The Glasgow Subway - A History Part 2 (1978-Present)

Post Modernisation

125+xxx+118 at Partick125+xxx+118 at PartickGlasgow Subway's SPT Orange and Grey liveried Metro Cammell built car 125 is seen at the front of a 3 car formation at Partick with 118 at the rear of an Inner circle service on diagram 13. 2.10.21 The far reaching modernisation of the system meant a completely revamped depot with the original buildings becoming stabling sheds and a new maintenance building being constructed.   A train wash was installed in the yard, which had a track fan and access tracks down to both circles with turnout chambers constructed near to the original lifting pit, which became obsolete and covered over.   It wasn't just the depot that was modernised, the stations were also treated to total modernisation with 14 stations being worked on and a new station constructed to replace one of the original stations.   12 of the surface buildings demolished and rebuilt or were relocated into new buildings.   St Enoch and Buchanan Street stations were rebuilt without surface buildings, only escalators and stairs down to newly built underground ticket halls.   

The original Subway entrance building at St Enoch was retained and was jacked up on a concrete platform and moved a few metres to allow the chamber for the new station to be excavated and built around it. The original station building is no longer connected to the station and after time as a Tourist Information office and is now a Cafe Nero.  The only stations to keep their original entrance buildings were Cessnock and Kelvinhall, which are built into existing tenament buildings that were being retained.   On reopening, Partick Cross was renamed Kelvinhall, Copeland Road was renamed Ibrox and Govan Cross was renamed to Govan.

The refurbishment of the stations included the fitting of escalators down to platform level at St Enoch, Govan and Partick and down to ticket hall level at St Enoch, Buchanan Street and from the bridge over the River Kelvin to down to the station building at Kelvinbridge station.

118+201+125 and 131+208+110 at West Street118+201+125 and 131+208+110 at West StreetScottish Power advert liveried set 118+201+125 depart West Street with an inner circle service as 131+208+110 arrive with an outer circle service 20.9.22 The station chambers themselves became a mix of the more traditional narrow island platforms at most stations (Kelvinhall, Kelvinbridge, St Georges Cross, Cowcaddens, Bridge Street, West Street, Shields Road, Kinning Park and Cessnock), with the busier stations of Buchanan St, Ibrox and Hillhead having a combination of side platform and centre platform while St Enoch, Govan and Partick have a pair of side platforms to ease congestion.   When the original system closed, Merkland Street station was consigned to history with a new station, Partick opening a short distance away from the original.   The opening of Partick station allowed for side platforms to be built and allowed the new station to be built as an interchange with the newly relocated and rebuilt Partick BR station.   The platform chamber of the old Merkland station can be seen / heard just after leaving or just before arriving at partick from Kelvinhall.   The stations that were still in their original station chambers with island platforms were totally enclosed with any glass ceilings enclosed and panelled over.

For the opening of the modernised system, new trains were required to operate the services.   A fleet of 33 driving motors was built by Metro Cammell in Birmingham and began to be delivered from 1978 to allow for testing and driver training to commence, initially on a test track above ground and later in the tunnels.   The new trains were usually marshalled into 2 car sets with some workings made up into 3 car sets with the centre cars having their motors isolated and used as a trailer.   The new cars were set up with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) which allowed the trains to effectively drive themselves in the tunnels, with the driver only needing to press a button to start the train.   The trains were only operated in manual mode on the surface, around depot and on entering and leaving the tunnels.  The original livery was all over orange with 'GG' (Greater Glasgow) logos below the drivers cabs and a white band below the windows for the passenger saloons , this was replaced from the mid 1980's with the Strathclyde Transport 'red' livery with black window surrounds.   The first car to arrive in Glasgow was no 101, which was displayed on the back of a low loader from 12th-25th June 1977.  No 103 was the first to be delivered to Broomloan depot, arriving on 12th January 1978 and being hauled up and down the test track by a battery loco on 19th January 1978.   107 was placed on display at a Strathclyde Transport open day on 16th April 1978.

Royal opening

The modernised underground was formally inagurated on 1st November 1979 by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II despite work to complete the modernisation still being underway and issues with the emergency tunnel telephone system and the ATO system on board the trains causing training to be curtailed.  Her Majesty was transported from Buchanan Street to St Enoch via the Outer Circle on board cars 132 and 133.   Cars 132 and 133 were chosen as they had recently been delivered thus their paint work was clean and they didn't have wheelflats unlike some of the others that had been used for training.       

