What we’re doing
Looking to the future
Take a look at the future of the Subway
In 2016, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) took a significant step forward in the Subway modernisation programme, unveiling the new trains planned following the award of contract.
Stadler Bussnang AG / Ansaldo STS Consortium, both world class leaders in rail, were awarded the £200 million contract to supply the new trains, signalling and equipment in March last year.
Due to the unique dimensions of the Subway, the 17 new trains will be the same length and size as the existing rolling stock, but will be a four-car set, as opposed to the current three-set.
Inside, the trains will have a radically different look and feel with more open space between carriages. Passengers will also have a new forward view through a new wide-screen window at the front of the train.
For the first time in its history, the Subway will be equipped with wheel chair spaces with wheelchair users able to access the system at St. Enoch in the City Centre and at Govan at the new transport interchange.
As well as the new trains, the Subway’s signalling equipment, control systems and control centre will all be replaced bringing improved availability and reliability to passengers.
The system will include new platform screen doors, which will be ‘half height’ to preserve as much space and openness within the stations as possible while still maintaining passenger safety and security.
Once the new full system is in place – trains, signalling, operational control centre, platform screen doors – and it has been fully tested, the Subway will move from its current partially automatic trains to Unattended Train Operations (UTO).
Glasgow Subway modernisation plan continues at a rapid pace. We have now completed 13 of our 15 stations including our two city centre flagship stations.
St Enoch Station with its two new glass canopies has undergone the most comprehensive transformation bringing new life to the historic St Enoch Square. This work has been recognised with a Scottish Transport Award for Excellence in Public Realm.
Buchanan Street Station has also undergone modernisation complete with new travelators – a very important link to Queen Street Station.
The largest station refurbishment was at Govan in 2016 with the redevelopment of Govan Interchange station – the £7million new-look Subway and Bus station now boasts a new Subway Station entrance complete with new “wave” design front and back of the station radically changing the look and feel of the old station. Moving from the Subway to the bus station is designed to be as seamless as possible. The new bus canopy extends to the front of the Subway entrance providing weather protection for passengers.
The new Interchange station also links to the Fastlink service and has been welcomed by local residents and passengers as a new focal point for Govan.
Cessnock Station was also complete in 2016.
Stations complete in 2018 include Shields Road and Bridge Street and those complete in 2019 to date include St George’s Cross and Cowcaddens.
These stations join Cessnock, Hillhead, Partick, Ibrox, and Kelvinhall as our completed refurbished stations.
Final works are now being completed on the last two stations to be modernised – Kinning Park, and West Street.
- The Glasgow Subway carries 13 million passengers each year, and is currently undergoing its biggest modernisation programme in more than 30 years.
- The full-scale upgrade will ensure that the highest quality of service is delivered to the 40,000 passengers who use the Subway every day.
- The Subway opened on 14 December 1896 and is the third oldest underground system in the world after London and Budapest.
- A £288 million funding package for the work is being supported by the Scottish Government and rebuilding work is happening right across the network.
New look stations and better accessibility
Improving safety, accessibility and customer service
We want our stations to offer a modern, welcoming environment for passengers.
Key improvements to accessibility, safety and information provision are being introduced.
There are tactile maps at key stations to assist those with visual impairment and all ticket offices have induction loops for customers with hearing difficulties.
Intuitive way finding has been introduced supplemented with specific signage at picture rail height with both written and icon graphics to assist non-English speakers and those with learning difficulties.
All station stairways have now got 30-point colour contrast stair nosings to assist passengers with visual impairment, and additionally, there are corduroy tactile strips at top and bottom of each staircase to assist visually impaired passengers locate stairs. We also have double height handrails, which are non-reflective and not “cold to touch” to assist passengers with mobility impairment and also for children.
This work has led to SPT becoming the first transport organisation in Scotland to have attained Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) accreditation for pan-disability, not just sight-related challenges.
Lifts have been installed at two stations – St Enoch and Govan – the first of their kind in the network and UK market leader Otis has now replaced all 28 escalators throughout the system.
Progress to date
- Eleven stations now modernised.
