This is a seven platform terminus for services to and from locations to the south such as Glasgow Queen Street High Level, Edinburgh Waverley and London, and locations north and west such as Kyle of Lochalsh, Thurso and Wick.
The original fine frontage onto Union Street, and a small station square, was replaced in 1968 with a plain modern structure. The Highland Railway's offices (1873-75, architects Matthews and Lawrie) were on the north side of the square and Station Hotel (originally 1855, architect Joseph Mitchell) on the south side. In the square is a memorial statue to those soldiers of the Queen's Own Highlanders killed in the Anglo-Egyptian War of 1882 (erected 1893).
The station is essentially two terminii alongside each other, one for locations to the south and east (platforms 1 to 5) and the other for locations north (platforms 5 to 7). Lines curve out to the east and to the north west connected by a non passenger line to form a triangle.
The buffer ends of the platforms are covered by glazed trainsheds and there is a concourse which had direct access to the hotel and company offices.
The central canopy covering platforms 3 and 4 is the original trainshed of the Inverness and Nairn Railway of 1855. That covering 5 and 6 was for the [[Inverness and Ross-shire Railway in 1861 (this shed is to the west of the original). The two trainsheds covering platforms 1 and 2 were added in 1878 (more than doubling the covered area - these trainsheds are slightly longer). Platform 7 terminates before entering a shed. Platforms 1 and 2 were extended in timber in 1905.
Departure from the main line platforms for Perth and Aberdeen, platforms 1-5, was controlled by 'Locomotive' signal box, dating from 1885. This box was at the east end of platform 2 on the north side and directly to the east of the south wall of the Lochgorm Works. Despite the name it did not control the works or Inverness Shed - the entry into these was controlled from Welsh's Bridge Junction Signal Box, to the east. 'Locomotive' was replaced around 1896/97 in anticipation of the opening of the Direct Line via Slochd Summit and the resignalling which also replaced Welsh's Bridge. The box closed in 1987, replaced by the Inverness Signalling Centre.
There was also an 'Inverness Station' signal box, this was located in the 'V' of the junction at platform 5. It opened in 1898 and closed in 1917 when replaced with a ground frame. The cabin itself was relocated to Murthly to become its south box. A (then) new small cabin was erected over the ground frame, since removed.
An interesting practice, to aid transfers, had trains from the north reverse (on their arrival at Inverness) into the southbound platforms - and vice versa as trains from the south reversed into the northbound platforms. This practice ended in 1989.
Nearby the station are:
- Inverness Signalling Centre, in the 'V' of the junction at platform 5
- Lochgorm Works, now the locomotive depot, enclosed by the station lines and its bypass
- Inverness Goods, to the south of the station and approached from the east, now closed and the site cleared
- Inverness Shed, to the south of the station approach from the east and now closed and cleared
- Rose Street Junction, the junction between the northbound station platforms and station bypass
- Needlefield Carriage Sidings, to the north of the station bypass, approached from the east, the original carriage sheds now demolished
- Millburn Yard, marshalling sidings and the present goods sidings laid out north of the carriage sidings, approached from the east
- Inverness Harbour, to the north west of the station and near the River Ness quayside
- Welsh's Bridge Junction, junction between the eastern station approach, southern station approach, Inverness station, Lochgorm Works, bypass line, Needlefield Carriage Sidings
- Ness Viaduct, a bridge over the River Ness carrying the Far North Line
- Millburn Junction, a wartime built connection, now removed, on the Aberdeen line to give access to Millburn Yard
Inverness was at the centre of the Highland Railway, a network of largely single track line. Double track was to extend out from Inverness as far west as Clunes, east to Dalcross and south to Daviot.
