What we’re doing
Why is the Subway being modernised?
The Glasgow Subway, which carries around 13 million passengers each year, is currently undergoing its biggest modernisation programme in over 30 years.
The full scale upgrade will ensure that the highest quality of service is delivered to the 40 thousand who use the Subway every day.
The 119 year old system had been showing its age and innovative solutions were required to ensure the Subway remains at the heart of Scotland’s largest city for many more years to come.
A £288 million funding package for the work is being supported by the Scottish Government and rebuilding work is happening right across the network. In addition to improvements already delivered there are far more underway and planned.
Rolling Stock, Signalling and Control Systems
New trains and state of the art technology
Vital elements of the Subway – the train fleet, signalling equipment and control systems – are being replaced and upgraded. With a significant budget committed, big changes are underway.
New driverless trains will replace the aging fleet, which has been in use since the 1970s. Subway trains and tunnels are smaller than other underground railway systems throughout the world. Bespoke trains will be designed and made to operate within the unique size of the Subway.
Screen gates will be installed at platform level to maximise passenger safety and the Subway’s signalling equipment, control systems and control centre will be completely revamped.
The Subway’s control centre operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Introducing the latest technology available will ensure that this crucial operational component of the Subway runs as effectively and efficiently as it can.
Progress to date
- Manufacturing site visits undertaken.
- ‘Invitation to submit detailed solutions’ phase continues with bidders submissions received in December 2014.
Stations and 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. Station interiors are also undergoing dramatic change and will feature a wide range of access improvements such as tactile paving and maps, hearing loops and colour contrast flooring. Lifts are being installed at two stations – St Enoch and Govan – the first of their kind in the network and UK market leader Otis has begun replacing all 28 escalators throughout the system. That complex work is a challenging aspect of our station improvement plan and is successfully underway.
Public art also features in stations with two big name artists currently on display at Hillhead and Kelvinhall.
Progress to date
- Four stations modernised ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
- New glass canopy installed at St Enoch – the flagship city centre station.
- Designs for Buchanan and Govan stations complete and out to tender for construction work.
- 15 out of 28 new escalators installed.
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 7 and 115 feet below the Clyde’s high water level – potential water ingress is continually monitored. Tunnel lining repairs, water sealing and drainage improvements with upgraded pumping equipment is ongoing.
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.
Progress to date
- Contracts for traction power cable replacement substantially complete.
- Tunnel pumping station upgrade contract awarded and site investigations started.
- Tunnel lining contract awarded.
Reusable electronic tickets
Reusable plastic Subway Smartcards were introduced in autumn 2013 replacing paper magnetic strip tickets. Passengers can add credit and travel products to their Smartcards at self-serve machines and station ticket offices across all 15 Subway stations; and very soon, online.
This technology 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). It will enable the Subway Smartcard to be used seamlessly between different transport modes (such as bus, train and ferry) and in future to buy other everyday items such as coffee and cake.
Progress to date
- More than 79,000 customers 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.
Station: Buchanan Street
Works: Station modernisation and new moving walkway install
Dates: March 2015 to December 2015
Changes: Dundas Street entrance shut from Monday 4 May. Please use Buchanan Street.
Works: Govan Bus Station redevelopment
Dates: 31 May 2015 to August 2016
Changes: Existing stances will be relocated.
Works: Modernisation works
Changes: No footpath access to Golspie street. Alternative route in place during modernisation works.
Works: Advanced modernisation works
Dates: January 2015 to October 2015
Changes: Temporary surfaces on walls and floor on lower concourse
Dates: May 2015 to September 2015
Changes: Limited escalator access on inner circle from 18 May until further notice.
Station: St Enoch
Works: Howard Street entrance closure
Dates: February 2015 to August 2015
Changes: Howard Street entrance may be closed at certain times of the day – please use Argyle Street entrance.
Essential renewal work planned end of June 2016
Subway and Bus station redevelopments.
Dundas Street entrance closed from Monday 4 May.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport has committed just over £500,000 for the renovation of essential technical elements of 41 Subway cars during the next two years.
Station refurbishment update