Electrification & WWII

Image of an old Subway carriage in the Riverside Museum. Credit:

After a great start, the Glasgow District Subway faced some money troubles. Other transport systems, like the Glasgow trams, were now powered by electricity, which kept costs very low. Electricity also enabled much higher speeds to be reached, too.

The Subway’s cable system relied on huge amounts of coal for the powerhouse to run properly every day, which proved to be very expensive.

The Subway changed from a cable system to being powered by electricity and St. Enoch Subway station.

A new company, The Glasgow Corporation, took over control of the Underground in 1923. As we’ve already mentioned, the use of electricity was becoming more and more popular. In 1932, a small trial on one subway car was carried out and this was very successful. It was then decided that the whole system should be powered in his way.

After a six-week closure, in March 1935 the Subway reopened with all trains on the Inner Circle now powered by electricity. The Outer Circle continued with the cable system until November 1935 so for a while, the Subway was powered by electricity and the cable system. In December 1935 after a short closure, the Outer Circle began using electricity, too.

Not long after electrification, World War II broke out. Many different parts of the UK were attacked by enemy fire, especially built up areas like cities. On 18 September 1940, a bomb landed beside Merkland Street station (now Partick) and both the Inner and Outer Circle tunnels were damaged. The Subway was forced to close for repairs until January 1941.

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