Grangemouth Docks

Location type


Name and dates

Grangemouth Docks

Opened on the Grangemouth Harbour Railways (Caledonian Railway).


The docks developed over an extended period.


The first set were particularly associated with the Forth and Clyde Canal opening. The first part of the canal was opened in the 1770s, progressively extended west to Glasgow, Hamiltonhill Basin and finally Bowling Canal Basin on the River Clyde.

Grangemouth Old Harbour was located on the south bank of the River Carron. The Grange Burn ran to this location before being relocated into a channel to the east.

Grangemouth Canal Basin was to the west and connected by a sea lock to Grangemouth Old Harbour. The town of Grangemouth developed from a nucleus around this basin.

Grangemouth Bonded Timber Basin (west timber basin) was added to the south of the canal, just west of Grangemouth Canal Basin. Large quantities of Baltic timber came to Grangemouth, much destined for mining uses (pit-props etc). Initially forwarded by canal it was later dispatched by rail. Large sawmills developed by the docks.

After relocation of the Grange Burn further docks were added.

Grangemouth Timber Basin (east timber basin) was to the south of the canal just east of Grangemouth Bonded Timber Basin. Grangemouth station was built to the immediate east.

Grangemouth Junction Dock (was Upper Dock) was opened to the east of the Grangemouth Timber Basin and south of Grangemouth Old Harbour. Opened 1859, an enlargement of the channel between Grangemouth Old Dock and Grangemouth Timber Basin.

Grangemouth Old Dock opened in 1843 to the east of Grangemouth Junction Dock and Grangemouth Old Harbour. It had a sealock connecting to the River Carron.

The Grangemouth Railway was to the east side of these docks. The station was just east of Grangemouth Timber Basin with non passenger lines continuing north to Grangemouth Junction Dock and Grangemouth Old Dock, both originally served from the south.

The Grangemouth Railway opened to goods in 1860 and passengers in 1861. The Caledonian Railway took over the canal, and railway, in 1867.

The next developments added a harbour for seagoing vessels and facilities for coal exports.

Carron Dock (originally New Dock) opened in 1883 by the Caledonian Railway to the south of Grangemouth Old Dock, with which there was a connection, and continued east to join the River Carron. This was a ship dock with a large entry lock, rather than a dock for canal sized vessels. The Caledonian were the new owners of the Grangemouth Railway and its former owner the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The goods line to the Old Dock had to cross over a swing bridge between the Old Dock and Carron Dock to serve the Old Dock. Extra lines were added serving the north side of the Carron Dock. A new branch was added north of Grangemouth station to serve the southern quayside of the Carron Dock and curving lines from this served staithes at the dock's east end. The Caledonian Saw Mills, south of the dock, were also served.

The next phase of development hugely expanded the seagoing vessels docks. The Grange Burn was relocated again further east. Much of the expansion was with a view to increase capacity to export coal. Unfortunately the Great War was to lead to a huge decline in demand for British coal in Europe.

The Grangemouth Western Channel was added to the east end of the Carron Dock and ran east to the Grange Dock. The quaysides were rail served. It is connected to the Grange Dock by the Western Cut, which is crossed by a road and rail swing bridge, still complete with signal box. The old entry to the Grange Dock from the Carron became a dry dock.

The Grange Dock opened in 1906. It directly connected to the Western Channel and has a large canting area at the east end and dock to the west south of the Western Channel.

The Grange Dock is connected via a sealock to the Firth of Forth by the Grangemouth Eastern Channel.

The railway was very substantially expanded to serve these new docks.

A new branch was opened from alongside Grangemouth station which ran east to serve the new docks. Additionally a connection was made from this to the staith lines of the Grange Dock. The branch ran east to a large marshalling yard laid out south of the Grangemouth Western Channel. To the north of the yard a branch ran to the central island pier and southern quay of the Grange Dock. From the east end of the marshalling yard staith lines ran north to serve the south quay of the canting are of the Grange Dock. A further line ran north east to the Grangemouth Eastern Channel. This line was to become the approach to the west end of the Grangemouth Oil Refinery.

Along with these railway expansions next to the docks large marshalling yards were laid out on either side of the line east of Fouldubs Junction. A new locomotive shed was provided at the junction (the old and small Grangemouth Docks Shed closing). The new approach from Swing Bridge Junction opened, effectively quadrupling the line to the Grangemouth Docks.

Present state

Grangemouth Old Harbour is now a small marina.

Grangemouth Canal Basin, and the canal, is infilled. It is now buried under warehousing.

Grangemouth Bonded Timber Basin is infilled. The site is very difficult to discern indeed. Warehousing covers the site.

Grangemouth Timber Basin is infilled, however the margins of the basin can be seen. The site is not currently (2018) developed and is rough ground.

Grangemouth Junction Dock still exists but sees little use.

Grangemouth Old Dock also exists and sees little use.

Carron Dock is still in active use. It is no longer rail served.

Grangemouth Western Channel also remains in use. The West Cut between the channel and the Carron Dock has a disused railway swing bridge, still with signal box.

Grange Dock has a container depot on the south side of the canting area. The railway served this quayside until recently, although containers are generally loaded at the depots at Fouldubs Junction.

Grangemouth Eastern Channel is also in use, and enlarged on the west side. It is not railway served but the railway which formerly served it continues east to the Grangemouth Oil Refinery (Grangemouth New Oil Terminal).

The re-opened Forth and Clyde Canal does not follow the original alignment to Grangemouth, but uses a new alignment east of and parallel to the former Carron Cut to reach the River Carron.


Grangemouth Heritage Trust


Docks basin