Gourock railway station

Infobox UK station
name = Gourock
code = GRK


caption = View from the main road, toward new ticket office
manager = First ScotRail
locale = Gourock
borough = Inverclyde
start = 1889
platforms = 3
usage0405 = 0.397
usage0506 = 0.438
usage0607 = 0.432|

Gourock railway station is a terminus of the Inverclyde Line, located at Gourock pierhead and serving the town as well as the ferry services it was originally built for. The Caledonian Railway found that their service to Greenock Central railway station which was an inconvenient walk away from the quay was losing Clyde steamer trade to the new Glasgow and South Western Railway terminal at "Prince's Pier" in Greenock. The Caley extended their line through a new tunnel to the small fishing village of Gourock, with the railway running on the seaward side of "Shore Street" to the terminal which opened on 1 June 1889, and subsequently based the headquarters of their steamer fleet there. The terminal is now the headquarters of Caledonian MacBrayne who run a car ferry to Dunoon from the pier, and it also serves "Clyde Marine" passenger ferries to Kilcreggan and Helensburgh using the "Kenilworth".

Cutbacks

The station was built to take large numbers of passengers boarding the steamers, but has been considerably reduced in size for the smaller traffic volumes of today. Originally the curving station had 17 canopy bays each side over three railway lines, 3 bays full width then the westmost 19 bays covered one line which continued on, and a central concourse with adjacent offices and stores etc. fronting the pier. In the 1980s the westmost end of the station was cut back by 18 bays, and in the 1990s the adjacent timber quay was demolished. More recently the remaining glazed canopies over the platforms have been taken down, leaving only the cast iron supporting structure and the slate roofs and glazed canopies over a section incorporating a ticket office and a waiting room. The adjacent "Bay Hotel" was also demolished in the 1990s with its site being grassed over, and 2006 a portable ticket office was put in place at the end wall which had been erected when the station was cut back, and the old ticket office was closed.

Future development

Approval was given in 1999 to plans initiated by Inverclyde Council, Caledonian MacBrayne and Railtrack which involved shortening the railway tracks and constructing a new station adjacent to Caledonian MacBrayne's headquarters. This formed part of a major development scheme, with the space formerly occupied by the station together with the grassed area which had been the site of the Bay Hotel providing space for two major supermarkets and housing. Alexander George was appointed preferred developer, but Network Rail was slow to come to an agreement on relocating the station. The work involved in shortening the tracks would have involved considerable expense and meant closing the station for 18 months. The delay left the station looking rather neglected. Then, near the end of September 2006, new plans were announced following intervention by the transport minister Tavish Scott. A considerable saving is to be made by not moving the station so far, so that the work involved is reduced and it will only have to be closed for four or five weeks. Only one supermarket is now proposed, with 580 houses being constructed in blocks facing out onto the Clyde. [Greenock Telegraph 28 September 2006]

It was subsequently announced that in the meantime the station is the be renovated at a cost of £630,000 to provide a new entrance, glass roof and toilets, and improved waiting facilities. David Simpson, route director for Network Rail in Scotland, advised that they needed to carry out essential work to make the station more comfortable for the 400,000 passengers using it every year, while continuing to "explore the longer-term options for the station with our industry partners". [Greenock Telegraph 12 October 2006]

As of June 2008, the new glazed roof has been partially completed.fact|date=May 2008

Gallery

References

External links

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