The Subway is the world's third oldest underground railway, after London and Budapest, opening on 14 December 1896. 120 years on and the Subway carries 13 million passengers per year, but let’s take a look back to when it all began.
During the 19th century Glasgow had seen spectacular population growth. It now became a priority to move people about the city for work so demand grew for a public transport system that was quick, good value and accessible to all.
The Subway was originally built for the Glasgow District Subway Company and operated as a cable-hauled system. The people of Glasgow were in awe as it was the first of its type in the world with propulsion provided by stationary steam engines.
In 1923, the Subway passed into the hands of Glasgow Corporation Transport Department, and in the following decade was converted to electric traction, introducing a third live rail for the purpose.
The Subway ran with little further change until 1977 when the new operators, Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive, closed it for major modernisation investment. Three years later and the Subway in its present form reopened for operation on 16 April 1980.
Now part of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), the Subway is currently undergoing a major £288 million modernisation programme. This will see new trains and a new signalling system in place over the next five years, completely transforming the whole system.