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Perth railway station (Scotland)

Coordinates: 56°23′30″N 3°26′18″W / 56.3916°N 3.4384°W / 56.3916; -3.4384
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National Rail
The station's entrance in 2021
General information
LocationPerth, Perth and Kinross
Coordinates56°23′30″N 3°26′18″W / 56.3916°N 3.4384°W / 56.3916; -3.4384
Grid referenceNO112231
Managed byScotRail
Other information
Station codePTH[2]
Original companyScottish Central Railway and
Scottish Midland Junction Railway
Pre-groupingCaledonian Railway
Key dates
22 May 1848Opened as Perth General[3]
1952Renamed as Perth[3]
2018/19Decrease 1.112 million
 Interchange Increase 0.135 million
2019/20Decrease 1.059 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.106 million
2020/21Decrease 0.181 million
 Interchange Decrease 15,491
2021/22Increase 0.615 million
 Interchange Increase 56,960
2022/23Increase 0.695 million
 Interchange Increase 0.119 million
Listed Building – Category B
Designated26 August 1977
Reference no.LB39340[4]
Perth is located in Perth
Location within Perth
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Perth railway station is a railway station located in the city of Perth, Scotland, on both the Glasgow to Dundee line and the Highland Main Line. It is managed by ScotRail, who provide almost all of the services (along with LNER and the Caledonian Sleeper).

It is sited 151 miles 25 chains (243.5 km) from Carlisle, measured via Stirling, Cumbernauld and Motherwell, and approximately 47 miles 68 chains (77 km) from Ladybank (thus approximately 86 miles 77 chains (140 km) from Edinburgh Waverley via Kirkcaldy and Inverkeithing).[5]



The original entrance to the station, pictured around 1900 and viewed from Leonard Street. The Station Hotel is on the right

The station was opened (as Perth General Station) by the Scottish Central Railway (SCR) in 1848 to a design by William Tite.[6] Originally the terminus of the SCR main line from Greenhill Junction near Glasgow, it soon became a junction of some importance with the arrival of the Dundee and Perth Railway from Dundee (following the completion of Tay Viaduct, a bridge across the River Tay), the Edinburgh and Northern Railway (E&NR) from Ladybank on the Fife coast and the Scottish Midland Junction Railway (SMJR) from Forfar within months.[7] Subsequent construction by the Perth and Dunkeld Railway (P&DR) and the Perth, Almond Valley and Methven Railway added further lines into/out of the city, with the former becoming part of what is now the Highland Main Line to Inverness. The SMJR meanwhile would become part of a through route to Aberdeen by 1856, thus giving Perth travellers easy access to all of the major Scottish cities.

All of these lines, apart from the E&NR, were eventually taken over by the Caledonian Railway, though the Highland Railway (which took over the P&DR) and North British Railway (NBR; which absorbed the E&NR) also had access by means of running powers from Stanley Junction and Hilton Junction respectively.

The NBR would subsequently open a more direct route to the Scottish capital than the Caledonian's route via Stirling and the central lowlands in 1890 - this left the existing Ladybank line at Bridge of Earn and headed south via Glenfarg to Mawcarse, where it joined the Fife and Kinross Railway's line to Kinross. Trains could then travel via Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline and the newly opened Forth Rail Bridge to reach Edinburgh.


The Almond Valley line to Crieff and Methven was an early post-nationalisation casualty, closing to passengers in October 1951. The Ladybank service followed suit in September 1955. The major losses though came as the result of the Beeching Axe and its aftermath in the mid-to-late 1960s, with the main line to Aberdeen (that is, the ex-SMJR main line to Kinnaber Junction via Coupar Angus and Forfar) being closed to passenger traffic on 4 September 1967. Aberdeen services were thereafter routed via Dundee and the former NBR route via Montrose. The Aviemore to Forres section of the Highland Main Line had already been closed two years earlier, and several local stations in the area were also shut down around this time.

