to Humbie Signal Box and northern link to Dalmeny South Junction. This layout would allow trains from Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Queen Street High Level to serve the station and the line to the north from Edinburgh to Fife, Aberdeen and Inverness over the Forth Bridge. The estimated cost was £500M.
  /03/2004Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Automatic ticket barriers installed at Glasgow Queen Street High Level.
  /  /2006Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level: additional platforms intended during a £50m expansion between 2006 and 2012. To finance the work offices and flats are to be built on the car park to the east of the site. [This proposal did not go ahead in this form.]
  /01/2011Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Tenders requested for the reconstruction of Glasgow Queen Street High Level. Redevelopment is to include a link to Buchanan Galleries and a 1500 space car park.
  /10/2011Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Glasgow Queen Street High Level to receive new frontage and access to Buchanan Galleries.
  /07/2018Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Consort House and the Millenium Hotel extension demolished to allow enlargement of Glasgow Queen Street High Level.
  /03/2019Network Rail
The Glasgow St Enoch station clock is requested from Cumbernauld for the rebuilt Glasgow Queen Street High Level.
12/08/2020Aberdeen Railway
HST derails after hitting landslide at Carron Water Bridge [West Carmont], three are killed. The train was halted en route south from Aberdeen to Glasgow Queen Street High Level due to flooding to the south of Carmont. After reversing and returning through Carmont to Stonehaven a landslip is hit derailing the train some of which is destroyed by fire. The line is closed for investigation, clearance and repairs.
04/10/2021Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway
Official date of completion of the rebuilding of Glasgow Queen Street High Level.

News items

09/01/2023Queen Street Celebrates an Award Winning Year [Network Rail Media Centre]
04/10/2021Scotland putting rail decarbonisation at heart of net zero plans [Transport Scotland]
04/10/2021Nicola Sturgeon faces union protest as First Minister officially opens revamped Queen Street station [Daily Record]
04/10/2021First Minister marks completion of £120m Glasgow Queen Street rebuild [Network Rail]
07/08/2021Scotland Weather: Speed restrictions on Scottish trains due to heavy rain across the country [Scotsman]
01/07/2021Revamped Glasgow Queen Street Station has the wow factor and is a further sign of railway revival Alastair Dalton [Scotsman]
19/05/2021New 'distinctive' entrance and outdoor plaza planned for Queen Street station [Glasgow Live]
14/01/2021Uncovering history at Glasgow Queen Street station [ScotRail]
27/11/2020Scotland's Railway on-track for 16m Christmas upgrade [Network Rail Media Centre]
28/10/2020Three years of transformation enters final phase at Queen Street [Network Rail]


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An Illustrated History of Edinburgh's Railways

An Illustrated History of Glasgow's Railways

An Illustrated History of Glasgow's Railways

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Edinburgh (Rail Centres)
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Edinburgh Waverley

Edinburgh Waverley Station Through Time
Edinburgh's Transport: The Early Years v. 1
Glasgow Stations

Glasgow's Last Days of Steam

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Memories of Steam from Glasgow to Aberdeen

Memories of Steam from Glasgow to Aberdeen

On Either Side, 1939: The Train between London King's Cross & Edinburgh Waverley, Fort William, Inverness & Aberdeen (Old House)

Rails Around Glasgow

The Next Stop: Inverness to Edinburgh, station by station

This Magnificent Line (the story of the Edinburgh-Glasgow Railway

Vanished Railways of West Lothian