Perth Railway Station


Situated to the southwest of Perth city centre, on the northwest corner of the South Inch and a half-mile (1 km) west of the River Tay, Perth Station (Gael: Peairt) represents an important junction between lines leading to Dundee, Inverness, Edinburgh (via Dunblane or Fife) and Glasgow (via Stirling). This rambling Tudor-Gothic edifice once boasted nine platforms and linked the Caledonian, Highland and North British Railways. However, with a much-reduced volume of traffic, and consequently a little down-trodden, the station is now reduced to seven platforms none of which could be described as busy, and a range of sidings which, for the most part, lie empty.

Originally known as Perth General Station, it was built to the designs of London-based architect Sir William Tite in 1847-48. A public enquiry had been needed to persuade the different railway companies involved to choose a single location. Even then, the Dundee and Perth Railway had their terminus on the opposite side of the Tay, with passengers having to cross the river to continue their journeys. Finally in 1862-64 the Tay Viaduct was built to allow trains to continue on to the General Station, which was extended to cope with the additional traffic. The station was extended again in 1885, with the station hotel built shortly thereafter. Its roof was altered in 1911 and again in the late 1960s. A utilitarian entrance foyer and booking office were added in 1967, rather degrading the architectural experience. Further alterations to the facade were executed in 1992, while platform improvements, a new footbridge and passenger lifts, costing £2.4 million, were opened by Scottish Government minister and local politician John Swinney in 2013, providing improved access to the station for those with limited mobility. Operated by ScotRail, Perth Railway Station is staffed part-time and is used by 888,586 passengers per annum (2009-10).

In 1857 John Menzies opened one of his earliest bookstalls here and the station was visited by Queen Victoria in 1848 and 1851. There is a bust of Perth-born author and statesman John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir (1875 - 1940). Actors Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman took part in scenes here when the station featured as a location for the film The Railway Man (2013). In 2017 a memorial was unveiled in the Waiting Room to commemorate the centenary of the Jellicoe Express, the Royal Navy train named after Admiral Sir John Jellicoe. This ran daily from London to Thurso during both world wars, stopping in Perth, and taking navy personnel to their base at Scapa Flow.

Perth also has an important train cleaning and maintenance facility, which becomes a hive of activity late at night.

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