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What Subway modernisation means for you

Subway Modernisation

July 2011 will be remembered as a key date in the history of Glasgow’s 115-year-old Subway, according to SPT Chairman Jonathan Findlay.

Work at Hillhead Station, one of the busiest on the network, begins on Saturday 9th June and marks the beginning of a dramatic multi-million pound overhaul of the world’s third oldest Subway system.

Built in 1896, the Subway has only been modernised twice in its lifetime – being converted from cable hauled to electric traction in 1935 and later closing between 1977 and 1980.

With maintenance and operating costs spiralling, a full scale upgrade above and below ground is being pushed forward by SPT as the only option to secure the Subway for future generations.

The Subway would not be able to continue to operate without investment and the benefits of modernisation are significant.

Research has shown that £150 million could be saved over a 30-year period through a reduction in operation and maintenance costs while patronage, currently 13 million a year, could reach 18 million.

Contractor Clancy Docwra has been appointed to start the ball rolling and are already at Hillhead Station in Glasgow’s bustling west end, tasked with dramatically overhauling the station’s interior. This will then become the flagship for upgrades at all other stations.

Work will be complete by summer 2012 and upgrades at two more key stations are planned prior to Glasgow hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Crucially SPT aims to keep the Subway operating throughout the works, with passengers able to see things around them changing piece by piece as improvements take shape through the night.

Improvements to be delivered at Hillhead include:

  • the installation of two new escalators;
  • the relocation of the ticket office and the creation of retail space;
  • replacement of all materials on floors, walls and ceilings;
  • new wayfinding, information and signage for passengers;
  • DDA enhancements including hearing loops, tactile maps, tactile paving and colour contrast flooring;
  • brighter, more welcoming energy efficient lighting;
  • the installation of a major public artwork by renowned artist Alasdair Gray.

We have the chance to deliver a Subway that will last for generations to come.

Jonathan Findlay, SPT Chair

SPT Chair Jonathan Findlay said he was proud to lead the Subway into a new era in its history. He said: “The Glasgow Subway is a true icon, not just for the city but for Scotland. Many of us can recount memories of its past but what we’re focussing on now is its future.

“We have the chance to deliver a Subway that will last for generations to come, one that will grow with Glasgow, attract new residents and visitors alike and help our streets from becoming more congested.”

As well as the work now under way at Hillhead, SPT has also awarded a £5.6 million contract to Otis, one of the UK’s top escalator suppliers, to replace every escalator on the Subway network.

A new Subway next generation smartcard ticketing system is being developed by Scheidt and Bachman and will be delivered in 2013, well before the Commonwealth Games.

Alongside this a multi-modal, multi-operator scheme is being delivered by market leading smart technology firm Ecebs in a joint venture with SPT.

Jonathan Findlay added: “People look back at the grainy old Subway photos from the early 1900s and remark on the difference with what we have now. In years to come, I hope they’ll look at their pristine, modern surroundings, with state-of-the-art driverless trains and interactive smartcard tickets and once again marvel at the difference.”