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Queen Street Station: the story of Glasgow’s gleaming new footbridge

It’s taken over 175 years, but Glasgow’s Queen Street Station has arrived at its destination as a modern masterpiece. The station is the city’s gateway to the east and north of the country. Since its redevelopment, which was completed in October 2021, it is also a major addition to the urban landscape.

Built in 1842 by Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, Queen Street Station has become the third busiest station in Scotland: the station currently handles around 20 million passengers a year, and this figure is expected to rise to 28 million by 2030. Throughout this evolution, the station was redeveloped between 1969 and 1973 – when Consort House was added – and again from 2017 to 2021, which included line electrification as well as a redesign.

The demolition of Consort House to make way for the new Queen Street Station was welcomed and needed. Where the beautification of the eight-story office building towered over the previous incarnation, blocking all forms of light and life from entering the building, this shiny new form was born from those dark ashes.

Announced in 2014 as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Program (EGIP), the £120million redevelopment began in 2017 and opened in October 2021. Edward Dymock was the lead architect commissioned by the Glasgow BDP studio to design the project. Aiming to transform the dark, gloomy and dejected 20th century cavern that was the station into a bright and shining beacon for the greener future of Scottish travel.

Dymock was quoted promising to “put people at the heart of design” and that goal was achieved. Arriving at Queen Street, you are now greeted by a massive window to the sky and the city, where previously the exit doors were the only source of light.

From these windows you are greeted by a slice of classic Glasgow architecture, with lots of sandstone and the magnificent City Chambers surrounding George Square.

The windows also provide an exterior benefit, acting as a mirror to those spectacular buildings for which Glasgow is so famous – proof that modern innovation and historic grandeur can coexist in the city. Accompanying the glass, stone and “gold” anodized aluminum tops complete the modern and light look of the new station. Corinthian columns with Victorian details that are part of the original structure were revealed during the renovation and left in all their glory – as they should be.

Queen Street station has finally reached its destination. To become a beautiful cornerstone for George Square that fits in and stands out, and a greener electric gateway for Glasgow. It proves that the future of Scottish travel is bright.

In association with City of Glasgow College

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