By Phil Marsh

New trains for the “Clockwork Orange” sub-surface rail network

Published: 5th March 2016

Glasgow Subway deal for Swiss and Italians

Glasgow Subway is to get new trains in a £200 million deal with a consortium of Swiss and Italian companies.

Known to generations of Glaswegians by the unofficial title of “Clockwork Orange” because of its colour scheme and frequency of service, the underground railway has long been noted as a bastion of British engineering. Its nickname tends to be frowned upon officially, with the designation “Glasgow Subway” being preferred.

The biggest of Scotland’s seven regional transport partnerships, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), operates the Glasgow Subway, a circle line of twin tracks on a gauge of four-feet. Opened in 1896 it originally used cable haulage until modernisation and electrification in the 1930s.

There have been other modernisation schemes since, including recent refurbishment and reconstruction of several stations. Existing trains were refurbished in Scotland but will soon be due for complete replacement. The new trains are expected to be in traffic by the year 2020.

The trains will be in four-car sets compared to today’s trains which are made up of three-car units.

SPT has announced that the contract for new trains and associated signalling has gone to the Stadler Bussnang AG / Ansaldo STS Consortium. Stadler are Swiss train-builders while the Italian firm Ansaldo made its name for signalling.

Jonathan Findlay, who chairs SPT, said: "The new rolling stock will provide the travelling public with a much improved journey experience and the system will be more flexible in terms of frequency and availability."

Trains will be capable of operation without drivers. There will be dedicated spaces on the trains for wheelchair-users for the first time.

A new transport interchange is under construction at Govan. There are convenient connections with buses at several stations, and interchanges with ScotRail at Partick and Glasgow Queen Street (where the adjacent Subway station is named “Buchanan Street”). St Enoch is the nearest Subway station to Glasgow Central.

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