A further significant (and controversial) closure came on 5 January 1970, when the main line to Edinburgh via Glenfarg, Kinross and Cowdenbeath was abandoned in favour of the older but less direct line via Stirling. The Glenfarg route had been recommended for retention and development in the Beeching Report, but its removal allowed the planned M90 motorway to occupy its former alignment in the Glenfarg area when the motorway was built a few years later. However, the longer journey via Stirling proved unpopular with Edinburgh travellers and so in 1975, the old E&NR line to Ladybank was reopened by British Rail to provide a slightly quicker alternative. This is the route followed by most Edinburgh services today, but the daytime and overnight trains to London (see below) still run via Stirling and Falkirk as the line via Ladybank and Kirckaldy is served by the Aberdeen to London services.


Perth bus station is situated approximately 100 metres northeast along Leonard Street, part of the A989, from the railway station.[8]

Platform layout[edit]

Perth railway station in 2007.
Platforms 1 (right) and 2

The station has seven active platforms, but they are split into two distinct sections:[9]

  • Platforms 1 and 2 sit on the eastern side (the old Dundee & Perth Railway part of the station) and are the busiest in the station as they handle the Glasgow to Dundee and Aberdeen trains. These platforms are 20 miles 64 chains (33.5 km) from Dundee. The two platform lines then become single further east to cross the bridge spanning the Tay. Platform 3, which adjoins platform 2, is a through platform that sees a few terminating services from the south, although it can be accessed form the north from the Highland Main Line.
  • The remainder of the platforms (4–7) sit under the main train shed, the former HR/SMJR platforms once used by the Coupar Angus main line as well as services to the Highlands. These platforms are an island in the shape of the letter H, with two long platforms along each side - the present platforms 4 and 7. Platforms 5 and 6 are the bays at the southern end of the island. Originally, there were also two bay platforms at the northern end which are no longer used, but part of the track is now a siding for fuelling trains. These disused bay platforms are the zero point for the Highland Main Line,[10] although mileposts do not change until Stanley Junction (158 mi 38 chains, 255.0 km from Carlisle and 7 mi 2 chains, 11.3 km from Perth).[11] Platforms 4–7 now are used only by around a dozen trains per day each way on the Highland Main Line, and some terminating services.

There was once an extensive goods yard at Perth, along with an engine shed and carriage sidings but only a small engineers depot remains in the greatly downsized yard.


Passenger services are operated by ScotRail, Caledonian Sleeper, and London North Eastern Railway.

There are two main routes passing through the station - the Glasgow to Dundee & Aberdeen Line, and the Highland Main Line, whilst there is now also a regular service to/from Edinburgh via the Fife Coast. Services on weekdays are as follows:[12]

On Sundays, services are reduced to:

  • 13 trains per day to Glasgow Queen Street
  • 10 trains per day to Aberdeen
  • 8 trains per day to Edinburgh including the LNER Highland Chieftain, and the Caledonian Sleeper[nb 3]
  • 7 trains per day to Inverness, including the LNER Highland Chieftain, two of which extend to Elgin
  • 1 train per day to Dundee
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Gleneagles   London North Eastern Railway
East Coast Main Line
  Pitlochry or
Dunkeld & Birnam
Ladybank or Markinch or
Gleneagles or Dunblane
or Terminus
Highland Line
  Dunkeld & Birnam
or Pitlochry
or Dunblane
or Stirling
GlasgowーDundee Line
or Dundee
Gleneagles   Caledonian Sleeper
Highland Caledonian Sleeper
  Dunkeld & Birnam
  Historical railways  
Terminus   Highland Railway
Perth and Dunkeld Railway
Line open; Station closed
  Scottish Midland Junction Railway
Caledonian Railway
Terminus   Dundee and Perth Railway
Caledonian Railway
  Princes Street
Line open; Station closed
Line open; Station closed
  Scottish Central Railway
Caledonian Railway
Bridge of Earn
Line open; Station closed
  Edinburgh and Northern Railway
North British Railway
Disused railways
Terminus   Perth, Almond Valley and Methven Railway
Caledonian Railway
  Ruthven Road
Line partially open; Station closed

Cultural references[edit]

The movie The Railway Man was filmed at Perth station. Platform 3 was used to pose as Crewe, and Platform 5 used to pose as Edinburgh, both set during the 1960s.

