The Glasgow Subway
The word "System" perhaps suggests an elaborate layout of tracks, intersections and stations; there are, in fact, only two tracks which form concentric 10.4Km "circles", imaginatively named the Outer Circle, which runs clockwise through each of the fifteen stations and the Inner circle which runs anti-clockwise through each of the fifteen stations. The trains were originally cable hauled by means of a steam engine which was located between West Street and Shields Road. The system was eventually electrified in 1935.
Originally, all stations had single island platforms which served both circles. Buchanan Street, Partick, Govan, Ibrox, Hillhead, and St Enoch stations were modified to add a second platform during the major late 1970s renovation.
Partick station only came into existence following the 1970s renovation when it replaced the nearby Merkland Street station. The new station offered a better connection to the North Clyde main line services. Traces of Merkland Street station can still be seen in the form of an enlarged tunnel bore, but the platforms have been removed. Some of the furniture and fittings from Merkland Street were used to create the "Kelvin Street" display at the Museum of Transport (since replaced by Riverside Museum).
Of course, being Glasgow, it is rarely referred to as "The Underground", locals preferring to call it "The Subway" or "The Shooglies". The name subway is self evident. To "shoogle" is to rock from side to side and if you have ever ridden on the Glasgow system you will appreciate this nickname.
It is occasionally referred to as "The Clockwork Orange" and there are a few theories as to how that name came about.
One theory is that it is named after the Stanley Kubrick film which was released in 1971, because the new trains on the refurbished system, which reopened in 1980 after a three year closure, were bright orange and ran like clockwork around the circles.
Another theory is that it is derived from a comment made by Malcolm Waugh (chairman of Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive) during a visit by Sir Peter Parker (Chairman of British Rail) to the construction works for the Argyle Line. According to Sir Peter's autobiography, at the partially built Partick interchange station there was a mock-up of a new subway train. Parker remarked to Waugh that "it's like a little clockwork train", to which Waugh, possibly alluding to a number of issues that had hampered the project, replied "Mair like a clockwork orange".
Regardless of how that nickname came about, the trains are certainly small in height and length in comparison with other systems and will probably appear toy-like and even claustrophobic to those more used to the London Underground. At four feet, the gauge is very uncommon and is due to the small tunnel size.
See the official Strathclyde Partnership for Transport website for more details of services and fares.
This Wikipedia article provides a great deal of information about the system.
A new orange and grey livery appeared to be being phased-in in late 2011.
Here is a photo of the pictorial map of the system which is on the exterior wall of West Street station.
There are two entrances to St Enoch station, both in St Enoch Square.
The platforms at St Enoch are one at each side, with the twin tracks in between.
There is an aluminium sculpture at the station (artist unknown) which contains many facts & figures about the underground system - if you look closely!
The above ground scene has changed considerably since 1961.
There are two platforms at Buchanan Street; an island serves the Inner Circle and a standard platform serves the Outer Circle.
A single island platform serves both circles at Cowcaddens.
on the fringes of the West End.
The station is served by a single island platform.
A single island platform serves both platforms at Kelvinbridge.
There are two platforms at Hillhead; an island serves the Inner Circle and a standard platform serves the Outer Circle.
Renovation work was under way in November 2011, continuing into 2012.
A single island platform serves both circles at Kelvinhall. In common with most stations, it can get pretty crowded when there is a football match at Ibrox.
There was a Glasgow Underground exhibit in the former Museum of Transport at the Kelvin Hall which depicted the fictitious Kelvin Street. That museum is now closed and a similar exhibit can now be found at the new Riverside Museum which opened in 2011.
The platforms at Partick are one at each side, with the twin tracks in between.
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