An engineering firm run by father and son Dougie and Fraser Gibson has revealed ambitions to build the workforce at a “world-famous” site in Glasgow into the thousands over the next decade.

Gibson's Engineering, which is engaged in train manufacturing, maintenance and repairs, said today it is “immensely proud” to announce the opening of its new engineering facility at the St Rollox rail depot in Springburn, Glasgow.   

It declared: “Affectionately referred to locally as 'The Caley', this iconic and important historic site is poised to play a pivotal role in preserving and building on Scotland’s rich heritage of railway engineering. It is the largest manufacturing, maintenance and repair rail depot in Scotland, and the second-largest in the UK.”

 The company said the reopening of the Glasgow facility “will create employment opportunities for engineers, coachbuilders, project managers and apprentices, with the aim to expand the Gibson’s Engineering workforce to over 1,000 employees over the next five years and hopefully 5,000 over the next 10 years”.

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It noted that the site’s skilled workforce would build new trains, maintain existing fleets and carry out repairs, such as accident damage and vehicle overhaul.

Gibson's Engineering said: “The depot will serve as a one-stop shop for train manufacturing, maintenance and repairs, ensuring the seamless operation of light and heavy rolling stock. St Rollox intends to have a fully electrified rail line from its buildings to the mainline, between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and will be the only active wheel-shop facility in Scotland.”

It added that the engineering facility ”will allow the site to once again play a prominent role in transforming the railway engineering industry in the UK over the next few decades and beyond.”

Gibson’s Engineering declared its directors and management team had a combined experience of more than 300 years in rail transport engineering, and “a reputation for innovation, reliability and craftsmanship”. Dougie and Fraser Gibson both have long experience in rail engineering.

Fraser Gibson, managing director of Gibson’s Engineering, said: “This is fantastic news for Scotland, which has a proud heritage and tradition of rail manufacturing, maintenance and repair. It’s full steam ahead and Dougie and I are excited to work with our team to get the facility fully operational, and to get 'The Caley' thriving again, as it did for over 160 years previously.”

 Gibson’s Engineering noted that, following the closure of the depot in 2019 by an investment fund, businessman David Moulsdale purchased the facility in 2021 and had a "vision for the revitalisation of this landmark as a train engineering depot”.

It added: ”Over £10 million has already been invested by David including the purchase price of the facility, refurbishment and ongoing maintenance of the buildings.”

Mr Moulsdale, founder of eyecare business Optical Express, said: “I was born and raised just three miles from ‘The Caley’. I vividly recall the enormous impact this unique engineering powerhouse had on me, and on the Greater Glasgow and broader Scottish community. 

"I’m extremely confident that our ambition to see significantly larger-scale employment of engineers, coachbuilders, project managers and apprentices in the north of Glasgow will come to fruition. Together with Gibson’s Engineering and the local community, we are breathing new life into ‘The Caley’ and the Scottish economy.”

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Lord Jack McConnell, former Scottish first minister and chair of the McConnell International Foundation, said: "'The Caley' has a proud heritage in railway engineering and is part of Scotland’s industrial DNA. I am excited to see Gibson’s Engineering bring their experience and expertise to this famous place in the heart of Glasgow, with the prospect of thousands of new skilled jobs in the years ahead.

"I am immensely proud of Scotland's history as a centre for engineering excellence, and so it is fantastic to see ‘The Caley’ reopened as a leading train manufacturing, maintenance and repairs facility. David Moulsdale deserves credit for bravely backing this venture, and I wish all involved every success.”

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Scottish three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart said: “Growing up close to Glasgow, I was always proud of the city’s reputation for engineering expertise, and 'The Caley' was at the forefront of that. By reopening the site, David Moulsdale and the team at Gibson’s Engineering are breathing new life into Scotland’s train manufacturing sector. I wish them all the best in this new venture, as it builds from strength to strength.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde and president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Engineering, technology and an entrepreneurial spirit serve as the foundation of Scotland's innovation and progress, and have done so for centuries. Glasgow and the west of Scotland at large are going through an engineering renaissance in several areas including manufacturing, energy, aerospace and many others.

“This enhances the opportunity for Gibson’s Engineering to influence the industrial landscape and further propel advancements in railway engineering while also helping to preserve Scotland’s rich heritage. I commend David Moulsdale and the Gibsons for their vision and commitment to drive this pioneering project.”