The Glasgow, Barrhead and Neilston Direct Railway line opened in 1848, well before any of the houses were built alongside. It ran from a terminus on the southside of Glasgow to Barrhead with the first stop at Pollokshaws West.
Strathbungo station was a later addition to the line, opening on 1 December 1877, and Crossmyloof followed even later, in 1888.
Today little trace remains of the station at rail level, though the former booking office building on the bridge above still stands, for fifty years or so as Susie’s Store, until the store closed in 2019.
Meanwhile John Devitt recalled rescuing statues or busts from the embankment during a clean up and placing them in one of the Moray Place gardens, but wasn’t sure of their fate.
In July 2018 I was passed some old Strathbungo Society documents, and the minutes describe how the stone heads were removed from the embankment on 24th August 1986 with the assistance of ScotRail (lest they be damaged during the forthcoming electrification of the line, hmm). The Society Treasurer, Mrs A Allan, reported that the heads had belonged to the Strathbungo stationmaster, who had brought them with him from his previous station in Ayr. The Coat of Arms of Ayr Harbour Station was said to include Minerva, Hercules and Neptune .
The heads were moved to the garden of Robin Haddow, a founding member of the society, on Moray Place. After a tip off, I discovered they are still there today, set into a garden wall, their provenance forgotten. One looks like Minerva, but I’m not sure of the second. I didn’t find a third. Or an iron horse.
The last passenger
John Robin, as well as providing some of the steam-era photographs, has a claim to be the last passenger to ever alight at Strathbungo Station:
I had been on the last train to stop at Strathbungo in May 1962 and thought that that was that; but in November 1966 another medical student and I were on the train from Clarkston to sit an exam at Gilmorehill. As we were passing Strathbungo the diesel railcar dropped its gearbox, ran over it and derailed very noisily.
Not wishing to miss the exam and realising that the train was going nowhere we got off, jumped the wall and went across to Pollokshields West for a Circle train. As it came in we saw that a large group of the less agile passengers had got off and walked along the line towards Muirhouse and then south through the short tunnel to the station causing great consternation to the driver. We managed to sit the exam and all was well.
After closure, the steps down to the platforms from the booking hall and the footbridge were removed, and the booking hall became a shop, Susie’s, the name still visible today. It is likely the metalwork from the footbridge steps down to the platform were then used to extend the footbridge to Darnley Road for the first time. There is more on the footbridge elsewhere.
This scene taken from Pollokshields West Station across Darnley Road includes Strathbungo Station, the footbridge, 1-10 Moray Place and Salisbury Crescent.
The future of the station is in serious doubt. After the closure of Susie’s store in 2019, due to a combination of a hike in the lease and impending retirement, Network Rail announced with no consultation and litte warning that it was to demolish the building on 18-19 July 2020. A backlash from local resdients led them to postpone the demolition until consultation had taken place, but it remains under threat, possibly in relation to future electrification – but note above, that was also the case in 1986!
There is currently a petition to save the building.
Article updated 18 July 2020.