Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Riding the Glasgow Subway

The London Underground is famous throughout the world. Between it and the Budapest Metro they are the two oldest underground railway systems in the world. The third oldest is somewhat less known- the Glasgow Subway. Completed in 1896 the network consists of a single twin circle of tracks which is contained completely above the streets of Glasgow. Three coach trains traverse an 'outer' and 'inner' circle around the city sitting on the unusual 4ft gauge track. While broadly similar in style to London Undergrounds 'deep' line tubes the Glasgow subway trains, built by Metro-Cammel from 1977-79, are noticeably smaller in size to fit through the very restrictive gauge of the tunnels on the system. Trains are painted in a version of Strathclyde Passenger Transport's orange which has lead to some, particularly in the press, nicknaming the system 'the clockwork orange'.
The network has 15 stations around Glasgow, many with central underground island platforms. Trains take 24 minutes to complete a loop of the Glasgow Subway and run up to every 4 minutes at peak times. Ticketing is now entirely through a 'smart card' system with disposable electronic paper tickets available for single journeys.

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