£10m+ investment

1,000 jobs pledge as historic St Rollox depot reopens

New owners: Fraser and Dougie Gibson

A historic rail depot is reopening under new owners with a promise of work for 1,000 over the next five years.

Gibson’s Engineering has taken over the St Rollox yard in Springburn, Glasgow, where it will continue to service the industry, building trains and maintaining fleets.

Known locally as ‘The Caley’, the site  is the largest  manufacturing, maintenance and repair rail depot in Scotland, and the second largest in the UK. 

It closed in 2019 and was acquired two years later by businessman David Moulsdale, owner of optometrist chain Optical Express, who has led a £10 million investment.

Its re-opening in association with Gibson’s Engineering will create jobs for engineers, coachbuilders, project managers and apprentices, with a target workforce of 5,000 over the next 10 years, though sceptics say achieving such a figure looks hugely optimistic.

St Rollox intends to have a fully-electrified rail line from its buildings to the mainline, between Glasgow and Edinburgh, and will be the only active wheel-shop facility in Scotland. 

Gibson’s Engineering is led by father and son Dougie and Fraser Gibson.

Fraser Gibson who is managing director, said: “This is fantastic news for Scotland, which has a proud heritage and tradition of rail manufacturing, maintenance and repair.

“It’s full steam ahead and Dougie and I are excited to work with our team to get the facility fully operational, and to get ‘The Caley’ thriving again, as it did for over 160 years previously.” 

St Rollox depot which will be revived

Mr Moulsdale said: “I was born and raised just three miles from ‘The Caley’. I vividly recall the enormous impact this unique engineering powerhouse had on me, and on the Greater Glasgow and broader Scottish community. 

“I’m extremely confident that our ambition to see significantly larger-scale employment of engineers, coachbuilders, project managers and apprentices in the North of Glasgow will come to fruition. Together with Gibson’s Engineering and the local community, we are breathing new life into ‘The Caley’ and the Scottish economy.” 

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, principal of the University of Strathclyde and president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Engineering, technology and an entrepreneurial spirit serve as the foundation of Scotland’s innovation and progress, and have done so for centuries.

“Glasgow and the West of Scotland at large are going through an engineering renaissance in several areas including manufacturing, energy, aerospace and many others.

“This enhances the opportunity for Gibson’s Engineering to influence the industrial landscape and further propel advancements in railway engineering while also helping to preserve Scotland’s rich heritage. I commend David Moulsdale and the Gibsons for their vision and commitment to drive this pioneering project.” 

Scottish three-time Formula One world champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, gave the depot’s reopening his blessing. He  said: “Growing up close to Glasgow, I was always proud of the city’s reputation for engineering expertise, and the Caley was at the forefront of that.

“By reopening the site, David Moulsdale and the team at Gibson’s Engineering are breathing new life into Scotland’s train manufacturing sector. I wish them all the best in this new venture, as it builds from strength to strength.” 

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