Behind-the-scenes tours of Glasgow Central Station begin

glasgow central station
Image caption The tours will help pay for further improvements to 135-year-old Glasgow Central Station

Behind-the-scenes tours of Scotland's busiest train station have been launched.

The tours allow fans to scale Glasgow Central Station's glass roof and see the site of what was a Victorian village buried underground.

Tickets are £10 per person, with profits covering staff costs and improvements to the 135-year-old station.

The 90-minute tours will run three days a week, usually at weekends.

The move follows the overwhelming success in summer 2013 of a Doors Open Day, which allowed the public on the station's roof for the first time.

The limited number of tours sold out almost immediately and plans were drawn up to run more extensive tours on a permanent basis, with an initial start date of January this year.

Image caption The tours will take in the station's historic glass roof area and allow people to see what remains of its abandoned underground village

However, a £2m series of renovations to the building's toilets and entrances at the beginning of the year, followed by the unprecedented surge in passengers during the Commonwealth Games, forced station managers to push back the project.

More recently, delays in completing the booking website for customers prevented the tours from getting under way by the start of November.

Network Rail, which owns the station, said the tours would explore "everywhere from the top of the glass roof - the largest in the world, with 48,000 panes of glass compared to Edinburgh Waverley's 17,000 - to the old steam engine boiler rooms and derelict tunnels in the basement".

Visitors will climb 90 steps and walk across catwalks above the station concourse to access the giant roof area.

At its highest point, the roof stands 40ft above the concourse.

Victorian streets

It was completely renewed in 1998 as part of an £80m station renovation.

Once on the roof, visitors will be able to enjoy panoramic views across the River Clyde and city skyline.

From there, tourists will descend winding stairwells to see what remains of the Victorian streets of Grahamston village, which once bustled with shops and activity before the station was built over the top of it in 1879.

Ross Moran, the station's manager, said: "Central Station has played a vital role in the social and economic life of the city for 135 years and we are looking forward to being able to share the sights and stories of the station with the public.

"Previous events at the station, such as last year's Doors Open Day, have shown there is huge interest in the history of the building. The new tours will help bring that history to life, while also raising funds that can be reinvested in Scotland's biggest and busiest station."

More than 38m people a year use Glasgow Central, with about 1,500 train services a day arriving and departing from its 17 platforms.

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