Castle Stuart Platform
| Inverness Goods|
Inverness Signalling Centre
Rose Street Junction
Needlefield Carriage Sidings
Inverness Ammunition Depot
Welsh's Bridge Platform
Welsh's Bridge Junction
Inverness Bus Station
|Location names in dark blue are on the same original line.|
|24/07/1854||Inverness and Nairn Railway|
Line authorised, 15 miles from Inverness to Nairn and a 1/2 mile branch to Inverness Harbour. Contractor : Thomas Brassey & James Falshaw.
|05/11/1855||Inverness and Nairn Railway|
Line opened with stations at Inverness, Culloden [1st] , Dalcross, Fort George [1st], Cawdor and Nairn.
|03/07/1860||Inverness and Ross-shire Railway|
Inverness and Ross-shire Railway Act received; line to be built from Inverness to Invergordon. Engineer : Joseph Mitchell. Contractor (Inverness to Dingwall) : Meakin.
|11/06/1862||Inverness and Ross-shire Railway|
Inverness to Dingwall opened. (Connection made from Inverness Harbour line to new platforms in Inverness station, new railway makes connection with the harbour line. The Harbour line is renamed the Rose Street Curve).
|09/09/1863||Inverness and Perth Junction Railway|
Line opened from Pitlochry to Aviemore, thus throughout from Inverness to Perth. Additional stations opened at Blair Athole, Struan, Dalwhinnie, Newtonmore, Kingussie and Boat of Insh.
|/11/1882||Glasgow and North Western Railway|
Glasgow and North Western Railway proposed, the Bill presented to Parliament to seek approval.. The route was to have been a 167 mile long railway from Glasgow to Inverness via Fort William. Supported by the North British Railway and opposed by the Highland Railway, Caledonian Railway (part owners of the Callander and Oban Railway), Caledonian Canal, David MacBrayne and some landowners. The Bill was rejected in 1883. It was not built (a less ambitious variation of it, the West Highland Railway with an Act in 1889, did open).
|28/07/1884||Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)|
Act passed. This was partly in response to the proposed incursion of the North British Railway's Glasgow and North Western Railway from Glasgow to Inverness via Loch Lomond, Crianlarich, Glencoe, Fort William and the Great Glen.
|/ /1897||Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway|
Bill proposing extension from Fort Augustus to Inverness is rejected in the House of Commons.
|/ /1897||West Highland Railway
North British Railway|
The proposed Bill by the West Highland Railway and North British Railway for extension of the West Highland to Inverness is rejected by the Commons. (The Highland Railway's route via Carrbridge was partly open and would be completed in 1989.)
Bill for railway from Inverness to Fort Augustus is rejected in the House of Lords (was passed by the Commons).
|01/11/1898||Inverness and Aviemore Direct Railway (Highland Railway)|
Daviot to Inverness, Millburn Junction, opened, completing the shortcut line from Aviemore to Inverness.
|22/07/1903||Invergarry and Fort Augustus Railway
Line opened by Eliza Stewart Ellice of Invergarry House. The service was operated by the Highland Railway who were keen to keep the North British Railway away from Inverness. Connecting David Hutcheson and Co steamers operating along the Caledonian Canal connecting the line to Inverness via Loch Ness and the canal. Stations opened at Gairlochy, Invergarry, Aberchalder, Fort Augustus and Fort Augustus Pier. The Lovat Arms and Station Hotel was rebuilt and reopened in connection with new line.
IC 125 services introduced to Inverness.
|07/02/1989||Inverness and Ross-shire Railway|
Ness Viaduct, Inverness, collapses, separating the Thurso, Wick and Kyle of Lochalsh lines from the rest of the network. Dingwall becomes the southern terminus, Muir of Ord closes (although served by a minibus) and becomes a train maintenance depot. Buses operate between Inverness and Dingwall while a new bridge is built.
|07/02/1989||Inverness and Ross-shire Railway|
Ness Viaduct, Inverness, collapses.
British Rail withdraws West Coast Main Line services from London Euston to Inverness ('The Clansman').
Highland Railway (Railway History)
Highland Railway (The David & Charles series)
Highland Railway Album
Highland Railway: People and Places - From the Inverness and Nairn Railway to Scotrail
History of the Railways of the Scottish Highlands: Highland Railway