The new entrance building to the Dundee station is due to open soon. It will include a hotel, shops and a brand new concourse for the station that will bring visitors straight out into the new Waterfront Development. We thought this would be a good time to look back at some of the old stations of the City.*
The first railway line to reach Dundee was the Dundee and Newtyle Railway. Opened in 1831, the line across the Sidlaw hills was originally meant for goods and not people. The end of the line was in Ward Road. This did present some difficulties as it was still a bit of a journey to the harbour with the goods that were brought in and out on ships. The line was extended down to the Yeaman Shore in 1837 and finally connected up to the Harbour. The original line tunnelled straight through the Law but still had quite a steep climb. In 1861 a new part of the line was built which went round the hill via Lochee and down to Ninewells Junction. This was much cheaper to run and joined up with the Dundee to Perth line. This did mean that the Ward Road station was obsolete and it closed on 10 June 1861.
The next line to be built to Dundee was the Dundee and Arbroath railway. The terminus of this line was at the Docks, and would later become the Dundee East Station. The station was opened on 1st April 1840, but the line had already been open for 18 months. A temporary station at Roodyards was used until the new station was ready. The station was rebuilt and opened as ‘Dock Street’ station on 14 December 1857 and renamed Dundee East the following year. You can view pictures of this station on the Library’s Photopolis website. Falling passenger use after the Second World War led to the station being closed on 5th January 1959. It was demolished and the site is now a car showroom.
Next came the line from Perth. The terminus station was called Union Street and was pretty basic. Built in 1847 the original station was just two platforms and made of wood. Following a merger with the Scottish Central Railway, which extended the line to Stirling, a new larger station was needed. An Italianate two storey station was built and renamed Dundee West Station in 1866 when it opened. A picture of this station can be viewed on the Library’s Photopolis Website.
This station didn’t last long. A new, larger Gothic station was opened in 1889. The area where the old station building had been became the approach and forecourt to the new station. It was the main station in Dundee until the 1960s. The station closed on 3rd May 1965 and was demolished as part of the waterfront developments to make way for the Marketgait bypass to the new Tay Road Bridge.
The current Dundee station is the only one left. It was built to take the line from the Tay Bridge. It originally opened in 1878 with the new bridge. Most of the yard and station is built on reclaimed land. Unfortunately the line was cut when the bridge fell down in December 1879. It then took 10 more years for new bridge to be erected and the station was put to full use again. The original entrance is now on Riverside Drive and was used as the temporary entrance during the development of the new station building. The Tay Bridge line also connected to the Arbroath line via the Dock Street Tunnel or cutting. A rather plain new entrance block to the station was built in the 1950s. This moved the entrance round to South Union Street.
In 1966 as part of the development of the infrastructure in Dundee, the stations were merged into one. By this time Dundee East was already out of use. Dundee West was demolished and the Tay Bridge Station was renamed ‘Dundee’. In 1989 a new entrance to the station was built with a walkway over the Marketgait for pedestrian access. Like the first Dundee West station, this too did not last long and was demolished in 2014.
The new station was built as part of the latest Waterfront development. Its due to open its doors in the summer of 2018.
*I realise there were many more stations within Dundee, such as at Lochee and Broughty Ferry but have chosen to focus on the main terminals at the end of the lines that led to Dundee