- New glass canopy installed at both entrances to St Enoch – the flagship city centre station.
- 28 out of 28 new escalators installed.
Improving tunnels, tracks and water management
The Subway’s essential tunnel linings work is now complete. This targeted and prioritised work was a mammoth logistical and technical task involving 150 people deployed to strengthen and modernise our original Victorian tunnels, using more than 175,000 bags of grout materials.
Over the last two years, engineers have cleaned and inspected 14,600m of tunnel and 14,000m of track bed and drainage channel inspected 2800m2 and carried out 3000m2 of grouting.
The major objectives of the project were all successfully achieved, this work has:
- Improved the structural integrity of the tunnel lining.
- Reduced the amount of water ingress into the Subway system.
- Improved the water management and movement.
- Improved the environment to identify any future defects more easily.
Given the proximity of the River Clyde to the Subway, our tunnels vary in depth between seven and 115 feet below the Clyde’s high water level – potential water ingress is continually monitored.
Innovative draining systems have been developed within the unique specifications of our Subway, too. When installed, this technology will automatically control and collect any unwanted water across the network.
A Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) team has been working with us to transform ingress water in the Subway into a sustainable heat source as part of a knowledge transfer partnership agreed with Caledonian University. As well as ways of recycling the water into the system, we are also looking at ways to recycle the air from the tunnels as another viable energy source for stations.
This work has been recognised with a Scottish Transport Award for the Contribution to Sustainable Transport for developing a Ground Water and Heat Source System on the Subway.
Bridge Street, Buchanan Street, Govan Interchange and Kelvinbridge are all heated from recycled air from the tunnel network using an Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP).
At St. George’s Cross Station, the station is heated using recycled water from the tunnel network using a Water Source Heat Pump (WSHP).
Progress to date
- A £16 million programme of tunnel improvements is now complete, this essential work is vital before we introduce the new trains on the system.
- Complete renewal of the Subway’s Ramps and Turnouts chambers.
- Traction power cable replacement now complete.
- Replaced all the tunnel pumping stations to modern standards providing the Subway with a modernised and reliable drainage system.
- Tunnel lining works complete.
- Installed new standard railway datum plates introducing a new and accurate measurement record for each tunnel and track section.
- Work begins at Broomloan Depot in preparation for new trains arriving, complete with new test track being developed.
Reusable electronic tickets
Major achievements have been achieved in our ticketing system in recent years. Working with Nevis Technologies we continue to forge ahead with the Smartcard ticketing system.
The Subway introduced reusable plastic Smartcards in autumn 2013 replacing paper magnetic strip tickets. Passengers can add credit and Subway travel products to their Smartcards at self-serve machines and station ticket offices across all 15 Subway stations.
As of April 2018, we have issued more than 161,000 Smartcards. Following the successful launch of online ticket sales for personalised Smartcard holders making it easier for our passengers to arrange and pay for travel. More than a quarter of all annual and six-month Subway season tickets are now purchased online.
We’re also continuing to work with other travel operators to develop more integrated travel options for commuters to make travelling by public transport easier, so we can offer real integrated ticketing options for passengers. In the future, your Subway Smartcard could be used seamlessly between different transport modes (such as bus, train and ferry) and even to buy other everyday items such as coffee and cake on your way to work.
The technology behind our Smartcard provides more flexible travel by offering customers the benefits of a contactless, paperless, system. A key aspect of the introduction of Smartcards is the need for the new technology to be ITSO-compliant (ITSO is the national specification, or industry standard, for Smart ticketing).
Progress to date
- More than 161,000 customers now using Smart technology to access the Subway.
- Smart Park and Ride implemented at Bridge Street, Shields Road and Kelvinbridge stations.
We aim to do as much work as possible at night when the Subway is closed but we may need longer for large projects when we must move in lots of heavy equipment. On Sunday – when there are fewer customers travelling and when the Subway shuts earlier – is often still the best time for us to work. It gives us a lot more uninterrupted hours for contractors to progress modernisation work.
