Carstairs railway station
|North end (Glasgow end) of the station|
|Local authority||South Lanarkshire|
|Managed by||First ScotRail|
|Owned by||Network Rail|
|Number of platforms||2|
|Live arrivals/departures and station information
from National Rail Enquiries
|Annual rail passenger usage*|
|Passenger Transport Executive|
|15 February 1848||Station opened|
|National Rail – UK railway stations|
|A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
|* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Carstairs from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.|
|UK Railways portal|
Carstairs railway station in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, is a major junction station on the West Coast Main Line (WCML), situated close to the point at which the lines from London Euston to Glasgow Central and Edinburgh diverge. Constructed originally by the Caledonian Railway, the station is operated today by First ScotRail.
Just south of the station, there is an important triangular junction (Carstairs Junction) where the WCML divides. The north-westerly route goes via Motherwell to Glasgow and the north-easterly route goes towards Edinburgh, where the East Coast Main Line begins. The southbound route goes towards Carlisle and London. The line between Edinburgh and Glasgow is the only part of the West Coast Main Line used by East Coast services. Carstairs is also a marshalling point and the final boarding point (both sleeping car and overnight coach) in Scotland for the Lowland Caledonian Sleeper trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh to London Euston.
Northbound (Down) WCML services usually pass the station on an avoiding line (known as the Down Main), away from the platform line (known as the Down platform), but northbound services coming off the chord from Edinburgh (ECML and Cross Country) usually pass Platform 1: they can be signalled from Platform 2, but this rarely happens. However, all southbound (Up) services must pass Platform 2 (on the Up Main), as there is no avoiding line on that side of the station. The Up Main and Down Platform lines are both signalled for bi-directional working, and are often used as passing loops for passenger and freight services. For example, the early morning departure for Glasgow Central from North Berwick will wait at the Down Platform as a fast Transpennine service from Manchester passes.
There is also the Down Passenger Loop (which is adjacent to the station) and the Up Passenger Loop (immediately to the north of the station) which are both used to stop freight services while faster passenger services pass. It is also common for northbound freights to be stopped in both the Down Platform line and Down Passenger Loop and for fast passenger services to be passed between them on the Down Main.
The route through the station was electrified as part of the early 1970s electrification scheme that covered the West Coast Main Line between Weaver Junction and Glasgow Central. As part of this the station was re-signalled. The critical point was the connection from the Edinburgh on a minimum radius curve to provide a connection into the down platform whilst avoiding the installation of a diamond crossing. The requirement for superelevation through the Up platform for 90 mph running required deep ballasting the side effect of which required the platform to be raised. The original station buildings were being retained therefore continuous railings were provided to prevent passengers inadvertently falling down from one level to the other. This height difference has now been removed as the original station buildings were demolished and replaced with a more modern alternative and the entire platform was levelled off. The only remnant of the original station buildings to remain was the integral footbridge, now adapted as a stand-alone structure.
The route to Edinburgh was not part of the 1970s scheme, however was included as part of the late 1980s ECML scheme, with electric services starting to use the line in 1989 (prior to the commencement of the main East Coast Main Line (ECML) electric services).
Carstairs was an important junction station where northbound West Coast Main Line trains were split into separate portions for Glasgow, Edinburgh and (to a lesser extent) Stirling and Perth, and for the corresponding combining of southbound trains. However, the introduction of push-pull operation on the WCML and the availability of surplus HST sets for Cross Country traffic (as a result of the ECML electrification) largely eliminated this practice in the early 1990s. Apart from the sleeping car trains, express traffic through Carstairs now consists of fixed-formation trains which do not require to be remarshalled en route. As a result, few express trains now call at Carstairs. There were some local stopping services to Edinburgh and Glasgow, but these are relatively infrequent.
West Coast Main Line services to/from Glasgow Central operated by Virgin Trains Pendolino and Voyager and Transpennine Express Pennine Desiro do not normally stop at Carstairs, except during times of train failure or engineering works. These can be quite dramatic to view in the southbound direction as they pass the platform, with Pendolinos and Voyager tilting at 100 mph.
East Coast Main Line services to/from Glasgow Central operated by East Coast InterCity 225 and CrossCountry Voyager also do not stop at Carstairs. They do however slow dramatically from the 100 mph line speed either side of the station, to approximately 30 mph to negotiate the minimum radius single line curve connecting the main WCML to the eastern spur to Edinburgh Waverley. In combination, these two operators provide an approximate two hourly service between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
In the December 2012 timetable, on Mondays to Thursdays, an evening Transpennine Express service from Edinburgh terminates at Carstairs, connecting with a southbound Virgin Trains service from Glasgow to Crewe. This service now continues to Manchester Airport.
First ScotRail services from Glasgow Central to Edinburgh Waverley call at the station approximately every two hours in each direction, on Mondays to Saturdays. First ScotRail also provide two terminating services a day from Motherwell and Garscadden in western Glasgow via Glasgow Central Low Level. These services cater for the small commuter market in the Carstairs area, though their main reason for stopping at the remote Carstairs station instead of the nearby, busier Lanark station is due to platform congestion at the latter during the start of the morning peak and the end of the evening peak.
The Lowland Caledonian Sleeper calls at this station six days a week on each leg of its journey. The sections from Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central are joined/split at the station for their onwards journeys. Highland sleeper services to Fort William, Inverness and Aberdeen do not call at the station. There is no Sunday service from this station.
The Tweed Cycleway to Biggar and the Tweed Valley commences outside of Carstairs station.
In the December 2013 timetable there are no scheduled stops by Virgin Trains, First Transpennine Express, East Coast Trains or Cross Country services.
All stopping services are provided by First ScotRail.
|Preceding station||National Rail||Following station|
North Berwick Line
Lowland Caledonian Sleeper
Line open; Station closed
|Caledonian Railway Main Line
to Greenhill Junction
Line open; Station closed
|Caledonian Railway Main Line
Line open; Station closed
Line and Station closed
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carstairs railway station.|
- Nock (1974)
- Electrifying the East Coast Route; Peter Semmens (1991) ISBN 0-85059-929-6.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. OCLC 60251199.
- Jowett, Alan (March 1989). Jowett's Railway Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland: From Pre-Grouping to the Present Day (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0086-1. OCLC 22311137.
- Nock, O.S. (1974). Electric Euston to Glasgow (1st ed.). London: Ian Allan Limited. ISBN 0-7110-0530-3. OCLC 2283378.