FORGED in Glasgow, it forms part of the magnificent hall at Europe's busiest railway station in Paris and forms the centrepiece to welcome visitors into the heart of the French capital.

Now two Scots brothers are trying to relocate historic sections of ornate Clyde-built ironwork back to Glasgow from the Gare du Nord, and have staked a claim should any of it become available during upcoming redevelopment plans.

Stuart and Scott Haughey, who run the Glasgow Salvage Company from a yard in Paisley are hoping they may help to save some of the very special ironwork produced over 150 years ago at the Adelphi Foundry which was established by the Alston and Gourlay company on a massive site just east of Gorbals Cross in the mid-19th Century.

The highly decorative cast iron pillars and roof supports were produced by the foundry in 1863 as the main “skeleton” for the Gare du Nord.

At the time, they had the only ironworks capable of making items to the scale required.

But large parts of the elegant train hall could now be dramatically revamped if proposals for a €600million remodelling get the green light. Opponents fear that some sections of the original structure could disappear and be lost.

Controversy surrounds the plan which is supported by central government in France, but opposed by the Mayor’s office.

If the re-development takes place, it will be hoped to have the work completed in time for the 2024 Olympics.

When the Paisley-based architectural reclamation company got wind of the scheme, they wrote to the Gare du Nord’s operations director to declare an interest in relocating any of the old ironwork, back to Scotland.

“We have simply asked for our details to be kept on file so that we can at least make attempts to bring anything of importance that might become available back to the city where it was produced,” said Glasgow Salvage partner Scott.

“These spectacular pillars and roof supports are extraordinarily beautiful and if any of it is threatened with demolition or is scheduled to be scrapped, we want to be in with a shout, and have provided a strong declaration of interest to that effect.

“When any items as fine as this become available, they really should be brought back to Glasgow, as it is such an important part of the city’s proud engineering heritage.

“Even if we just got a chance to bring a few pieces back to the city where they were made, that would be terrific.”

Paris city hall has pledged to fight a central government commitment to the redevelopment of Gare du Nord, Europe’s busiest railway station. Opponents have labelled the proposal a potential urban disaster.

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire, responsible for overseeing all urban development, has promised to look at all political and legal options to stop the scheme in its tracks.

He has described the current plans as “absurd.”

Central government created the backlash when plans were unveiled to in effect triple the footprint with an ambitious plan to create commercial space and increase the area available to rail travellers, with 46,000 square metres for shopping, offices and leisure facilities and around 30,000 square metres more allocate d to the arrivals and departures halls.

The railway station is currently used by around 700,000 passengers each day. It is predicted that number could rise to 900,000 by 2030.

A government statement recently issued maintained that the revamped complex should be “a new setting for urban life, combining commerce, sport, culture and work,” and that development should be underway “as soon as possible.”

The proposed timetable would aim to bring the project to completion for the 2023 Rugby World Cup and 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

“We are not opposed to the station’s renovation, which is necessary,” Grégoire said, “but the Gare du Nord should be a railway station before all else, not a shopping centre first.”

In a recent open letter to Le Monde, the award-winning French architect Jean Nouvel, together with historians and town planners, claimed the renovation plan to create a glass structure with tens of thousands of square metres of shops, walkways, split-levels and escalators was ill thought out and would deform the historic structure.

“This project is unacceptable and we demand a rethink from floor to rafters,” they said, adding that it would be “indecent” to send travellers up and down “a mess of walkways, lifts and escalators, forcing them past shops to reach their platforms.”

They said that the vast areas of the “beautiful” train hall would be “denatured” and warned that creating a giant shopping centre would pose a risk of killing off the commercial activities of smaller local traders.

Speaking from their yard in Paisley, Stuart Haughey said it had been the warning about structural changes to the original layout that had first alerted them to the possibility of some of the old ironwork detail becoming potentially surplus and available.

“As others have said, we too feel it would be vandalism to remove any of the original structural skeleton of the building which is such an integral part of its design and charm, but we would primarily be interested in saving any important architectural pieces for future generations to be able to see the accomplishments of the past.

“Clearly, the cost of transportation back to Scotland will be a major consideration. “These are truly massive pieces,” he said.

“There are several haulage firms sending goods from here to Paris on a weekly basis, and always looking for a return load. I’m sure something could be worked out.

“...and, then, of course, there’s the rail network!

“Maybe we could try to organise some kind of special freight deal with SNCF and Eurostar and hope they are familiar with our historical links in the past through the Auld Alliance.”

In the letter which was sent off this week, the brothers state: “We specialise in reclamation of quality architectural salvage and would be very interested in bringing any artefacts back to the city in which they were so well made all those years ago.

“While appreciating that discussions on design and layout of the refurbished railway station and proposed shopping mall are at an early stage, we simply ask that you retain our contact details so that, in the event of any of the old structure being disposed of as part of these plans, we would at least be given the opportunity to make efforts to have those relocated to Glasgow, possibly as a combined effort with others involved, and in consultation first with Glasgow City Council.”