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Garelochhead Station Including Signal Box, Subway, Gates and Railings

A Category B Listed Building in Rhu, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0799 / 56°4'47"N

Longitude: -4.8255 / 4°49'31"W

OS Eastings: 224264

OS Northings: 691056

OS Grid: NS242910

Mapcode National: GBR 09.NV8P

Mapcode Global: WH2LP.VFBX

Entry Name: Garelochhead Station Including Signal Box, Subway, Gates and Railings

Listing Date: 8 July 1988

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 353836

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19490

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Rhu

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Lomond North

Parish: Rhu

Traditional County: Dunbartonshire

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Garelochhead

Description

Attributed to James Miller, 1893-4. Single storey, rectangular-plan, near-symmetrical island station building with swept, bell-cast roof carried on carved consoles over canopy on either side to form awning. Painted, ashlar plinth with dressed red sandstone base; timber-framed with scalloped shingle walling. Panelled angle pilasters. Glazed screen to outer right and left. Timber panelled doors. Timber framed windows; bipartite and canted windows; fanlights also painted. Tiled roof (originally grey slate as per Tyndrum Upper and Glenfinnan).

E & W ELEVATIONS: 12 bays; single and bipartite windows; 2 canted windows; 4-panelled door with large fanlight.

N & S ELEVATIONS: door at centre, 4-panelled (glazed upper panels at SW end), rectangular fanlight; flanking shingled panels. Glazed screens to outer left and right.

SIGNAL BOX (Map Ref: NS 24281, 91109): on platform to NE of station building: 1894, North British Railway Company, Type 6a signal box. 3-bay; square-plan; painted ashlar plinth, brick base with rounded brick corbells below cills; glazed timber framed upper panels with fixed 9-pane glazing (currently blocked, 2012). Piended slate roof, lead flashings; projecting eaves, exposed rafters.

SUBWAY: entry to station via underpass to S of station. Concrete and reconstituted stone with concrete parapet; curved concrete entrance.

GATE AND RAILINGS: ornate 2-leaf cast-iron gate leading to station; plain cast-iron fencing.

Statement of Interest

Garelochhead Station is one of a series of island platform stations designed specifically for the West Highland Railway (sponsored by the North British Railway Company) in the 1890s. Featuring a piended bell-cast roof extending to form a canopy over each elevation, they are built in a distinctive and picturesque 'Swiss Chalet' style chosen to compliment the mountainous scenery on the route. As a series, the stations add considerably to the architectural and historic interest of one of Scotland's most exceptional railway journeys.

Signal boxes are a distinctive and increasingly rare building type that make a significant contribution to Scotland's diverse industrial heritage. Of more than 2000 signal boxes built across Scotland by 1948, around 150 currently survive (2013) with all pre-1948 mechanical boxes still in operation on the public network due to become obsolete by 2021. The signal box at Garelochhead is an example of the characteristic Type 6a boxes by the North British Railway Company, designed and modified specifically for use on the platforms of the West Highland Railway. Its shallow, piended roof and overhanging eaves are in keeping with the Swiss-chalet style of the station buildings. The associated group value with the station, and with the exceptional engineering and scenic interest of the West Highland Line more broadly, add to its interest.

The West Highland Railway which runs between Craigendoran and Fort William was opened in 1894. Garelochhead station, like Bridge of Orchy, Upper Tyndrum and Rannoch (see separate listings), is of the island platform type introduced by Charles De Neuville Forman, the engineer of the West Highland Railway. The Swiss-style architecture and island platform and are understood to be the work of influential Glaswegian architect, James Miller, although Robert Wemyss may have contributed to the designs while working with J J Burnet. James Miller had formerly worked as an assistant in the architectural office of the Caledonian Railway, thereby gaining considerable experience in designing railway stations. The original scalloped shingles are understood to have been imported from Switzerland. The station was originally glazed with small-pane, timber astragalled windows.

List description and statutory address revised as part of Scottish Signal Box Review (2012-13).

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