Glasgow Cross Railway Station's Cross

The rise and fall of the Second City of the British Empire.

And it's rising again.

Glasgow Cross Railway Station

Glasgow Cross
1900s postcard of
Glasgow Cross
(Click photo to enlarge)

Pictures of Glasgow Cross almost invariably feature the Toolbooth Steeple, being the 17th century remnants of the Town Clerk's office, the council hall and the city prison.

Glasgow Cross, however, is more than just this steeple; it incorporates the entire junction of High Street, Trongate, Gallowgate, London Road, and Saltmarket. Since the Middle Ages, High Street has been the main trading street in the city. Trongate goes north towards Dumbarton, Gallowgate runs eastward and was named from the gallows that stood along that street, London Street unsurprisingly runs south towards London, and you can guess what was sold on Saltmarket.

There is currently no railway station at Glasgow Cross, and there is no cross there either. The 'cross' in the name is simply from the crossroad junction, and the railway station, when it existed, was beneath this junction.

Sir J J Burnett designed the octagonal Glasgow Cross Station for the Glasgow Central Railway Company and it was opened on 1 November 1895. At that time, Glasgow was the fourth largest city in Europe in terms of population, after London, Paris and Berlin. But then people found more lucrative areas to live and work in, and Glasgow suffered from large scale emigration. In 1923 the station was replaced by a smaller and less ornate building.

By the 1960s it was considered by Richard Beeching, Chairman of British Railways, as one of the thousands of inefficient stations and lines, and was closed on 5 October 1964. The street level entrance was demolished in 1977 and now only the subterranean ghost tracks remain, ventilated by a decorative metal grill on the traffic island on London Road.

At the time of writing this page (July 2008), a new Glasgow Cross station is being planned for the Crossrail Glasgow line. But at the moment this project is still in the sidings.

Other railway stations with 'Cross' in the name


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