Commemorative plaques at stations

If you'd like to commemorate a person or event with a plaque at or on station property, you'll find everything you need to make a request below.

Please ensure that you read through all of the guidance in full before completing and submitting an application.

As the English Heritage Celebrating People and Places Guidance on Commemorative Plaques and Plaque schemes states “Once in place on a building, a plaque may last for many years. It is, therefore, always important to ensure as far as possible that plaques will continue to have relevance and a sustained impact in the future. While a successful plaque can bring enjoyment to countless people, a plaque that has been poorly designed or placed, or commemorates a subject which seems to be unworthy of lasting recognition, can be surprisingly detrimental. As plaques will be experienced by so many – of both present and future generations – high standards are desirable in all aspects of the work involved; this is especially the case with regard to plaque design, positioning, inscription, and the identification of a suitable and appropriate building on which the plaque is to be placed.”

With this as our guiding principle, we believe that it is very important that only well-thought out and evidenced plaques should be placed within the ScotRail estate. We have therefore devised this guide to help anyone wishing to initiate a plaque at a station or on ScotRail property.

There is an application form to complete for permission to install a plaque on ScotRail property. Any applications will initially be circulated to stakeholders for comment. These stakeholders will include the appropriate Local Station Manager(s), Property Services Managers, Maintenance Teams, Transport Scotland and relevant local stakeholders e.g. Local Authority. The final decision, taking note of any comments submitted, will be taken by a panel made up of representatives from ScotRail. You should receive a formal decision on your application within six weeks of submitting a completed application. If further information is required after submission, the six weeks will start from the date on which all required information is received.

Any plaque should be a lasting and appropriate tribute. Therefore we ask for specific information in order to make the best decision. The following details should be provided with your application form:

A plan for funding the plaque, its installation and ongoing maintenance.

  • Although the request will be for an installation on ScotRail property, there is no financial assistance available from ScotRail. Therefore any requests must include a detailed description of all costs and how they will be met by the applicant. It is likely that installation by ScotRail staff will be required, however this comes at a cost which will be passed on to the plaque applicant. Indicative costs can be provided if required.

Details of local consultation to establish community support for the plaque and what it is to commemorate.

  • We would expect that that any commemoration would be for a person/event widely recognised in the area to warrant a plaque. Therefore, evidence of local consultation could include ensuring that the family or families of anyone named on the plaque is supportive of the memorial.

Letters of support from relevant parties

  • e.g. local community group(s), local residents or if appropriate, family of those being commemorated.

Details, including drawings or photos of requested plaque positioning.

  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure approval of any logos/artwork to be used. Positioning of the plaque will also be an important factor in securing permission so please ensure you include photos of proposed positioning of the plaque.

Details of the plaque’s size, construction/mounting materials, colour and inscription.

  • Photos or drawings of samples would be very helpful in decision-making.

Details of a review process which will ensure that the plaque remains relevant and well-maintained.

  • Our intention is that commemorative plaques will remain in place, relevant and safe for many years. Plaques which become damaged, unsightly or dangerous will be removed. It is therefore a condition of permission being granted that the applicant has a proposed system in place to check on the plaque and take measures to ensure it remains as intended. A long-term contact must be named, and contact details provided, for the person who will accept this responsibility and they must provide

Core Criteria

The event or person commemorated must be of recognised importance in the history and heritage of the Railway Network or Scotland as a country; or demonstrate a link to the local area, station or railway network that would be widely recognised by well-informed passers-by.

General Criteria

  • Proposals for the commemoration of a person shall not be considered until they have been dead for at least five years. Proposals will not be considered for the commemoration of individuals still living, unless where the person has demonstrated an exceptional contribution of National or International significance.
  • Proposals will be considered for plaques commemorating more than one person. In such instances, each person to be commemorated must be of significance in their own right.
  • The commemoration of an event should be sufficiently well known, or of such national or railway network importance, that the well-informed passer-by immediately recognises the event and its significance. As far as possible, the station or site proposed for installation must be directly related to the event.
  • No person or event will be approved that will imply ScotRail’s endorsement of a political or ideological position or of a commercial product. This does not preclude using the name of an individual who has held public office or an individual or a company that manufactures or distributes commercial products.
  • No person or event will be approved which ScotRail considers could cause offence to others.

Points which will be considered by the judging panel

  • Current/continuing/future relevance of person/event to be commemorated.
  • Subject matter of plaque – i.e. appropriateness of the event/person(s) and implications of “celebrating” these. Plaques celebrating/commemorating political events or figures will not be considered.
  • Suitability of positioning – e.g. the size and intended prominence of plaques may influence the decision of the panel.
  • Design in relation to position – e.g. we’d expect any plaque to be sympathetic to its surroundings, so a “modern” design may not be considered suitable at a heritage station.
  • Any installation which could interfere with safe railway working will not be considered (e.g. red or green signs positioned where they could distract drivers).

The application should be completed in full, signed by the applicant and “responsible person”. The application should be submitted with all of the required supporting documents at time of submission.

Applicants can expect to have a decision communicated within six weeks of a fully completed application being received. Comment on the decision will be provided. If the panel feels that changes could be made by the applicant to enable permission to be granted, this will be shared with the applicant.

ScotRail will have the final say on whether a plaque is erected.

Applications, including photos/plans etc should be emailed to [email protected] with Plaque Application and the station in the subject line (e.g. Plaque Application - Robroyston).

Download an application form