Published on : Saturday, June 28, 2014
The first phase of the restoration of the railway station building at North Queensferry, which will include a new visitor information centre, café and community space, is to be unveiled by the Provost of Fife, Jim Leishman, next week.
The North Queensferry Station Trust was formed to find an alternative use for the disused station building, but specifically to act as a focal point for community-based initiatives.
The Trust has created a long-term use for the building with the refurbishment of the space into a visitor information centre, a Bridge the Gap café, the original waiting room, which can be hired out to community groups, and a gallery room where the ‘Station Story’ exhibition is currently being organised by the North Queensferry Heritage Trust.
The first phase will be opened at 2pm on Tuesday 1 July. Also attending the official opening will be Alex Sharkey, Network Rail area manager, the last station master Bill MacKinnon and pupils from local schools who will assist in the unveiling of the replica North British Railway 1890 station clock.
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “I am delighted to hear about this programme to restore the station building to its former glory and to include a visitor information centre and café to encourage people to see what is available locally while enjoying some good Scottish hospitality.
“We have a magnificent tourism tradition here and, as Chairman of Scotland’s national tourism organisation, I am very proud of the hard work and dedication of the people here who, like me, believe tourism to be the most important industry for our towns and local areas.
“This is the year that Scotland welcomes the world, with the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and a tremendous programme of Homecoming Scotland 2014 events.
The timing of this opening is perfect and I am sure people coming to the North Queensferry area will enjoy their visit even more as a result.”
James Lawson, from the North Queensferry Station Trust, said: “The unveiling of the first phase of this project gives us an excellent opportunity to reflect on all the hard work and dedication of the North Queensferry Station Trust to date.
The aim of the project is to transform the disused station building into a community facility and visitor attraction for North Queensferry and this event marks an important milestone in the project for the Trust, our volunteers and funding partners.”
Located at the bridgehead of the Forth Bridge as part of the overall northern approaches plan, the new site played a key part in the decision by the North British Railway Company to relocate passenger traffic from the existing station at the ferry terminal in the lower part of the village, built in 1878.
Only 118 days after the opening of the Forth Bridge on 4 March 1890, the new station at the bridgehead was opened to the public, on 1 July of that year.
The station building itself was constructed by the architect design company of W H Beattie and Sons of Edinburgh, with similar waiting room facilities on both the north and southbound lines.
Only the building on the southbound line remains as a rare example of a late Victorian wooden-constructed station.
This now faces the large mural, depicting local scenes designed by local schoolchildren and constructed in 1990 for the centenary of the Forth Bridge.