New ways of working, including the latest engineering techniques, help as we try to keep disruption to a minimum. We will always ensure that customers are informed of any work which could impact on their day to day Subway journey.
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July 2011Work begins at Hillhead in Glasgow’s West End. Hillhead is the flagship station for the entire Modernisation project and includes a detailed public mural by renowned Scottish Artist Alasdair Gray.
January 2012Work to replace all 28 escalators on the system begins. A £5.6 million contract was awarded to Otis to replace existing escalators in place since the 1970s.
March 2012The Scottish Government pledge £246 million capital funding towards Subway Modernisation.
June 2012A £1.2 million upgrade is confirmed for Partick Station, a vital transport hub for the region connecting with rail and bus transport links.
September 2012Flagship station Hillhead is officially opened by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
October 2012Work at Partick Subway station begins. The Subway platform level is to be transformed reflecting the modern design in place at Hillhead.
December 2012Contracts for works at Kelvinhall and Ibrox are awarded. Both stations will be modernised in time for Glasgow 2014 given their immediate proximity to two key Games venues.
April 2013Partick station modernisation complete. Improvements include the replacement of all flooring, walls and ceilings; better signage and energy-efficient lighting.
May 2013Ibrox and Kelvinhall stations are next to undergo modernisation treatment with works now underway. Temporary entrances are built to keep disruption to a minimum during building work.
June 2013The installation of new ticket gates and ticket vending machines at stations begins as we prepare for the introduction of new smart 'tap in, tap out' style tickets.
October 2013The Subway Smartcard, a reusable ticket, is issued to customers. Passengers are invited to 'go smart' and register for a free, reusable card, which is set to revolutionise travel on Glasgow's Subway.
January 2014Ibrox station – the first in the south of Glasgow to be revamped – is officially opened by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Ms Sturgeon also tries out her own Subway Smartcard for the first time.
February 2014Construction begins at first city centre station. St. Enoch, the busiest station on the network, will also be the first to have a lift installed. Work in areas of the concourse and platform will be completed in advance of the Commonwealth Games.
March 201420,000 plus customers now signed up for Smartcard technology.
April 2014Kelvinhall station refurbishment complete. New ticket office; way-finding; hearing loops and tactile paving in place; and public art by Glasgow musician and artist Paul Buchanan.
May 2014Construction of new staff offices at the Subway depot in Govan begins. The offices offer modern open plan working facilities.
July 2014Phase one of St. Enoch station's £5.3 million renovation is complete. The city centre station which serves almost two million residents and visitors per year, has a brand new station office combined with a travel centre now in place.
August 2014SPT agrees contract with WGM to upgrade all 21 pumping stations in the Subway System.
September 2014Architects appointed to lead on designs for Bridge Street, Cessnock, Kelvinbridge and Shields Road stations.
October 2014New staff accommodation at Broomloan completed and staff relocated to new facility.
November 2014Street level escalators at St. Enoch installed using new methodology – minimising disruption time.
December 2014Installation of new glass canopy at St. Enoch Argyle Street entrance completed.
February 2015Contract awarded to renew the Subway’s Ramps and Turnouts, where trains access tunnels & cross between Inner and Outer Circles. Installed 40 years ago, it must be fully replaced to ensure the Subway for the future.
March 2015Work to upgrade 21 pumping stations in the Subway begins (replacing pumps, pipework & electrical control panels) so we have a modernised, reliable Subway tunnel drainage system.
May 2015Works begin at Buchanan Street Subway to modernise the station, including a new southern canopy to match the existing northern canopy.
June 2015Works begin at Govan Subway and Bus Station with extensive work to the station exterior and bus interchange designed to improve and enhance the customer experience.
June 2015£16 million programme of tunnel improvements begins to ensure the Subway’s 120-year-old tunnels remain fit for purpose. This is essential work prior to the delivery of new Rolling Stock.
August 2015Refurbishment of flagship city centre St. Enoch Subway Station completed including the installation of lifts.
October 2015More than 100,000 customers now using Smart technology to access the Subway.
Smart Park and Ride in place at Bridge Street, Shields Road and Kelvinbridge stations.