IT WAS once at the heart of the world’s locomotive construction – and it is one of the few remaining works of its kind in Scotland.

Now, St Rollox Locomotive Works in Springburn could be recognised with listed status, as Historic Environment Scotland (HES) announced it is seeking views from the public.

Glasgow Times: St Rollox Locomotive Works, interior. Operating the wheel press in the wheelwrights shop

Proposals to list the former railway works site at Category B due to its special historic and architectural interest recognise its significance as an important part of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

St Rollox - known affectionately as the Caley, from the days of the Caledonian Railway Works which built locomotives for use all around the world - is a rare surviving example of a later 19th century locomotive works in Scotland and the only surviving example in Springburn, which was once a global centre of locomotive construction.

Glasgow Times: The St Rollox Works

Built in 1854-56, and enlarged in 1884-86, St Rollox Works was the largest and longest operational locomotive manufacture and repair works in the country. It played a significant role in the expansion of the railway and at its height employed thousands of people in Glasgow. The works closed in 2019, despite vigorous campaigning to save it, and a community was left in shock.

The plant was established by the Caledonian Railway, which built many of Scotland’s rail networks from Glasgow to Edinburgh and Aberdeen after relocating from Greenock.

Located close to the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway - the first railway to come into the city and one of the first in Scotland - the St Rollox works quickly grew to become the main train construction yard in Scotland.

Glasgow Times: The St Rollox Works

Over the years hundreds of trains were built at the Springburn yard, including ‘Sar’, which returned from service with the South African Railways company running the Johannesburg to Cape Town line to take up pride of place in Glasgow’s Riverside Museum in 2007.

Today the building retains many features which demonstrate its previous function, including its interconnected workshop design of high-quality ironwork and an intact over-head travelling crane system.

Dara Parsons, Head of Designations at HES, said: “The former St Rollox Works is a significant piece of Scotland’s industrial and transport heritage, contributing to our understanding of Scotland’s railway history and in particular, Springburn’s role as a major centre for rail manufacture and repair in the 19th and 20th centuries.

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“After assessing the site for listing, we are proposing to add it to Scotland’s list of buildings of special architectural and historic interest. Listing is a way of recognising and celebrating what makes our built heritage special and ensuring this is taken into account in future decisions. We’re keen that people have an opportunity to have their say as part of this process, so we encourage anyone with an interest in the building to take part in our consultation.”

The consultation will run until Monday, March 28 To find out more and to take part, visit the HES website.

HES lists buildings of special architectural or historic interest that help to create Scotland’s distinctive character.

*Did you work at St Rollox? Send Times Past your stories – we would love to hear them.