Public Opening

Preparations for opening ramped up during early 1980 with shadow running starting on 10th March 1980.  The shadow service ran from 6.30am - 7pm Monday - Saturday and used 6 x 2 car trains per circle during peaks and 4 x 2 car trains per circle off peak.

The Modernised system opened to the public on 16th April 1980, with the first passenger service departing from Govan on the Outer Circle at 6.30am.   28,000 passengers used the Underground on the first day of reopening, with an unexpected rush at lunch time as city centre workers decided to have a hurl during their lunch breaks! School finishing time was also busy as school children decided to have a hurl round the system before going home!   For the first few months, the service operated from 6.30am- 7pm as per the shadow timetable but with 5 trains per circle used on a Saturday afternoon, rather than 4.

The modernised underground settled down with relatively few incidents over the following months, with the most notable incident being car 104 derailing on the points in the turn out chamber when returning to depot from the Outer Circle at the end of service on 4th June 1980.   104 was soon rerailed and the service ran as normal the following day.

From Monday 29th September 1980, the service was extended from 7pm until 10.45pm with 3 trains per circle used from 7pm onwards.   In some of the peak journeys it was discovered that the trains were so busy that passengers were being left behind.  It was not possible to add more trains into the system so it was decided to make some up from 2 cars to 3 cars.   The first 3 car trains went into service on 4th November 1980 with 2 trains per circle being made up to 3 cars.   The use of 3 car trains meant the use of a met cam power car in the centre of the train with it's motors isolated but with braking still live to ensure that there wasn't a power overload.  

On Monday 30th March 1981, the 10,000,000th passenger was carried on the refurbished line.  The first full service use of 3 car trains was on 1st June 1982, when Pope John II held an open air mass in Bellahouston Park.  The service was formed of 5 x 3 car trains per circle to help take the crowds to and from the event, with 69,500 passengers carried.  

Also during 1981 the first change to the livery occured when some of the fleet received brown roofs and door edges with the main body being repainted in a darker shade of orange than the original due to staining occuring from leaks and drips of all sorts in the tunnels.   The livery was once again updated in 1983 when the brown was replaced with black and the Strathclyde 'Red' was adopted and 'Strathclyde Transport' logos added.   The passenger cars also received a black band around them.

New Trailer vehicles

During the late 1980s, it was decided that to allow more passengers to be carried, that the majority of trains should be three cars long.   This would require 36 cars for the full service, however, there were only 33 cars at this point so more were needed.   Rather than ordering more power cars, it was decided that trailers would be just as suitable.   Hunslet won the contract to build 8 trailers in 1989.   On the outside they were of a similar shape to the Met Cam power cars but without driving cabs, which allowed for 4 extra seats in the interior.   Hunslet built the body shells at their Leeds factory, transferring north to their Barclay works in Kilmarnock for fitting out, painting and commissioning.   The trailers, numbered 201-208, were delivered to Broomloan Depot between April and August 1992.

After commisioning and test running, which involved bedding in the brakes, and involved running a 5 car set consisting of 3 power cars and 2 trailers to allow 2 trailers to be prepared at a time, the trailers were ready to enter service, with five of them entering service between October and November 1992 (26th October was the first day that a trailer was used in public service) and the remaining 3 in December 1992.   This allowed up to 8 of the trains to be formed with trailers as the centre cars, the remainder, as before used a third Met Cam car acting as a trailer in the centre and most workings became operated by 3 car trains.

Once the trailers were in service, the Met Cam power cars were given a major overhaul at ABB in Derby between 1993 & 1995.   This involved a strip down of all the exterior panels, some corrosion repairs, new interior panelling, new flooring and new seating moquette and doors closing bleepers installed.   Four vehicles were away for refurbishment at a time, starting with 107 and the last car returned was 110. 

101 at Buchanan Street101 at Buchanan StreetWearing heritage Glasgow District Subway Maroon and Cream livery and temporarily renumbered 55, Metro Cammell driving car 101 is seen in the centre of a 3 car formation on an Inner Circle service on diagram 14 2.10.21 Heavy rain on 10th and 11th December 1994 had caused flooding in the Kelvinbridge area with Kelvinbridge, St Georges Cross and Cowcaddens stations being closed on 12th and 13th December. Temporary shuttle services were put in place between Ibrox and Buchanan Street and from Govan to Kelvinhall, with the Inner Circle fully reopening on the 14th and Outer on the 16th with speed restrictions in place.

