A LONG chapter in Glasgow’s transport history came to a quiet end, not long before midnight on Sunday, November 6, 1966. The departure of the 11.25pm train to Inverness out of the old Caledonian Railway’s Buchanan Street station marked the close of the station’s 117 years of service. Henceforth the train would leave from Queen Street station - the stronghold, as the Glasgow Herald’s Samuel Hunter column pointed out, of North British and L.N.E.R. interests in nearly a century of railway rivalry. “Well, we may feel our old loyalties,” the Buchanan Street station-master, John Orr, said, “but we are all British Railways people now.” Mr Orr was being given a temporary posting to Queen Street. Most of his staff at Buchanan Street - and there were 120 of them in all, what with clerks, inspectors, signalmen, ticket-collectors, guards, porters and carriage cleaners - were also now bound for Queen Street, with the rest earmarked for other stations across the city.

The Buchanan Street station had seen its first train in 1849 and it was the station, Hunter said, from which adventurous early Victorian passengers set out for Carlisle and London. But no-one ever get round to building a permanent terminus; in Hunter’s words, the station buildings remained temporary erections of weatherboarding; and the concourse was a pocket handkerchief with a real Highland Railway gradient of its own.