Glasgow Central


This layout started as one to depict the Cathcart Circle railway round the south side of Glasgow as I had received a well detailed book on the subject. During the initial building, I discovered BR signal diagrams for the two signal boxes that controlled most of the circle. I then discovered MSTS models of Glasgow Central station and the Clyde bridge which inspired me to extend the layout detail into Glasgow and also out to Neilston, Kirkhill and Motherwell. Having got the timetables for the Cathcart Circle running, I then saw that half of Glsagow Central was "empty" with no trains, so then added the Clyde Coast trains to Gourock and Wemyss Bay. That is where the layout is now and is based in 1962/63.

The Rail3D map shows the extent of the layout - I have annotated some of the places.


Track laying

I use the Fugawi map software to create the initial track with its waypoints facility which can then be imported into a spreadsheet to create nodes, links and labels to then import into Rail3D.  The waypoint OS map coordinates are in the 50000 to 70000 range, so ideal for importing directly into Rail3D.

For detail round stations and junctions, I have used the maps found on old-maps.co.uk which can be used in Rail3D's overlay facility.


This was imported from DEM data. Note this was after track laying as Fugawi gives me elevation heights for each waypoint.


Most of the signal positions and types were derived from the BR signal diagrams, but for the Clyde Coast and main line out of Glasgow where semaphores were still in use, it has been a bit of guess work/web photos to create the necessary block sections.

From the cab of a 303 in the Glasgow sidings showing a passing 303 and the route indicator (Z) on the signal:



Rolling stock

The "circle" was entirely run with class 303 EMUs. The Clyde Coast trains are Stanier 4MT tank locomotives with non-corridor coaches. I have no details yet for freight trains. 


 I have the 1962/63 Scottish Region timetables from which I created spreadsheets for each service.

The basic timetable for the "circle" line starting around 06:00 and ending around 23:00 is:

  • 22 Outer circle *.15 and *.45
  • 21 Inner circle *.19 and *.49
  • 2D Motherwell (via the outer) *.53 and *.23
  • 26 Neilston (via the outer) *.59 and *.29
  • 23 Kirkhill (via the inner) *.03 and *.33

with some variations at peak times - usually extra services. There are some Kirkhill trains that go via the outer circle with headcode 24.

Headcode 80 is ECS from Smithy Lye and 54 is one to Smithy Lye.

Sunrise at Smithy Lye carriage sidings: 

Other ECS movements have the 2 replaced by 3, so 3D is a Motherwell one.

Each EMU train was allocated a route number and a diagram number on the spreadsheet and I arrived at 21 sets required to run the "circle" line. The EMUs are stabled overnight at Smithy Lye except for the first two out of Motherwell which are kept there.

The route numbers are the headcode as above with the last two digits incremented from 01 upwards. Cathcart inner and outer circle trains are incremented by one, but the others are incremented by two with odd numbers leaving Glasgow and evens heading there.

I created a program which reads the spreadsheets and produces a timetable to import into Rail3D and a diagram and a script file to copy and paste into Rail3D.

There is an on-screen script output which shows train movements at Glasgow and also any late (more than 2 minutes) trains elsewhere:


The train roster is also available to track trains:

I have cheated a bit with the Clyde Coast trains and have only created track as far as Paisley. All of the trains start or end there via Rail3D's source and sink facilites.

Route numbers have the second digit as G for Gourock and W for Wemyss Bay.

These services are not as regular as the "circle" trains, but set up for local demand such as workers along the line and ferry connections at Gourock and Wemyss Bay.

There are some ECS movements which I have diagrammed for the two locomotives which do these. They are stabled at Polmadie Shed when not required. The train locomotives emerge and exit via source and sinks within Polmadie Shed.

Apart from a few ECS movements during the day (for morning and evening peaks) all stock from trains that arrive at Glasgow can be used for a train departing which allows for the departing locomotive to arrive from the shed and couple to the awaiting coaches. After departure the locomotive that arrived with the coaches is then free to return to Polmadie. Only platforms 12 and 13 are allocated and as this works well, I assume it was what happened in real life.


At the time of my layout, only lines in use for the "circle" trains are electrified. At Glasgow Central only platforms 6 to 11 were wired which means that these are the only platforms available for the "circle" trains. I wrote a program to allocate which platform a train should use and then copied and pasted the output onto the points in Rail3D.

View from a 303 in platform 6:

Platforms 12 and 13 are used for the Clyde Coast trains, which leaves platforms 1 to 5 to be set up for trains to England, Edinburgh and the Hamilton Circle.

View of platforms 12 and 13 with coach doors open and locomotive Stanier 4MT tank:



I find Rail3D a bit restrictive in insisting that every node is an OHLE node. With Glasgow Central and its approaches quite complicated, this meant unnecessary end sections of catenary over a lot of nodes. I eventually overcame this by overlaying actual track with invisible track which has the gantries or masts at the correct locations. Some complicated junctions are also wired this way. 

Signal panels and box 

There are three signal panels: Glasgow Central, Cathcart and Muirhouse Junction. There is also a lever frame signal box at Douglas Park, where I have added extra scenery for interest. Note that I make the up direction towards Glasgow in this layout.







Douglas Park signal box with a down Motherwell train approaching and showing the train register, signal levers set and track circuit (red spot) on the panel:



Looking out of the other window at an up train from Motherwell:


Motor traffic

Also at Douglas Park, there is a main road crossing the railway with a minor road coming off it to the cottages on the far side of the tracks. Cars, buses and lorries are programmed via sources at each end of the road and also behind the cottages at minute intervals, but some only run sometimes (a Rail3D trick).






Whilst Douglas Park signal box is located in the middle of fields and does not need buildings to be seen, a lot of the layout needs station buildings, houses and flats etc to make following a train look interesting.

I have not arranged permission to use the MSTS models, so I am unable to publish the layout at present. 

Moonrise over Smithy Lye:




I am now going to add the remaining lines to allow platforms 1 to 5 at Glasgow Central to be used. Stock will be DMUs and larger LMS steam locomotives such as Coronation and Jubilee classes with MK1 corridor coaches.

City of Liverpool awaiting departure with the "Royal Scot" to Euston: 






RDarling 18/02/2015 19:03:25