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Located on the West Coast Main Line about 25 miles south east of Glasgow and 27 miles south west of Edinburgh.
Railway type and traffic
There are numerous services operated by East Coast/ Virgin West Coast / Virgin Cross Country and Scotrail. Two daily Scotrail services to and from North Berwick operated at the moment by class 322's. The location is also a Thunderbird stabling point - which can be class 57 or 47/8. Regular charters through the location include the Northern Belle’s and occasional steam charters outwith the winter months.
Virgin Cross Country also operate services to and from Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh which avoid the station and route via Carstairs East and South Junction.
Intermodal, enterprise, steel, oil, car trains, frequent MGR services from Millerhill to Ravenstruther, these mainly supplying Cockenzie Power Station. DB Schenker occasionally also operate Anglo Scottish MGR's from Ayrshire along the WCML. FHH operate a daily service from Ravenstruther which supplies Cottam Power Station and they can also send trains to Hunterston via the WCML. Engineers trains operate between Millerhill and Carlisle via Carstairs East and South Jct. Frequent freightliner services operated by classes 86 and 90. DRS make regular appearances with all of their classes of loco. Daily security vans operate between Mossend and Law Junction and these have to be brought to Carstairs for the loco to run round as Law Junction depot cannot be accessed from the up main line. Locos working these trains are mostly classes 66 and 67 although on rare occasions other classes can be utilised.
Link to Real Time Trains
RTT Link Carstairs
This link should be close to the location, but may not be the actual
location so please check the page. This link will take you to what is happening 'around now'. Dates and times can be changed at the top of the page.
If you come by car in the daytime it is fairly safe to leave your car in the parking spaces. Not advisable to park in these parking spaces after dark however as the local youths are active at night. Should you choose to park near the station entrance after dark keep an eye on it at regular intervals.
From the M74 - Junction 9:
Take the B7086 (Lanark) and continue along until Auchenheath. Then Join the A72 and travel in the Lanark direction until the junction with the A73 at Kirkfieldbank. Here follow the signs for Carlisle through to Lanark. In Lanark join the A70 and this will take you to Carstairs Village. In the village turn right down Carstairs Road, left onto Strawfrank Road and the station is on your left.Click here to set up your location for directions to this location Carstairs map co-ordinates
There are parking spaces at the foot of the hill to the left of the station entrance or at the other side of the road opposite the entrance.
Carstairs is difficult to get to by public transport, but it is possible. There is a limited train service from both Edinburgh and Glasgow by both ScotRail and Virgin XC.
Alternatively, it's possible to get the train to Lanark and then the bus to Carstairs
ScotRail train times for Lanark
Bus Timetable - William Stokes
Bus Timetable - Irvines
Travel Scotland Journey planner
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Between 07.30 and 15.30 there is a public toilet located in the ticket office building so if it is not open, ask the ticket office clerk if they would open it for you. Apart from the station there are no other public toilets in Carstairs. There is a shop and post office in Carstairs Junction which is a 5 min walk from the station entrance. Turn left outside the entrance and take the third street on the right and shop is located a few yards along on the left.
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Carstairs general view map
Carstairs close up map
Windows Local Live Link
- image quality may vary
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Railway Gen Group
The best point on the station for photography of southbound trains is on platform 1, a few yards behind the stairs. You can also get fairly good shots of south bounds from the south end of the platform although the whole train may not be included in the photo due to the proximity of the ticket office building. Minus point is that you will have the platform edge included in the first location and at the second location you will have the platform edge as well as the station lighting included. Mostly all south bounds go through platform 1, although very occasionally some route via the down fast in which case best spot is near the stairs on platform 2.
Northbound traffic photography is best taken from the south end of the station and you can get good shots of the trains snaking in round the S bends from the Edinburgh branch.
Photography from the Glasgow end of the platform is not recommended as the platform is very narrow there and there is too much metal in the way i.e. signal posts and OHLE stanchions.
Away from the ends of the platforms it is just a case of finding a spot between the stanchions as they are really a pain when it comes to photographing the very fast trains.
General views - All photographs © John Bennett unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking north east
A southbound coal train, from Ravenstruther, heads towards the station.See note on fig 7
Fig 2 - Looking south west
On the north side of the station is a large retaining wall, southbound through trains avoid the station on this side with loops for holding traffic to the far side.
Fig 3 - Looking north east
A shot from the south end of the platform looking north, note the curve of the platform.
Fig 4 - Looking south east - Photo by Ewan Tait
A GNER service comes from the Edinburgh branch.
Fig 5 - Looking south east - Photo by Ewan Tait
A southbound Freightliner heads towards Carstairs South Junction.
Fig 6 - Looking south east - Photo by Ewan Tait
The thunderbird and on track plant stabling point to the south of the station.
Fig 7 - Looking north
As mentioned above the view from the north end of the platform is somwhat marred by OLE masts and uprights. Fig 1 was taken at the very end of the platform angled to avoid the signal post.
Fig 8 - Looking north
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