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New Subway Proposals for City 2007-03-14

Posted by clype in Gizmo, Glasgow, Scotland.

Proposals to modernise and extend Glasgow’s subway at an estimated cost of about 2 500 million GBP have been announced.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport‘ (‘SPT’) wants to ‘transform’ the current system and create a second loop serving the east end of Glasgow. ‘SPT’ chairman Mr.Alistair Watson said:

‘I believe it is imperative the subway is modernised and extended eastwards.’

Funding would need to be secured for the vision, which ‘SPT’ said could take between 10 and 15 years to realise.

The ‘SPT’ chairman said it would be a challenge to have the projects completed by 2014 — when Glasgow hopes to host ‘The Commonwealth Games‘.


‘SPT’ said the subway could be modernised at an estimated cost of 270 million GBP which would involve new trains and enhanced stations.

Eastward Extension

The eastward extension would be a new circular route in the east end, interchanging with the existing subway at ‘Bridge St’, ‘St.Enoch’ and’ Buchanan St’.

Proposed stations:

  • ‘St.Mungo’s’
  • ‘Onslow’
  • ‘Duke St’
  • ‘Celtic Pk’
  • ‘Dalmarnock’
  • ‘Newhall’

This would cost an estimated 2 300 million GBP, which SPT described as a ‘huge cost’ which would need to be looked at.

Further Extension

This option is to be investigated further alongside extending the system to ‘Maryhill’ and ‘The Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre‘ (‘The SECC’). The ‘SPT’ chairman said:

‘If Glasgow aspires to become a major European city then we need ambition to create a world-class transport system to match that.’

The ‘SPT’ chief executive Mr.Ron Culley added:

‘We need to face the facts that the current system is fraying at the edges.

‘These proposals contain bold visions.’

The organisation plans to approach ‘The Scottish Executive‘, ‘Glasgow City‘ and possibly developers with a view to funding the projects. The Leader of Glasgow City Mr.Steven Purcell said:

‘It’s vital that “SPT” and “The Scottish Executive” get together — to make sure funding can be found for these ambitious plans.

‘Glasgow City Council will offer any assistance it can to achieve this.’

A 300 million GBP revamp for Scotland’s only underground railway will be unveiled this month.

Transport chiefs say Glasgow’s subway, which was the third in the world when it opened in 1886, is in need of major work.

Improvements could mean the system may run beyond its current closing time of 23.30 — and be extended beyond its current route.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport chairman Councillor Mr.Alistair Watson said yesterday they would reveal their blueprint later this month.He added:

‘Our plans will be the most ambitious investment in transport infrastructure this country has ever seen.’

The hope is that a modernised system would need less upkeep, which would cut costs and eliminate the need for constant maintenance work. ‘SPT’ Chief Executive Mr.Ron Culley said:

‘Glasgow’s subway is the third oldest in the world — and it’s showing its age.

‘It is “creaking at the seams” and needs considerable investment for it to continue to serve the people of Glasgow.

‘At the moment, the subway has to close — when it does each night — simply to allow our maintenance teams to carry out the work needed to allow it to re-open the following morning.

‘Our plans could change that — and give Glasgow the network it deserves for the 21st century.’

Any extension is likely to be eastward and into other parts of the city centre, using old rail tunnels and new excavation work.

But it is likely to depend on Glasgow’s bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games succeeding.

The subway’s last major upgrade began in 1977 and it reopened in its present form in 1980.

It still uses the tunnels and stations first constructed in Victorian times.

Other innovations being looked at include fitting wi-fi technology in the network to allow mobile phone and internet use on the trains. The ‘SPT’ chairman added:

‘My vision is that Glasgow is now pitching itself at” the premier league” of European cities.

‘We need a 21st century transport network — and I think an up-to-date subway system is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of moving large numbers of people about quickly and efficiently.

‘We can also look at expanding the network for the very first time; everyone at SPT is up for the challenge.’

The blueprint for the subway’s future will follow the findings of a study due by the end of this month by engineers WS Atkins on possible station refurbishment and rolling-stock improvements.

Glasgow’s 110-year-old Subway could be doubled in size, with an extension to Celtic Park, under plans due to be unveiled today.

