by Jeremy Watson
Dumbarton Central Station was built in the heyday of rail travel when stations were built to reflect this with grandeur and ample passenger facilities.
These days most stations are little more than arrival and departure points.
But some, such as Dumbarton Central Station, do retain remnants of that era of grandeur.
Dumbarton Stations Improvement Trust (DSIT) was established to improve local stations left to decay as rail travel lost its appeal.
Many people may remember the grand stairs, ornately panelled ticket office and customer facilities in the lower level.
They are still there although deteriorating badly after the ground floor was abandoned decades ago.
And at the upper platform level the ornate buildings remain.
DSIT believe the station relates directly to the image of the area, as the gateway to Dumbarton, Loch Lomond and the West Highlands beyond.
It forms a vital part of the designated Dumbarton Town Centre Conservation Area and is the key to connecting pedestrian and cycle routes to the town centre.
Cosmetic repairs have been done over the years, but never strategic conservation processes, and structural integrity is of great concern to DSIT.
With funding from West Dunbartonshire Council, DSIT commissioned a two-volume Conservation Management Plan for the station.
This was carried out by a group of architectural, conservation and engineering specialists.
The lead architect’s formal report can be found on West Dunbartonshire Council’s website.
Preserving the station’s status is complex and challenging and DSIT are looking for more members to help liaise with Network Rail, West Dunbartonshire Council and other key people and bodies.
If you are interested in promoting Dumbarton or are interested in railway heritage and historic buildings or even the future of railways in this area, perhaps accessibility challenges at our stations, DSIT would love to hear from you.
Contact the group via the Comments page on Explore West Dunbartonshire www.spanglefish.com/explorewestdunbartonshire/feedback.asp
You can find more information on Dumbarton Central Station on the same website – www.spanglefish.com