Station spotlight: Glasgow Central

Scotland’s busiest station is currently the star of the television series ‘Inside Central Station’.

The BBC documentary, which follows station staff as they move about 30 million passengers a year, comes as we’re preparing a string of Easter upgrades that will improve journeys to the terminus.

Upgrades on the West Coast Main Line, which runs from London Euston to Glasgow Central, will lead to better train services for passengers and a more reliable railway. The improvements will range from tunnel strengthening and bridge renovation to track renewal and points improvements.

Built in 1879 and opened by the Caledonian Railway, Glasgow Central is a category A listed building – in Scotland, recognising it as a building of national or international importance.

Today, the huge passenger numbers flowing through the station make it the busiest in Scotland and the 11th busiest in Britain.

Glasgow central station retail shops
Inside Glasgow Central

How are we improving the station?

We’re investing £13m renovating the landmark railway bridge over the River Clyde on the approach to Glasgow Central.

‘New Clyde Bridge’, built between 1899 and 1905 as part of the Edwardian expansion of Glasgow Central, links the station to the West Coast Main Line. It also connects Glasgow Central to routes across Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and Inverclyde.

The A-listed structure will undergo extensive refurbishment and repair works with engineers blasting off old paint, inspecting and repairing the steel beneath, before repainting the bridge in its existing colour scheme.

The renovation of the 200m-long bridge will be delivered by Taziker Industrial, which recently completed £75m restoration of the Tay Bridge on behalf of Network Rail.

In February, we achieved a key milestone on the Shotts Line electrification project when the first electric train ran on the route.

The Class 86 electric locomotive completed test runs, including at line speed, along the newly electrified sections between Holytown and Midcalder junctions. This created the fifth electrified route between Scotland’s two main cities.

The £160m Scottish Government-funded project will enable:

  • More seats on services between Glasgow Central and Edinburgh
  • The introduction of modern, electric trains which will offer a better travelling experience for the public
  • A reduction of noise and better air quality for those who live and work near the railway.

In October, we installed two drinking water fountains at each Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley to encourage visitors to refill their own multiple use water bottles rather than buying plastic ones.

It's part of Network Rail’s wider ambitions to improve sustainability and reduce the impact of plastic waste at our stations. We're also working with retailers to end the supply of plastic cutlery and cups at our stations across Britain by 2020.

What are we doing this Easter?

This Easter, work between Runcorn, Carlisle and Glasgow Central will include:

  • Railway track renewal at Golborne, Coppull Hall in Chorley, and Blainscough
  • Renewal of overhead electric lines at Acton Grange in Warrington
  • Bridge renovation and strengthening at Coppull Moor Lane in Chorley
  • Work to improve points and rail replacement at Milnthorpe in South Lakeland
  • Track foundation improvements and work to overhead electric lines at Carnforth
  • Track foundation improvements at Upperby in Carlisle