Perth station was nominated the Carbuncle Award in 2015, which recognizes the worst planning decision. The award was due to the fact a new footbridge had to be built at the southern end of the station which has stair and lift access to all platforms to comply with disability laws. Local newspaper The Courier reported on the news and interviewed Paul Tetlaw from the campaign Transform Scotland. He said:

"It's an off-the-shelf structure that has desecrated the station environment, imposed from London by 'standards bound' Network Rail designers and has no fit with the largely Victorian surroundings. To add insult to injury, it's virtually unused, as the alternatives within the station building are vastly more convenient for the overwhelming majority of passengers. This tacky and inappropriate new structure is thought to have cost in excess of £1m — money which would have been better spent on opening a new station in nearby Newburgh, which has none, with cash left over for a feasibility study of recreating a direct Perth-Edinburgh link, as advocated by our inter-city express campaign."[citation needed]

Future proposals[edit]

In March 2016, Transport Scotland announced a package of timetable improvements for the Scottish rail network that would see additional trains operated from Perth to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee & Inverness from 2018. There would be a two-hourly service between both Edinburgh & Glasgow and Inverness over the Highland Main Line (combining to give an hourly frequency north of Perth) and additional regional services from Arbroath & Dundee to Glasgow serving Gleneagles, Dunblane & Stirling on top of the current Aberdeen to Glasgow route (which will be accelerated by cutting some of the existing intermediate stops).[13] As of May 2022, these improvements have still not taken place.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Runs weekdays and Sundays only southbound, and Mondays to Saturdays northbound
  2. ^ Runs weekdays and Sundays only southbound, and Mondays to Saturdays northbound
  3. ^ Runs weekdays and Sundays only southbound, and Mondays to Saturdays northbound


  1. ^ Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
  2. ^ Deaves, Phil. "Railway Codes". railwaycodes.org.uk. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b Butt (1995), page 184
  5. ^ Jacobs, Gerald, ed. (2001). Track Diagrams: 1 - Scotland and the Isle of Man (4th ed.). Bradford-upon-Avon: Quail Map Company. pp. 8, 9, 11–15.
  6. ^ Haynes, Nick (2000). Perth & Kinross : an illustrated architectural guide. Edinburgh: Rutland Press. p. 24. ISBN 1873190123.
  7. ^ Smith, Alastair (1982). Introducing Scotland [sic] Railways. Edinburgh: Spurbooks. p. 59. ISBN 0715720775.
  8. ^ "Local bus timetables". Perth & Kinross Council. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  9. ^ Bridge, Mike, ed. (2017). TRACKatlas of Mainland Britain: A Comprehensive Geographic Atlas Showing the Rail Network of Great Britain (3rd ed.). Sheffield: Platform 5 Publishing Ltd. pp. 91, 92. ISBN 978 1909431 26 3.
  10. ^ Brailsford 2017, map 15D.
  11. ^ Brailsford 2017, map 19A.
  12. ^ eNRT May 2022 Edition, Tables 212, 213, 214, 215, 220
  13. ^ "Scotrail rail revolution declared as 39 carriages 'to be retained by ScotRail' instead of going else | Rail.co.uk". www.rail.co.uk. Retrieved 18 August 2022.
  14. ^ eNRT May 2022 Edition, Tables 212, 213, 214, 215


External links[edit]

  • Winchester, Clarence, ed. (2 August 1935), "Perth General Station", Railway Wonders of the World, pp. 839–844, description of the station in the 1930s