Carstairs railway station

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Carstairs National Rail
North end (Glasgow end) of the station
Place Carstairs
Local authority South Lanarkshire
Coordinates 55°41′29″N 3°40′09″W / 55.6913°N 3.6692°W / 55.6913; -3.6692Coordinates: 55°41′29″N 3°40′09″W / 55.6913°N 3.6692°W / 55.6913; -3.6692
Grid reference NS952454
Station code CRS
Managed by Abellio ScotRail
Owned by Network Rail
Number of platforms 2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2011/12 Increase 13,548
– Interchange  Increase 3,113
2012/13 Increase 20,610
– Interchange  Decrease 3,103
2013/14 Increase 33,398
– Interchange  Decrease 617
2014/15 Increase 43,388
– Interchange  Increase 10,389
2015/16 Increase 84,796
– Interchange  Decrease 9,994
Passenger Transport Executive
15 February 1848 Station opened
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Carstairs from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.
170433 at Edinburgh Waverley.JPG 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 Abellio ScotRail and is also served by one TransPennine Express trains service per day between Preston and Glasgow Central. All other services by TransPennine Express and services operated by CrossCountry, Virgin Trains East Coast and Virgin Trains West Coast pass the station, but do not stop.


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 Virgin Trains 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.


Down platform and old station building in June 1983

The route through the station was electrified in 1974 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.[1] 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, it 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).[2][page needed]



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 they were relatively infrequent, Before December 2012, Only 2 trains per day to North Berwick called and only 5 trains to Glasgow (3 trains went to Dalmuir and 2 to Central and 1 terminated at Motherwell) There were very large gaps in between trains with the 2 Edinburgh bound trains calling at 07:49 and then again at 15:40 as with the Glasgow trains a 9-hour gap from 07:55-18:41.


Monday to Saturday, there is a roughly two-hourly service between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central via Carstairs with various extensions to North Berwick and Ayr throughout the day. There is also a local weekday peak time service to and from Glasgow Central (Low Level), with one morning run continuing to Dalmuir.[3] In the evening, the service returns to Motherwell upon completion of the Anderston - Carstairs 'peak' service. Additionally in the morning, one TransPennine Express service from Preston to Glasgow Central calls at Carstairs to allow for an earlier connection to Edinburgh from the North West of England. There is no return service heading south. Passengers must travel to Glasgow, Motherwell or Edinburgh for travel south of the border.

Serco Caledonian Sleepers Ltd also call at Carstairs six times per week (no service on Saturday evenings) whilst working services between Edinburgh/Glasgow and London Euston. These services combine/split at Carstairs and is the last remaining service to do so at this location.

Virgin Trains West Coast, CrossCountry and Virgin Trains East Coast operate services between Glasgow Central and various locations in England however these services do not call at Carstairs and merely pass through.

Southbound services towards Carlisle along the WCML were suspended from early January 2016 for seven weeks, due to the River Clyde viaduct at Lamington being seriously damaged by Storm Frank. A replacement bus service was in operation, with some trains to/from Glasgow diverted via an alternative route.[4] The line reopened to traffic on 22 February 2016 upon completion of repairs to the structure.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Kirknewton   Abellio ScotRail
North Berwick Line
Terminus   Abellio ScotRail
Argyle Line
Carlisle   Caledonian Sleeper
Lowland Caledonian Sleeper
    Edinburgh Waverley
Lockerbie   TransPennine Express
TransPennine North West
Preston-Glasgow Central
Limited Service
Historical railways
Line open; Station closed
  Caledonian Railway Main Line
to Greenhill Junction
Line open; Station closed
  Caledonian Railway Main Line
from Edinburgh
Line open; Station closed
Terminus   Dolphinton Branch
Caledonian Railway
Line and Station closed



  1. ^ Nock 1974.
  2. ^ Semmens, Peter (1991). Electrifying the East Coast Route. ISBN 0-85059-929-6. 
  3. ^ GB eNRT May 2016 Edition, Table 225
  4. ^ "Lamington Viaduct to remain closed until March". ITV News. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2016.