In 1996, the Underground celebrated it's centenary and to celebrate, former first generation gripper / motor 55, which was retained in store in the depot, was given a cosmetic restoration and put on display outside St Enoch station on 14th December 1996.   Unfortunately, it was unable to be taken into the tunnels due to clearances.   Meanwhile Metro Cammell Power Cars 122 and 127 were repainted into a representation of the Glasgow Subway livery carried on the original stock back in 1896.  

From around 1997, when Strathclyde Transport became Strathclyde Passenger Transport, the livery was changed again to a version of the SPT Carmine and Cream livery.     In 2003, SPT took the decision to change the name from Underground back to Subway.   Despite having changed the name to Underground back in the 1930s, the name never really took off with the public, who still called it the Subway so it made sense to change it back and also acknowledge the system's history at the same time.   

130+207+113 at Govan130+207+113 at GovanSubway 120 liveried Metro Cammell Power Car 130 and SPT Orange, Gray and White liveried Hunslet trailer 207 and Metro Cammell Power Car 113 pause at Govan with an Inner Circle service on diagram 12 1.4.22 By the late 2000s, the stations were beginning to become tired and dated so a refurbishment project was planned and was carried out on all the stations to modernise them, with brighter lighting and each station having its own unique colour scheme.   Around the same time as the stations were being refurbished, there was a change of livery once again with the rather busy looking Carmine and Cream livery giving way to the Orange, white and grey livery, currently carried by the majority of the 2nd Generation stock.  

To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Subway in 2016, Power Car 101 was reliveried into the same representation of the Glasgow District Subway livery carried by the original fleet back in 1896 that was carried by cars 122 and 127 in 1996.   As well as car 101's relivery, Power Car 130 was repainted into a special livery to celebrate the anniversary.   Power Car 122 was withdrawn from service in 2017 and was scrapped, but not before donating parts to keep the remaining 32 Met Camm cars in service.

Advertising liveries

Since the late 1990s, some of the Met Cam and Barclay fleet have carried all over adverts, including:

  • A 3 car set advertising Call of Duty
  • A 3 car set advertising the Setanta TV Channel
  • A 3 car set advertising O2
  • A 3 car set advertising Morgans Spiced Rum
  • Trailer car 203 advertising Clyde 1 and Clyde 2
  • A trailer car advertising the bid for the 2014 Commonwealth Games
  • A 3 car set advertising Scottish Power/ COP 26
  • A 3 car set advertising SPT's Net Zero Comittment

New Trains

New Glasgow Subway CarNew Glasgow Subway CarOne half of one of Glasgow Subway's 17 new Stadler built Metro trains seen on the rear of a low loader at Hamilton Services on the Northbound M74, enroute to Broomloan Depot from Altenrheim in Switzerland. Once fully in service, these trains will eventually operate in Driverless mode 24.4.22 In 2016, SPT signed a contract with Stadler for the building of 17 new 4 car trains, which are being delivered to Broomloan Depot from Altenrheim in Switzerland by low loader and ferry.   The delivery of the new trains by low loader often involved a long layover at Hamilton Services on the M74, where it was possible to get a few photos of them.   The new trains will replace the 1970s built Metro Cammell Motor Cars and 1992 built Barclay trailers which are currently used on the system.

The new trains are made up of 2 longer outer cars with 2 shorter centre cars and should be the same size as the trains they are replacing, with the added advantages of being fully accessible and each vehicle being interconnected, which is not the case just now.  

Once fully in service and a new signalling system is commisioned with the stations being adapted to have platform screen doors, where the screen doors line up with the train doors and open and close at the same time as the train doors, the new trains will eventually operate in Driverless mode. It is also expected that there will be a more frequent service with more trains per circle possible and that opening hours can be extended, particularly on Sundays, where the service currently ends at 6pm.

Entry to service for the new trains began on 11th December 2023, with numbers 302 and 306 entering service on the Outer circle during mid mornings and initially running on consecutive diagrams to allow them to couple up and rescue the other in the event of a failure.   However it was realised that when the units came out of service, it left a large gap between trains while the service was reformed so they are now spread out more!   Unit 301 entered service in January 2024 and 303 entered service during February 2024, allowing two trains to operate on each circle at a time, mainly a few hours in the mornings and back out again in the afternoons. 304, 305 & 307 entered service during March and 308 & 309 entered service in April, with 310, 311 & 312 entering service in late May - early June  meaning 12 sets are now available for service.  All of the 17 Stadler units have been delivered to Broomloan depot and are in various stages of commissioning or are in service.  

