Gourock railway station

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gourock National Rail
Scottish Gaelic: Gurraig[1]
Gourock Railway Station concourse Mar 2019.jpg
Concourse, with walkway to ferry terminal
Local authorityInverclyde
Coordinates55°57′43″N 4°48′57″W / 55.9619°N 4.8158°W / 55.9619; -4.8158Coordinates: 55°57′43″N 4°48′57″W / 55.9619°N 4.8158°W / 55.9619; -4.8158
Grid referenceNS243779
Station codeGRK
Managed byAbellio ScotRail
Number of platforms3
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 0.535 million
2015/16Increase 0.563 million
2016/17Decrease 0.510 million
2017/18Increase 0.512 million
2018/19Increase 0.518 million
1 June 1889Opened
National RailUK railway stations
  • Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Gourock from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Gourock railway station is a terminus of the Inverclyde Line, located at Gourock pierhead, Scotland, and serves the town as well as the ferry services it was originally provided for.


The Caledonian Railway found that its service to Greenock Central station, which was an inconvenient walk away from the quay, was losing Clyde steamer trade to the new Glasgow and South Western Railway terminal at Prince's Pier in Greenock. So the Caledonian extended its line through a new tunnel to the small fishing village of Gourock. The railway ran on the seaward side of Shore Street to the terminal, which opened on 1 June 1889.[2] The headquarters of the Caledonian steamer fleet was subsequently based there. The station was designed by the architect, James Miller, and engineer-in-chief, George Graham.[3] The initial services in 1889 were 26 trains daily from Glasgow to Gourock, with one additional service on Saturdays. The fastest journey time was 40 minutes, and each train could carry 604 passengers; 224 in first class and the rest in third class.[2]

Inspector Halliday, from the western district of the Caledonian Railway, was appointed stationmaster, and Mr Anderson, assistant stationmaster at Cathcart Street Station at Greenock, was appointed assistant stationmaster.[4]

The station was built to accommodate large numbers of passengers boarding the steamers. Originally the curving station platform had 17 canopy bays each side over three railway lines, with three bays of full width and the westernmost 19 bays covering the one line which continued on. A central concourse with adjacent offices and stores fronted the pier.

On 16 June 1935, a holiday train overran the platform and collided with the buffers. Three people were hospitalised.[5]

On 12 December 1957, a fire broke out in the station building. The refreshment room and waiting rooms were badly damaged.[6]

Class 318 train at original platform canopies remaining in 2006
Class 314 train leaving the pierhead as a ferry sets off for Dunoon

The line from Glasgow was electrified as part of the Inverclyde Line electrification scheme by British Rail. The 25 kV AC system was used, and electric operation commenced in September 1967.

In the 1980s, the westernmost end of the station was cut back by 18 bays, and in the 1990s, the adjacent timber quay was demolished. Subsequently, the remaining glazed canopies over the platforms were taken down, leaving only the cast iron supporting structure, slate roofs and glazed canopies over a section incorporating a ticket office and a waiting room. The adjacent Bay Hotel was also demolished in the 1990s, with its site being grassed over. In 2006, a portable ticket office was installed at the end wall, which had been erected when the station was cut back and the old ticket office was closed.

Approval was given in 1999 for plans by Inverclyde Council, Caledonian MacBrayne and Railtrack, which involved shortening the railway tracks and constructing a new station adjacent to Caledonian MacBrayne's headquarters. That formed part of a major development scheme, with the space formerly occupied by the station, together with the grassed area which had been the site of the Bay Hotel, providing space for two major supermarkets and housing. Alexander George was appointed preferred developer.

Landscaped approach from Shore Street to Gourock railway station, with MV Argyle and MV Coruisk heading to and from the ferry terminal.

However, Network Rail was slow to come to an agreement on relocating the station. The work involved in shortening the tracks would have involved considerable expense and the closure of the station for 18 months. The delay left the station looking rather neglected. Near the end of September 2006, new plans were announced, following intervention by the transport minister Tavish Scott. A considerable saving was to be made by not moving the station so far, so that the work involved was reduced, with the station only closing for four or five weeks. Only one supermarket was now proposed, with 580 houses being constructed in blocks facing out onto the Clyde.[7]

In the interim, the station was renovated, at a predicted cost of £630,000, to provide a new entrance, glass roof and toilets, as well as improved waiting facilities. David Simpson, route director of Network Rail in Scotland, advised that essential work had to be carried out to make the station more comfortable for the 400,000 passengers using it every year, while work would continue to "explore the longer-term options for the station with our industry partners".[8]

The new ticket office in November 2010

A new station building was designed by IDP Architects,[9] which was in use by the end of 2010. Work on demolishing the existing canopies and providing new shelters on platforms proceeded through 2011. The new station building was officially opened on 1 August 2012 by Alex Neil MSP, with all works having cost £8m.[10]

As part of a new one-way system completed in 2016, the station approach was reorganised, with new car parking and a promenade along past Kempock Point.

The station is fully staffed seven days per week throughout the hours of service. Three platforms are in use.[11]


Station buildings seen from platform 1, with a Class 385 train in service.

There is a regular service on weekdays and Saturdays of four trains per hour to and from Glasgow Central via Paisley Gilmour Street. Of these, two operate as limited expresses beyond Greenock Central, whilst the other pair stop at all intermediate stations. In the evening (after 18:30), there are two trains per hour (one semi-fast & one stopper), whilst on Sundays there is an hourly service calling at all intermediate stations.[12]

The nearby ferry terminal is the headquarters of Caledonian MacBrayne, which runs a passenger ferry to Dunoon from the pier, having taken over from their subsidiary Argyll Ferries in 2019. In June 2019 MV Argyll Flyer was re-branded in CalMac livery, leaving MV Ali Cat still in Argyll Ferries' colours. The pier also serves passenger ferries to Kilcreggan.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Terminus   Abellio ScotRail
Inverclyde Line
  Fort Matilda
"boat icon" Ferry services
Dunoon   Caledonian MacBrayne
Cowal Ferry
Kilcreggan   Caledonian MacBrayne
Kilcreggan Ferry
  Historical railways  
Terminus   Caledonian Railway
Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock Railway
  Fort Matilda



  1. ^ Brailsford, Martyn, ed. (December 2017) [1987]. "Gaelic/English Station Index". Railway Track Diagrams 1: Scotland & Isle of Man (6th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. ISBN 978-0-9549866-9-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ a b "Opening of New Railway to Gourock". Glasgow Herald. England. 3 June 1889. Retrieved 25 March 2019 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  3. ^ "James Miller". Dictionary of Scottish Architects. Historic Scotland. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Railway Appointments at Gourock". Greenock Telegraph and Clyde Shipping Gazette. England. 4 May 1889. Retrieved 25 March 2019 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  5. ^ "Buffer Crash at Gourock". Aberdeen Press and Journal. England. 17 June 1935. Retrieved 25 March 2019 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  6. ^ "Blaze at Rail Station". Coventry Evening Telegraph. England. 12 December 1957. Retrieved 25 March 2019 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  7. ^ Greenock Telegraph 28 September 2006
  8. ^ Greenock Telegraph 12 October 2006
  9. ^ "Gourock Station". IDP Architects. IDP Architects. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Cabinet Secretary officially opens new £8m Station". Global Railway Review. Russell Publishing Ltd. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Railscot - Gourock Extension (Caledonian Railway)" Railscot; Retrieved 2 September 2016
  12. ^ Table 219 National Rail timetable, May 2016

External links[edit]