Fun facts – what's new on Scotland’s railway?
Scotland’s railway is steeped in history, dating back to 1838 when the first station that’s still in use was opened. Like anything in life, in order to move forward with the times, redevelopment or a ‘trainsformation’ as we like to call it, is key.
There have been lots of exciting railway projects going on recently so in our latest fact-finding journey we’re riding the rails to find out all the new goings on.
Let’s start in our capital city and its main station, Edinburgh Waverley - home to the highest number of platforms in any Scottish station. Up until the end of February 2019, Edinburgh Waverley had 18 platforms in operation. That was just one more than Glasgow Central, Scotland’s busiest station. If you’ve ever passed through Waverley you may have noticed that there was no platform five or six to be seen. After a big redevelopment project, new platforms were made and they’re now situated where the old taxi rank used to be on the east side of the station.
Since we’re on the newest platforms, let’s step on board the train ready to depart platform six and ride the newest line – The Borders Railway.
The line opened to the public on 6 September 2015, a few days before it was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on the 9 September. It’s the UK’s longest new domestic railway opened for 100 years. But, not all of the route that the Borders Railway follows is brand new. Fresh track was laid along the path of the Old Waverley Line which operated from 1849 until 1969.
On this journey, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled as the scenery is beautiful!
Leaving the Borders behind, we're heading northwest to Scotland’s newest station, Robroyston. Did you know it’s the 78th new station to open in Scotland since 1984? Although it won't hold the title for too much longer as Kintore station is due to open in May 2020. Robroyston station only opened on Sunday the 15th of December, 2019 and it's already been shortlisted for an award in the RCIS Social Impacts Awards. The station is helping to get drivers off the road that would perhaps opt to drive into Glasgow city centre. There are 263 free parking spaces and spaces to charge electric vehicles too.
Newest revamped station
We're heading east again on an Inter7City service to Dundee to experience Scotland’s newest revamped station. The city itself has undergone a huge transformation over the past few years and the station now stands proudly next to the stunning architecture of the V&A. Keeping things moving forward, inside the station it’s out with a waiting room and in with a relaxing lounge. With a mix of sofas and chairs, softer lighting and space to relax, it’s a much nicer start to any journey or connection.
We can’t talk about Scotland’s newest railway developments without mentioning the shiny new Class 385 Express trains. These started riding the rails on 24 July 2018, carrying passengers between Edinburgh and Glasgow following the electrification of the route. Since then, they’ve popped up on other routes across Central Scotland and will continue to do so over the rest of 2019. Keep your eyes peeled and if you get a chance to ride on one, enjoy! They’re ever so lovely inside. It’s quieter, smoother and quicker too.
Let’s round of this fact-finding journey with a little tongue-in-cheek category:
Newest Tourist Attraction Station
Following the release of a little film called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone back in 2001 (how on earth was it that long ago?!), fans have flocked to Glenfinnan Station to see the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the ‘Hogwart’s Express’ puffing its way over. This may not be an officially recognised title but every year sees thousands of people alighting here for a little piece of movie magic. The setting of the station is rather enchanting too with great views over the glen and Loch Shiel. So many people have visited that the paths are now being restored in order to handle the sheer volume of visitors. It truly is an iconic sight seeing a steam train chugging over the viaduct.
Thanks for joining us on this journey of the newest things happening on Scotland’s railway. If you missed our last fact-finding journey where we discovered the highest station and most northerly station amongst other fascinating facts, have a read of it here.