St. Rollox railway works

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St Rollox Works and Depot, 1948

St. Rollox Locomotive Works and St Rollox Carriage and Wagon Works were railway rolling stock works established in the 1850s in Glasgow for the Caledonian Railway.

Ownership of the works passed to the LMS and then to British Rail; activities were reduced in the 1980s under BREL management. After the privatisation of British Rail the works was acquired by Alstom, and in 2007 by Railcare. As of 2007 the site now operates as a rail maintenance depot.


The Opening of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway by David Octavius Hill

St. Rollox Locomotive Works and St Rollox Carriage and Wagon Works were built in 1856 in Springburn, an area in the north-east of Glasgow, Scotland, for the Caledonian Railway, which had moved away from their works at Greenock.[1] The new works was built on the site of the station of the Garnkirk and Glasgow Railway (which the Caledonian had absorbed) near to the chemical works of Charles Tennant. It was named after the nearby parish church of St. Roche.

War work[edit]

During World War II, like the North British Locomotive Company at Atlas and Hyde Park, both Cowlairs railway works and St. Rollox joined in the war effort, producing, among other things, Airspeed Horsa gliders for the D Day airborne assault. Cowlairs also produced 200,000 bearing shells for Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.

Monument to those that built locomotives at St. Rollox, by Jack Sloan in 1995.

1948 - present[edit]

ex-Caledonian 2P 0-4-4T No. 55178 with other engines at Balornock (St Rollox) Locomotive Depot in 1948

After the abolition of LMS with the creation of British Railways in 1948, the works remained the primary Scottish repair centre until 1986 when, under BREL, locomotive work in general was being run down. It has continued at a reduced level, however, and remains the only large railway rolling stock repair and maintenance works in Scotland. Part of the site was occupied for a time by MC Metals.

After BREL was privatised in 1988 the St. Rollox site was operated as a rail maintenance facility by British Rail Maintenance Limited (BRML) along with Eastleigh, Doncaster and Wolverton.This facility was still a Nationalised Industry. During this period the site was reduced in size and the surplus land was sold off and is now the site of a large Tesco, Costco and Lidl. The new Springburn Fire station and a Royal Mail sorting office are also located nearby. In 1995 BRML was privatised and the St. Rollox site was sold to a Babcock/Siemens consortium along with the Wolverton site. In 2002 it was then sold to Alstom. In 2007 Alstom sold the site to RailCare Ltd. RailCare continue to operate the site and Wolverton are also part of the group.

RailCare went into administration on August 2, 2013.[2]

Since August 2013 the depot is owned and operated by Knorr-Bremse RailServices Glasgow Works.

Rolling Stock Construction[edit]

Among the locomotives produced for the Caledonian Railway were the Cardean and Dunalastair Classes.

St. Rollox was unusual in being purpose built for both locomotive and carriage and wagon works. In 1923 with the consolidation of British Railway firms created by the Railways Act 1921, it became the main works of the Northern Division of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. The final batches of main line locomotives built on site were lot 11 - 30 LMS class 4F 0-6-0 freight engines numbers 4177-4206 (completed 1925), and lot 45 comprising 10 locos of the same class (completed 1928). In 1929 wagon repairs were moved to Barassie, leaving St. Rollox as the carriage repair centre.


  1. ^ Explore georeferenced maps. National Library of Scotland Retrieved 13 October 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^
  • Larkin, E.J.; Larkin, J.G. (1988), The Railway Workshops of Great Britain 1823-1986, Macmillan Press


Further reading[edit]

  • Hunt, John (26 March – 8 April 1997). "A works for the next century". RAIL. No. 301. EMAP Apex Publications. pp. 22–26. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°52′19″N 4°13′55″W / 55.872°N 4.232°W / 55.872; -4.232