The Herald

Full steam ahead: Historic rail yard gains listed building status

- By Kara Kennedy

IT has been standing for nearly 170 years and played a crucial role in the Normandy landings which changed the course of the Second World War.

Now, a former railway locomotive workshop in Glasgow has been granted listed building status in recognitio­n of its special architectu­ral and historic interest.

Historic Environmen­t Scotland (HES) said the former St Rollox Locomotive Works in Springburn, Glasgow, is a rare surviving example of a late 19th-century locomotive works in Scotland.

It has given Category B listing status to the works, which is the only remaining building of its type in Springburn, once a global centre of locomotive constructi­on.

St Rollox works were built in 1853 and the first engine completed there a year later. Engines built at the works included the Dunalastai­rs, Cardeans, and Mcintosh passenger and freight locomotive­s.

The depot served Scotland’s rail network for more than 160 years but closed in July 2019 despite protests from unions and politician­s.

Today the building retains many features which demonstrat­e its previous function, including an interconne­cted workshop design featuring high-quality ironwork.

Dara Parsons, head of designatio­ns at HES, said: “The former St Rollox

Works is a significan­t piece of Scotland’s industrial and transport heritage, contributi­ng to our understand­ing of Scotland’s railway history and in particular, Springburn’s role as a major centre for rail manufactur­e and repair in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“After assessing the site for listing, we are proposing to add it to Scotland’s list of buildings of special architectu­ral and historic interest.

“Listing is a way of recognisin­g and celebratin­g what makes our built heritage special and ensuring this is taken into account in future decisions.”

During the Second World War, St Rollox played a part in the war effort, producing – among other things – Airspeed Horsa gliders for the D-day landings in Normandy.

The nearby Cowlairs railwaywor­ks also produced 200,000 bearing shells for Rolls-royce Merlin engines.

The designatio­n of the St Rollox Works follows a consultati­on where members of the public were invited to share their views on the historic and architectu­ral significan­ce of the building.

Mostly built in 1882, it was the largest and longest-operationa­l locomotive manufactur­e and repair works in Scotland.

It was establishe­d and constructe­d in the Springburn district of Glasgow by the Caledonian Railway Company as their principal locomotive constructi­on and repair works. HES said the works played a significan­t role in the expansion of the railway on the landscape of Scotland.

It was Caledonian’s chief engineer Dugald Drummond that remodelled designs by district engineer Robert Dundas between 1882 and 1887, in response to the company’s need for a much larger works.

The rail network rapidly expanded and advances in locomotive engineerin­g, distributi­on and export were made.

Locomotive engine manufactur­e had largely ceased by 1928, although St Rollox remained heavily involved in railway vehicle repair and maintenanc­e.

At the time of the nationalis­ation of the railways in 1948, the works continued to employ more than 3,300 workers.

Ownership of the works passed to the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company in the 1920s, and later to British Rail in the 1940s.

In the 1980s the size of the works was reduced under British Rail Engineerin­g Limited management, and it was later sold as part of the privatisat­ion of British Rail in 1995.

The depot was most recently operated by Mutares-owned subsidiary Gemini Rail.

It has been marketed for sale since July 2019 when it was closed with the loss of 200 jobs, despite the site running at a profit.

HES says it lists buildings of special architectu­ral or historic interest that help to create Scotland’s distinctiv­e character, and which enable us to discover more about the stories of our past.

The former St Rollox Works is a significan­t piece of Scotland’s industrial heritage

 ?? ?? Springburn’s former St Rollox Locomotive Works served Scotland’s rail network for more than 160 years, and now has listed building status
Springburn’s former St Rollox Locomotive Works served Scotland’s rail network for more than 160 years, and now has listed building status
 ?? ?? Inside the historic depot where Glasgow engineerin­g history was built
Inside the historic depot where Glasgow engineerin­g history was built
 ?? ?? Workers in the wheelwrigh­ts’ workshop of the St Rollox works
Workers in the wheelwrigh­ts’ workshop of the St Rollox works

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom