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Cowlairs is located in Glasgow council area
Cowlairs shown within Glasgow
OS grid referenceNS598678
Council area
Lieutenancy area
  • Glasgow
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townGLASGOW
Postcode districtG21
Dialling code0141
EU ParliamentScotland
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
55°52′58″N 4°14′34″W / 55.882880°N 4.242900°W / 55.882880; -4.242900Coordinates: 55°52′58″N 4°14′34″W / 55.882880°N 4.242900°W / 55.882880; -4.242900

Cowlairs is a district in the Scottish city of Glasgow, part of the wider Springburn district of the city. It is situated north of the River Clyde. The Cowlairs area has a long association with railways, and is currently home to a diesel maintenance depot at Eastfield. In October 2013 the signalling centre at Cowlairs, which controls trains from Glasgow Queen Street High Level closed and transferred to Edinburgh Waverley. The West of Scotland Signalling Centre, controlling much of the south of Glasgow opened at Cowlairs South in December 2008. It controls the area formerly controlled by Glasgow Central Signalling Centre, and is expected eventually to control most of the west of Scotland.

Cowlairs Works[edit]

The Cowlairs railway works was founded in 1841 by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway on the west side of the railway at Carlisle Street. It was the first works in Britain which built locomotives, carriages and wagons in one factory. In 1866, Cowlairs became the main workshop for the new owners, the North British Railway Company. In 1923, Cowlairs passed into the ownership of the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER), no more engines were built, and the works reverted to repair and maintenance. After nationalisation in 1948, the works became the property of British Rail Engineering Limited (BREL), who used steam locomotives until 1968.

The works closed in 1968, and contracts were transferred to St. Rollox railway works, which was renamed as BREL's Glasgow works. The former site of the works is still partly Brownfield and partly occupied by a Scotch Whisky bonded warehouse.


Cowlairs F.C. played in the area between 1876 and 1896. The club were founder members of the Scottish Football League in 1890 and played at Gourlay Park and Springvale Park.