Goin' Underground

I love the Glasgow Subway but its limited scope is seriously annoying at times. The fact that it doesn’t go any further south than Shields Road or any further north than Cowcaddens is a pain in the arse sometimes. It really gets on my goat that I can’t go all around the town on it the same was as those verdammant Londoners can on their tube. Lets face it people, public transport in Glasgow is overpriced and under invested. Last Glasgow Bus have just about got the city sown up and nobody seems to mind that an all day ticket is up to £3.20, that’s a growth of over 50% in the last two years.

You probably already know that the underground has two tunnels, the outer circle that runs clockwise and the inner circle which runs counter-clockwise. There are fifteen stations along the roughly oval route, eight north of the river and seven to the south. Nearly all of the north side stations are in the west end with only Cowcaddens, St. Enoch and Buchanan Street in the city centre. The south side stations are almost all clustered along the route of the M8 until it passes Ibrox, then it turns north towards Govan and the river. You can get a rough idea of where the subway passes on this crude map:

It might look like it covers a large area, but with only fifteen stations it leaves out a vast area in between. It hardly touches on the south side or the east end.

Naturally there have been a few proposals over the years to extend it, the latest one spurred by Glasgow successfully winning the bid to host the commonwealth games. This proposal only really suggests running an east to west tunnel that will run to towards the games sites in the east end. It doesn’t look like it’s a permanent solution to the city’s transport needs.

I’ve been thinking about how they could make a better system and in the first instance I came up with a simple spider’s web approach of lines radiating out from a central hub in the middle of the city. This seems like a good idea but I doubt it would be easy to co-ordinate in practice. Instead I think it would be a better approach to make a kind of clover leaf system. With four semi-independent sections all roughly the size and shape of the current system. The circles would meet a certain points for shared stations where punters could swap to another service. With two tunnels on each of the four “leaves” of the clover operating in opposite directions travel across the city would be very rapid.

I’ve knocked up a picture of what my system might look like, albeit with just the original subway drawing copied and mirrored along its two axes:

Interestingly a great many of the stations on the mirrored circles land at places I would have said would be great for a station to be built in real life. It’s just a shame I didn’t manage to extend it out to the really big attractions like Silverburn and Braehead, but at least it encircles the proposed Commonwealth Games sites, Parkhead and Hampden Park.

1 Response to “Goin' Underground”


  1. 1 MCDOWALL August 15, 2008 at 19:04

    As I have said before, the vaunted games area is currently a BACKWATER and will revert to BACKWATER WARZONE status once the games breeze out of town and leave nothing but shit and vomit in their wake – meanwhile the much needed public services will take a deadly hit to fund this self head-munching machine that is the Commonwealth Distraction.

    And Undergroun systems don’t have to go in circles! Toronto has plenty of linera systems! I propose a single direct line to SILVAHBURN!


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