A second loop would circle through the east of the city, serving seven new stations and sharing three of the stations on the existing line. Another option could see the current line extended to the West End.

Officials have advised Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), which runs the subway, to order further work on the plans to modernise the system.

Rail experts backed the proposals as key for regenerating the east end of Glasgow, but opposition councillors said the existing system should be completely overhauled first.

Schemes for extending the subway have been discussed for decades, with an eastern loop similar to the latest plans being considered back in the 1930s.

However, the track is narrower and the trains are smaller than on the rest of the rail network. Any extension is likely to be on standard gauge so it could be closer linked with rail.

A network of disused railway tunnels could be used for part of the new eastern route, including one that runs yards from the entrance to Celtic Park.

The new eastern loop would run parallel with the current system under the city centre, with interchange stations at Buchanan St, St.Enoch and Bridge St in the Gorbals.

The second circle would then branch off to the south-east, via a new, second Gorbals station; and others at ‘Newhall’, near Rutherglen Bridge; Dalmarnock, Celtic Park, Duke Street, Onslow in Dennistoun and St Mungo’s, close to Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The stops at Dalmarnock and Duke Street would be railway interchanges with suburban line stations.

To the west, the Subway could be extended from the existing Kelvinbridge station, again using old tunnels. A spur could run south to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, which is already on the rail network, and north to Maryhill, which is also on a rail line.

A further extension could run west from Govan to Renfrew and Paisley, but this is more likely to be a tram line or rapid busway.

The extension options follow ‘SPT’ ordering a long-term development strategy last year that provided ‘an effective transport system for the subway catchment and dispersal area which dovetails with and complements the overall transport network, meeting current and future (10/30 years) transport needs’.

The strategy rejected other options, including closing the subway, or replacing it with buses or trams.

However, it has yet to specify how extensive upgrading of the existing circle should be, from ‘do minimum’ to ‘full modernisation’.

Mr.Iain Docherty, a transport expert and senior lecturer at ‘The University of Glasgow Business School‘, said the plans were not before time.He said:

‘A similar eastern circle was proposed in the 1930s. This is precisely the kind of thing we should be doing if we are serious about improving the competitiveness and regeneration of the east end of Glasgow.’

Dr.Docherty said subways were not necessarily more expensive than trams, and could carry more people — and faster.

However, Mr.John Mason, an ‘SPT’ member and leader of the opposition ‘Scottish National Party’ group on Glasgow City Council, said a full-scale overhaul of the existing system should be the priority.He said:

‘Ideally, we would replace the trains and tunnels so the subway would become a full-scale metro and we could buy trains off the shelf rather than have to have them specially made, which has proved so expensive.’

New impetus has come from Glasgow’s bid for the Commonwealth Games in 2014, which would be centred on the east end of the city.

City’s Unique Rail System

Glasgow joined only London and Budapest in boasting a subway when the six-mile circle opened in January 1897.

Railway lines already crossed the city centre in long tunnels, but ‘The Glasgow District Subway’ was conceived to tackle mounting congestion, and included the first tunnel under the Clyde.

The 15-station Subway was originally cabled hauled — the only one of its type in the world — before being electrified in 1935.

It was renamed ‘The Underground’ the following year, and closed for complete modernisation in 1977, to be reopened in 1980.

The system has latterly reverted to its original name, and officials say locals have never used ‘The Clockwork Orange’ nickname often referred to by the media.

The Clockwork Orange name has become less relevant since the orange trains have reverted to SPT’s carmine red and cream livery.

The Subway’s small-size trains reflect the system’s unique 4ft track gauge, compared to 4ft 8.5 in for the rest of the UK rail network.

The system links the city centre with the West End, Govan, Ibrox and the Gorbals, and carries 13 million passengers a year, with a staff of 370.

The trains are nearly fully automated, with drivers checking doors and starting off from stations, but propulsion and braking are centrally controlled.



1. eric - 2009-07-27

GLASGOW SUBWAY IS BRILLIANT IT DOES NEED EXPANDING ,maybe in a light rail format to east end the city has lots of disused tunnels and lines any city would die for.

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