THE arrival of the railways has shaped many cities, and Glasgow is no exception.

The oldest surviving railway station in the city is Glasgow Queen Street, the second mainline terminal in the city (the first being Glasgow Central).

Queen Street was opened in early 1842, under the name Dundas Street Station, by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway.

Glasgow Times: Queen Street Station in 1963Queen Street Station in 1963 (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

Situated off George Square near to the City Chambers, at the north end of Queen Street, today it still operates a Glasgow to Edinburgh line along with others to the north and east.

Glasgow Times: Queen Street Station entrance in 1936Queen Street Station entrance in 1936 (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

It’s said to be the third busiest station in Scotland, just behind Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley. Originally, wealthy merchant William Cunningham wished to erect a mansion at the site of the station, but after failing to conclude the sale of the land, he built his mansion at Royal Exchange Square instead. It is now Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.

By 1878, the station had been renamed Queen Street and was operated by North British Railway who employed civil engineer James Carswell to rebuild the structure with electric lighting (then a novelty in Glasgow).

Glasgow Times: Inside St Enoch Station in 1936Inside St Enoch Station in 1936 (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

He designed the station’s distinctive curved iron and glass roof, which was not completed until 1880, and the station’s historic shed is a now category A-listed. Until recently the curved roof was partly obscured by offices but it has been uncovered in recent redevelopment.

The steep climb at the station’s tunnel to Cowlairs was initially problematic for the station’s trains. Until 1909 a rope hauled by a stationary engine was used to help pull trains upwards. Sadly, a collision caused three deaths when a train rolled backwards into another in 1928. Fifteen others were hospitalised after the incident. Thankfully, modern trains have more than enough power to make the climb.

The railway station has undergone various refurbishments, and the last major one finished in October 2021 with a new concourse built and a bold new frontage.

Perhaps one of the grandest Glasgow railways stations was St Enoch.

Glasgow Times: The St Enoch Station HotelThe St Enoch Station Hotel (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

Officially opened in 1876 by the City of Glasgow Union Railway, it had 12 platforms and two glass and iron roofed sheds.

Based in St Enoch Square, it replaced a nearby previous station run by the same railway, Glasgow Dunlop Street, and was fronted by a large hotel designed by architect Thomas Wilson.

Glasgow Times: Inside St Enoch Station in 1936Inside St Enoch Station in 1936 (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

In 1883 it became the headquarters of the Glasgow and South Western Railway, who took over the station’s management. Trains ran to Ayr, Kilmarnock and Dumfries, as well as south of the border to Carlisle, Leeds and London St Pancras.

Glasgow Times: St Enoch Station in its heydaySt Enoch Station in its heyday (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

Despite being busy, the station did not survive the railway cuts made by the infamous Dr Beeching in 1966. Its services mostly transferred to Central Station. In 1977 there was significant outcry when station was demolished. Only the station’s clock exists today, in its new home at Cumbernauld Town Centre.

The calm oasis that is now the west end’s Botanic Gardens was also home to another of the city’s railway stations.

Glasgow Times: Botanic Gardens entranceBotanic Gardens entrance (Image: Glasgow City Archives)

Serving the Kevinside area, it was opened on August 10, 1896 by Glasgow Central Railway. Its two platforms were located underground, with a fine station building at ground level.

Designed by James Miller (an architect of many other Glasgow buildings) the station was built with ornamental red brick, and had two domed towers, one with a clock. 

As a local station, Botanic Garden Station was never as heavily used as Queen Street or St Enoch stations, but perhaps due to its site within a popular park it has become well known within the city’s history.

Financial difficulties from the First World War temporarily closed the station from 1917 to 1919, and eventually it was closed for good in 1939. The station building was used for a café and then a night club before a fire destroyed it in 1970. However, the underground platforms remain, and still can be glimpsed from the park above.