Subway Modernisation

The Subway is undergoing its first full-scale upgrade in more than 30 years. Find out what we’re doing, view highlights and get the latest modernisation news.

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).

You should start to see the new trains in the system from 2020.

Overview

Subway modernisation

Glasgow Subway modernisation plan continues at a rapid pace. We have now completed eight 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 with the development of Govan Interchange station – the £7million new-look Subway and Bus station is now fully operational. The Subway Station boasts a new 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.

These stations join Hillhead, Partick, Ibrox, and Kelvinhall as our completed refurbished stations.

In 2017 work will begin on Shields Road and Bridge Street stations. Design work will also begin on four of our smaller stations – St George’s Cross, Cowcaddens, Kinning Park, and West Street.

Glasgow Subway:

  • 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 Glasgow Subway is 120-years-old and is the third oldest underground system in the world behind 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.

station

Progress to date

  • Eight 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.

Infrastructure

Improving tunnels, tracks and water management

The River Clyde has played an important role in transport history. Given its proximity to Subway stations – and that tunnels vary in depth between seven and 115 feet below the Clyde’s high water level – potential water ingress is continually monitored.

Work is ongoing to repair tunnel lining, improve water sealing and drainage with upgraded pumping equipment.

Innovative draining systems are being 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 is also working with us to transform ingress water in the Subway into a sustainable heat source. This work is 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 was 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

  • 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 ongoing which will improve ten of the tunnel sections within a two-year period.
  • A £16 million programme of tunnel improvements is underway to ensure the Subway’s 120 year old tunnels remain fit-for-purpose, this is essential work to introducing the new trains on the system.
  • Installed new standard railway datum plates introducing a new and accurate measurement record for each tunnel and track section.
  • Essential engineering work underway to renew the Subway’s ramps and turnouts system.

Smart technology

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.

To date we have issued more than 140,000 Smartcards. In 2016, we introduced web retail to personalised Smartcard holders – all of which helps make arranging travel and paying for travel easier for our passengers.

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).

tickets

Progress to date

  • More than 150,000 customers now using Smart technology to access the Subway.
  • Smart Park and Ride implemented at Bridge Street, Shields Road and Kelvinbridge stations.

Minimising disruption

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.

Planned works

Glasgow Subway map
Works at Kelvinbridge

Station: Kelvinbridge
Works: Station modernisation
Changes: Complete refurbishment of station.

Works at St Enoch

Station: St. Enoch
Works: Escalator works
Dates: May – until further notice
Changes: Inner Circle down escalator undergoing essential repairs.

Latest News

Highlights

Hillhead

July 2011

Work 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.
Subwaty escalators

January 2012

Work 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.
Subway modernisation

March 2012

The Scottish Government pledge £246 million capital funding towards Subway Modernisation.
Partick

June 2012

A £1.2 million upgrade is confirmed for Partick Station, a vital transport hub for the region connecting with rail and bus transport links.
Hillhead station

September 2012

Flagship station Hillhead is officially opened by Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Partick modernisation

October 2012

Work at Partick Subway station begins. The Subway platform level is to be transformed reflecting the modern design in place at Hillhead.
Kelvinhall

December 2012

Contracts 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.
Partick modernisation completed

April 2013

Partick station modernisation complete. Improvements include the replacement of all flooring, walls and ceilings; better signage and energy-efficient lighting.

May 2013

Ibrox 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.
Subway goes Smart

June 2013

The 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.
Subway Smartcard

October 2013

The 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.
Ibrox

January 2014

Ibrox 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.
St. Enoch

February 2014

Construction 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.
Smartcard milestone

March 2014

20,000 plus customers now signed up for Smartcard technology.
kelvinhall

April 2014

Kelvinhall 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.
Broomloan

May 2014

Construction of new staff offices at the Subway depot in Govan begins. The offices offer modern open plan working facilities.
St. Enoch

July 2014

Phase 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 2014

SPT agrees contract with WGM to upgrade all 21 pumping stations in the Subway System.
architects

September 2014

Architects appointed to lead on designs for Bridge Street, Cessnock, Kelvinbridge and Shields Road stations.
Broomloan offices

October 2014

New staff accommodation at Broomloan completed and staff relocated to new facility.
St. Enoch timelapse

November 2014

Street level escalators at St. Enoch installed using new methodology – minimising disruption time.
Glass canopy

December 2014

Installation of new glass canopy at St. Enoch Argyle Street entrance completed.
Ramps and Turnouts

February 2015

Contract 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 2015

Work 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.
Buchanan Street

May 2015

Works begin at Buchanan Street Subway to modernise the station, including a new southern canopy to match the existing northern canopy.
Govan interchange

June 2015

Works 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.
Tunnel improvements

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.
St. Enoch

August 2015

Refurbishment of flagship city centre St. Enoch Subway Station completed including the installation of lifts.
Smart technology

October 2015

More 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.
Subway services resume

August 2016

Subway services resume.
Buchanan Street complete

August 2016

Modernisation works complete at Buchanan Street.
Cessnock modernisation underway

August 2016

Modernisation works at Cessnock are well underway.
Last 2 escalators upgraded

August 2016

Work begins to replace the last two escalators in the Subway system.
Online retail launches

September 2016

Subway Smartcard Online top-up is launched for Smartcard holders who can now top up when and where they want using their tablet, PC or Smartphone.
Kelvinbridge modernisation begins

September 2016

Modernisation of Kelvingbridge Station begins.
Knowledge tranfer partnership receives worldwide recognition

October 2016

SPT’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Glasgow Caledonian University receives worldwide recognition at the first International Conference on Energy Geotechnics.
Subway 120 Birthday

December 2016

Subway celebrates 120 years of service!
Cessnock station complete

December 2016

Cessnock Station complete.