FROM the undulating roof of Melbourne’s Southern Cross railway station to the vast vaulted ceiling of Grand Central Station in New York, the joy of railway travel involves the thrill of visiting famous transport hubs.

But for visitors arriving into Glasgowfor the first time, instead of sparking fireworks, Queen Street Station has always been a bit of a damp squib.


Its beautiful Victorian glass roof was so hidden by modern building developments that travellers would barely notice the feat of engineering.

Rather than being greeted by jaw-dropping architecture, commuters had an array of fast food joints and pubs at eye level when coming through the gates.

Now the station design aims to change all of that and, while its completion is still some way off, rail passengers are getting a small glimpse of what the travel hub aspires to be.

READ MORE: Glasgow Queen Street Station work to bring greener trains

The buildings to the front of Queen Street have gone, so the station opens

up to George Square.


Alighting from the trains arriving at the new, lengthened platforms, passengers are met with a vast, glass panelled window.

Light is pouring into the concourse and, looking out, the view is of the City Chambers and George Square’s statues.

For a city that wants to position itself as one of the most forward-thinking and inviting in the world, the revamp of Queen Street Station is much-needed – and long overdue.


Clare Frances, 43, has been commuting through the station for the past 20 years and is anticipating the finished work.

“It is clearly still a building site, but it’s exciting to see the work slowly developing and unfolding,” she said.

“I predominantly use the low level tracks, but coming up the escalator, rounding the corner and seeing all this light and glass every day is a big improvement already... and about time too.”

Scotland’s third-busiest station is undergoing a £120 million project to redevelop and expand it.

This week, after four weeks of works, two extended platforms have opened – numbers 2 and 3 with a 28-yard extension to both.


Some 90 engineers worked more than 21,000 hours to remove 2,000 tonnes of material and install 109 yards of platform walls, 175 yards of track and connect it to existing infrastructure. Overhead power lines were also extended.

The extensions will allow the larger Class-385 trains to use the platforms

– making things better for passengers who complain of overcrowded trains and a lack of sufficient seating.

Floor space to the George Square, Sest George Street side of the station has increased in size as part of the new concourse now joins the existing one.

For commuters who trek through the station every day, these works will make an important practical difference. But part of comfort and enjoyment of travelis the aesthetics – how the station looks and feels.

Many visitors to Glasgow will be coming from Edinburgh, previously stepping off the train to a dull, dark, crowded station without any point of interest or wow-factor. It was merely a practical space used for getting from A to B. After the revamp that will no longer be the case.

James Traynor was travelling into Queen Street from Edinburgh during a trip to Scotland from Newcastle. He said: “One of the things I love about travelling is visiting railway stations. I’m a regular to Glasgow and it is one of the most underwhelming, so good luck with this renovation. Visitors will appreciate it.”

READ MORE: Plans for a Glasgow Metro network and Central-Queen Street tunnel unveiled

Grand Central Station in New York is perhaps the most famous of the world’s stations but it is a baby compared to the age of Glasgow Queen Street.


Grand Central

While the Manhattan station in its current guise opened in 1913, Queen Street station opened in 1842, with the Victorian glass roof constructed three decades later.

Now a Category A listed structure, the roof was completed in 1878 and visitors will now be able to see it and enjoy it along with the impressive glass frontage.

The curved glass roof was previously hidden by the Millennium Hotel’s 1970s extension, which has now been removed and the eight-story Consort House tower and connecting annex have been significantly deconstructed.

Outside, the train shed roof will be partially visible looking south along Queen Street and from the Cathedral Street side of the building.

Due to open next spring, for tourists, travellers and commuters, Queen Street Station has gone from unremarkable to regal.