* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Motherwell from Office of Rail Regulation statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
The current Motherwell station was built to replace an earlier station which was opened by the Caledonian Railway at nearby Orbiston. As Orbiston station was quite some distance from the rapidly expanding Motherwell town centre, the decision was taken to build a station at 'Lesmahagow Junction', the point where the Motherwell Deviation branch of the Caledonian Railway Main Line met the lines to Mossend, Hamilton and Lesmahagow. This new site was conveniently in the heart of the town.
The current station was built by British Rail during the 1970s on the site of the original to coincide with the electrification of the West Coast Main Line. It has four through platforms, crossed by two overbridges with the main buildings being above the level of the line between Platforms 2 and 3. At platform level between Platforms 2 and 3 there is also a First ScotRail traincrew depot, staff car park and an office of the British Transport Police. These are accessible via a gated rampway leading to street level.
Beyond Platform 4 are some electrified sidings used for the stabling of trains overnight. Diagrams are nominally worked so that these units will only stay at Motherwell for one night before returning to their allocated depot.
Local services departing to and from the station are provided by First ScotRail and the majority of northbound services serve Glasgow Central (either terminating at the High Level station or passing through the Low Level station en route to Dalmuir or Milngavie), whilst southbound Argyle Line services terminate at Lanark or Carstairs.
Motherwell is unusual in that Glasgow Central can be reached via trains from three different platforms going in two different directions. Glasgow is generally north-west of Motherwell, but trains can depart via the West Coast Main Line and Motherwell Deviation going North, or by the Hamilton Circle going South. The same can also be said for services to Lanark, which is south-east of Motherwell. Trains can depart towards Lanark going south via Shieldmuir, or initially north, via Holytown.
During times of disruption such as the closure of the West Coast Main Line between Uddingston and Law Junction for engineering works, Virgin Trains services and those of CrossCountry can be diverted along the Hamilton Circle and Wishaw Deviation (and sometimes the line to Edinburgh via Shotts) and will use Platforms 3 and 4. Trains provided by East Coast will generally be suspended in this event as their drivers do not have the required route knowledge. In general, a replacement bus service will operate from Motherwell, and passengers from Glasgow are advised to travel to Edinburgh via Glasgow Queen Street.
Platform 1 is used for all southbound InterCity services as well as local services to Carstairs and Edinburgh. Services to Lanark alternate between this and Platform 4 every half hour. Lanark departures from this platform travel via Shieldmuir.
Platform 2 is used for all northbound InterCity services to Glasgow Central as well as local northbound services to Glasgow Central from Edinburgh and Carstairs. Services from Lanark to Glasgow Central via Bellshill also use this platform.
Platform 3 is used by all services to Cumbernauld as well as all services from Lanark to Glasgow Central via Hamilton. Services on the Hamilton Circle line to Glasgow which have arrived via Bellshill also use this platform. One train a day from Edinburgh via Shotts terminates here.
Platform 4 is used by all services on the Hamilton Circle to Glasgow which have arrived via Hamilton, as well as those terminating here to return via Hamilton. Services to Lanark alternate between this and Platform 1 every half hour. Lanark departures from this platform travel via Holytown.