Subway car marks line’s 120th anniversary

By Hugh Dougherty

STRATHCLYDE Partnership for Transport has turned out Glasgow Subway car
No. 101 in a mock, historic livery as original car No. 55, complete with simulated trellis gates on the doors, to mark 120 years of the 4ft gauge system.

The Subway Anniversary Coach on the Glasgow Underground. HUGH DOUGHERTY

The specially-liveried car joined in the celebrations on December 14, the exact 120th anniversary of the line’s opening by the Glasgow District Subway Company in 1896, by running in service while performers appeared at stations and local radio stations ran themed competitions.

A series of events are also planned, and SPT has set up a special microsite, spt.co.uk/120,which charts the history of the line and will give advance notice of milestone events taking place throughout 2017.

SPT chief executive Gordon MacLellan said: “This is an important birthday for us. The 120th is an opportunity to look at all that has happened to the Subway since its opening in 1896. We know that the Subway holds a very special place in the hearts of many Glaswegians, and others, so we are keen to mark these milestones.”

The Glasgow Subway was operated by cable until 1935, when Glasgow Corporation Transport bought the
6 ½-mile circular railway, and electrified the original Oldbury-built carriages using tramway traction equipment.

In 1977, the line was closed for three years for modernisation, using new Metro Cammell-built rolling stock serving its original, now refurbished
15 stations.

A further modernisation process in now underway with a £288 million investment by SPT, including modernised stations, smart ticketing and driverless trains, due to be operational by 2020.

Several railway heritage bodies and museums have expressed an interest in acquiring the current 40-year-old rolling stock when it comes out of service in 2020. A spokeswoman said: “We are considering various expressions of interest at this stage and will make decisions over the coming months.”

Read more News in Issue 224 of Heritage Railway – out now!

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