Aberdeen Railway Station

(Aberdeen Joint Railway Station, Obar Dheathain)

Railway Station, Aberdeen
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Railway Station, Aberdeen

Aberdeen's only railway station lies on Guild Street, to the south of Union Street, a quarter mile (0.4 km) west of Aberdeen Harbour. It is also known by the Gaelic name Obar Dheathain. Once one of many stations in the city, this was originally known as Aberdeen Joint Railway Station and was constructed 1913-20, the last major station to be built in Scotland. It was the work of J.A. Parker, Chief Engineer of the Great North of Scotland Railway and comprises a double-height Beaux-Arts central block in buff sandstone, featuring large semi-circular windows and a dentil moulding, together with granite pavilions to the north and south.

Inside is a spacious concourse and exceptionally long platforms, covered by an impressive shallow segmental-arched glass roof supported on steel trusses. There were once thirteen platforms and the through-platforms were even longer, but the northern end of the station was lost in 1973 to create car parking space. Glass canopies extend over much of the length of the eight remaining platforms, but only five of these are in use. Aberdeen Railway Station connects the East Coast Main Line with the Aberdeen-Inverness Line; the preceded station is Portlethen (5½ miles (9 km) to the south) and it is followed by Dyce, a similar distance to the northwest. It is operated by ScotRail, which provided services to 3.7 million passengers in 2014, making Aberdeen the fifth busiest railway station in Scotland.

This is the third station on the site; the first was the Aberdeen Railway Company's station of 1854, the terminus of the line from the south. This was linked by a horse-drawn tram to Aberdeen Waterloo Station (lying to the north of the harbour) which was the terminus of the Great North of Scotland Railway that operated routes to the north. A joint station was built on Guild Street 1865-67, around the time the Caledonian Railway Company took over the Aberdeen Railway. The North of Scotland line was extended southeast from Kittybrewster through the Den Burn Valley to connect to the northern end of the this new station. The site of Waterloo Station remains, next to a branch of the railway which still serves Victoria Dock. With most of the city's suburban stations having closed, the Joint Station was officially renamed 'Aberdeen' in 1952, although its former name is still used by many.

The old ticket hall, with its varnished woodwork and small windows, was removed in 1978 to make way for a new travel centre. The station was further modernised in the 1980's, work which included the installation of information monitors to display arrivals and departures. The building was A-listed in 1990 and further upgraded in 1998, with the station roof rebuilt as part of a £3 million refurbishment programme. A further refurbishment came in 2008-09 as part of the development of the adjacent Union Square shopping mall and brought automatic ticket barriers. This shopping mall now incorporates the sandstone section of the facade within its entrance atrium.

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