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It exploded in the soft ground just above the outer circle tunnel and the Subway was forced to close for 131 days for repair work to be carried out. John Messner added: “Other than major refurbishment in the 1970s,

the bomb incident marked the longest spell when the Subway wasn’t running. It was very dramatic at the time but thankfully no one was killed.” The railway ran with little further change until 1977, when the new

operator, Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive, closed it for two years to allow for major modernisation work to take place. The Subway, as seen in its present form, reopened for operation on

16 April 1980. Now part of Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), it is one of very few railways in the UK remaining in public ownership and ‘vertically integrated’, where SPT responsibility covers all aspects of operation and infrastructure. The route remains the same – a loop almost 6.5 miles (10.5 km) long

that extends both north and south of the River Clyde. This makes it unusual compared to other metro systems, as it hasn’t been expanded in more than 100 years. The tracks have the unusual narrow gauge of 4ft (1,219 mm) and a

nominal tunnel diameter of 11 feet (3.35 m), even smaller than that of the deep-level lines of the London Underground; the rolling stock is also considerably smaller.

A national icon Now over 30 years since the last modernisation was carried out, the Subway is again showing signs of wear and tear. Last year, SPT began a

The original clutch-and-cable system, with one cable for each

direction, was driven from a steam-powered plant on Scotland Street, between West Street and Shields Road stations. In 1923 the Subway passed into the hands of the Glasgow Corporation

Transport Department and was converted to electric traction in 1935. Traction power came from three separate sub-stations around central Glasgow and a 600-Volt main cable was run round the entire system. The busiest time for the network was the late 1940s shortly after the

Second World War. In the year 1948-49, 37 million people used the small underground railway. It was also during the war years that the most dramatic event in the Subway’s history took place. In September 1940, a German bomb landed on Beith Street Bowling Green, just south of the old Merkland Street Subway Station at Partick.

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Eurotransport Volume 10, Issue 1, 2012

Courtesy of SPT

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