Opened 14 December 1896 Taken over
by Glasgow Corporation Transport in 1923 Operated by Cable till 1935
I find the Days of cable operation
1896 to 1935 the most fascinating, how did it work. The in depth
answer to that question and a detailed account of electrification
in 1935 though to the closier and modernisation in the mid 1970's
can be found in “The Glasgow Subway” by David L. Thomson
and David E. Sinclair published in 1964 and in “Circles Under
The Clyde” by John Wright and Ian Maclean published in 1997.
But to give some idea of the cable operation a look at the figures
involved will perhaps give an idea of the scale of the project.
The Tunnels, 2 loops each 11,527
yds or approximately 6 ½ miles long, at an average depth
of about 30 ft. The internal diameter of 11 ft and the gauge of
the rails 3 ft 9 in.
15 Stations, ( see map above )
it was envisaged that all stations would be of similar dimensions.
An island platform 130 ft long and 10 ft wide raised 2 ft 2 in.
above the rail level, the overall width of the stations would be
28 ft. However there were exceptions to this due to local conditions.
The Power Station was
built in Scotland Street this not only housed the winding gear
but also four 79 Kilowatt Dynamos (generators) which suppied the
electrical requirements for the lighting systems, working the pumps
and operating the hoist at Kelvinbridge.
Within the Power Station
there were 2 enormous steam engines these were supplied with steam
from 8 Lancashire boilers each 30 ft long and 8ft diameter. Flue
gases from the boilers were emitted through a brick built 180 ft
high chimney. Each of the 2 stream engines had a capacity of between
1500 and 2000 horse power through a single cylinder 3 ft 6 in.
in diameter which had a stroke of 6 ft , this drove a flywheel
with a diameter of 25 ft weighing 50 tons and turned at around
55 revolutions per minute which moved the cable at a speed of around
15 mph. Coal for the plant was delivered via private sidings by
the Glasgow and Paisley Joint Railway which ran at the back of
the Power Station. On the roof supported by 14 cast iron columns
was a cast iron water tank again of enormous proportions 73 ft
long, 34 ft 8 in. wide and 8 ft 9 in deep in all 125,000 gallons
of water was stored, the water alone weighed over 558 tons.
The Cables, there were
4, 2 in use and 2 in reserve each 11,650 yds long, 1 ½ in
diameter, 57 tons in weight contained 600 miles of wire and were
delivered via the railway sidings mentioned above. The cable ran
in the centre of each track at a height 2 in. above the rail level
held by 1700 sheaves and moved at a speed of approximately 13 miles
per hour or one circuit per haft hour giving a running time of
39 minutes. The life of a cable varied but could last over 2 years
and run up a mileage of over 175,000 miles.
The Cars, 30 were ordered,
numbers 1 to 20 were ready for the opening in 1896 and 21 to 30
delivered in early 1897. The most important part of the train was
the Grip, this device was mounted under the leading axle and was
controlled by a handwheel and a lever operated by the Gripman (
Driver ). The Grip controlled the forward motion of the train by
a method of gripping and releasing the cable.
As I said
at the beginning a full history of the Underground ( Subway )
can be found in .“The Glasgow Subway”and “Circles
Under The Clyde”
UNDERGROUND ROLLING STOCK
Coaches: Nos. 1-3, 6,11-12, 14-18, 20-21, 23-25,
27-30, 55-60: 1896.
BUILDER: Oldbury Railway Carriage & Wagon Co., Birmingham;
reconditioned for electric traction by Hurst Nelson, Motherwell.
BODY: Open saloon type with end vestibules and 'corridor' doors.
Access to cars from one side only. Fitted leather upholstered seats
for 42— in three sections per side of 9, 3 and 9. Power-operated
collapsible steel gates are provided at each end platform though
some cars now have solid sliding doors. One platform has the motorman's
equipment while the other has the control panel.
BOGIES: HN 5' 6" wb., 2' diam. wheels. SKF roller bearings
now replacing earlier oil bearings.
motors: MV 101DR, 4x60 h.p. Nos. 6,14, 17-18, 28, 30 have
EQUIPMENT: MV remote control, single-ended, with West, air brakes.
These cars were originally gripper cars on cable-operated line
electrified by the Corporation in 1933-1935. Cars 56 and
3 form three-car train (with Car 32) working as
Trailer Coaches: Nos. 4-5, 7-10, 13, 19, 22, 26, 31-32,
34-39, 41-45, 52:1896.
BUILDER: Hurst Nelson, Motherwell.
BODY: As for motor coaches but without control gear. Nos.
31-32, 34-35, 37-38, 39, 41-42, 44, 52 have shorter
vestibules with 4 seats in the centre portion of the car—total
seating 44. These cars were built originally as 4-wheel trailers,
but c. 1900 were lengthened and converted to bogie type
by Hurst Nelson, who also later reconditioned them for electric
traction. No. 32 is rebuilt as a centre-entrance
car to form a three-coach train with Car 56 leading
and Car 3 behind operating as a multiple unit, on outer circle.
bogies: HN 5' wb., with SKF roller bearings replacing earlier
BUILDER: British Electric Vehicles, Liverpool, 1927.
BODY: 4-wheel 'steeple' cab type.
MOTORS: 2x 16 h.p. Supplied by BEV.
EQUIPMENT: EE (type D.K. DP4) controllers, hand brakes.
power supply: 64 acid cells.