With the introduction of the Stadler trains in progress, the withdrawal of the Met Cam motors and Barclay trailers has commenced, with at least 8 vehicles (possibly more) already withdrawn.   Met Cam motors 115, 127 and 131 were officially withdrawn in early March 2024, having been sidelined for months with various faults.   They were joined by Barclay trailer 208 and Met Cam motors 102, 109, 114 and 123, which were shunted from the main Broomloan depot complex, up the test track to the Stadler testing and commissioning facilities at Edminston Drive awaiting their fate before being taken by low loader to the S Norton Scrapyard at King George V docks for scrapping. 

128 at Riverside Museum128 at Riverside MuseumMet Cam Power Car 128 is seen on display in it's new home at Riverside Museum, Glasgow 14.6.24 More Met Cam and Barclay trailers were withdrawn in June 2024 including Trailer 205 and Motors 104, 113 and 116, the remainder were unidentifible.  

Preservation of Car 128

After operating on the Inner Circle on diagram 12 as the rear part of a 3 car formation consisting of 111 (leading), 107 (centre) and 128 (rear) on Monday 10th June, Met Cam Motor 128 was withdrawn from service and was thoroughly cleaned in preparation for its imminent transfer into preservation.   Having been selected as it was in the best condition of the remaining Met Cam motor cars, 128 was loaded onto a low loader on Thursday 13th June and transferred from Broomloan depot, its home of 44 years, to its new home: Glasgow Riverside Museum where it is to be preserved and put on display as a static exhibit!  

128 was available for public display from Friday 14th June.

 

Generation 2: Met Cam and Barclay Fleet List

Number Vehicle Type Built by Entered Service Current Livery Status Notes
101 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 Download Railway Guardian all over advert livery In Service  
102 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 03.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
103 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
104 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Net Zero Commitment livery withdrawn 06.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive
105 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
106 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
107 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
108 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 03.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
109 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 03.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
110 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
111 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
112 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
113 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 06.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive
114 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 03.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
115 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 27.3.23 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
116 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 06.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive
117 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
118 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 Scottish Power / COP 26 advert livery In Service  
119 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
120 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
121 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
122 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 N/A Scrapped Withdrawn 2015 and scrapped circa 2017 to provide spare parts for other vehicles
123 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery withdrawn 3.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
124 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
125 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 Scottish Power / COP 26 advert livery In Service  
126 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
127 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 18.6.23 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
128 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 10.6.24 Preserved and on display at the Riverside Museum, delivered 13th June 2024.
129 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
130 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 Glasgow Subway 1896-2016 120 years  All over Grey livery with orange doors In Service  
131 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 4.8.23 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan
132 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Net Zero Commitment livery In Service Used for the Inaugaration of the new system by the Queen 1.11.79
133 Motor Car Metro Cammell 1980 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service Used for the Inaugaration of the new system by the Queen 1.11.79
201 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 Scottish Power / COP 26 advert livery In Service  
202 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
203 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
204 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Net Zero Commitment livery In Service  
205 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery withdrawn 06.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive
206 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
207 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery In Service  
208 Trailer Hunslet Barclay 1992 SPT Orange, Grey and White livery Withdrawn 03.24 Stored in Stadler Compound, Edmiston Drive till 12th April when moved to S Norton Scrapyard, KGV Docks, Govan

Engineering Fleet

Number Type Entered Service Notes
L2 Locomotive 1978 Clayton 4 Wheel Battery Locomotive
L3 Locomotive 1978 Clayton 4 Wheel Battery Locomotive
L4 Locomotive 1978 Taylor Woodrow 4 Wheel Battery Locomotive
W2 Wagon 1983 Rail Transporter Wagon
W16 Wagon 1978 Cable Laying Wagon
W20 Wagon 1983 Rail Transporter Wagon
W57 Wagon 1978 Cable Laying Wagon
W5 Wagon 1992 4 Wheel Flat Wagon

Generation 3: Stadler Fleet List

Number Vehicle Type Built by Entered Service Current Livery Status Notes
301 Unit Stadler 2024 White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service Feb 2024
302 Unit Stadler 2023 White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service 11.12.23
303 Unit Stadler 2024 White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service Feb 2024
304 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service March 2024
305 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service March 2024
306 Unit Stadler 2023 White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service 11.12.23
307 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service March 2024
308 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service April 2024
309 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service April 2024
310 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service April 2024
311 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service June 2024
312 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors in service entered service June 2024
313 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors not entered service yet In Stadler compound at end of the test track
314 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors not entered service yet  
315 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors not entered service yet In Stadler compound at end of the test track
316 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors not entered service yet  
317 Unit Stadler   White with black window surrounds & cab ends and orange doors not entered service yet  

   

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