New Glasgow Subway fleet enters passenger service for the first time in 43 years

Passengers travelling on the Subway today got to enjoy a first experience of Glasgow’s new Subway trains.
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Following their final testing by train manufacturer Stadler, SPT decided to enter the first of the new trains into the system for their maiden passenger trip. 

This follows a long testing period, both offsite at their dedicated testing area near the Broomloan Depot and in the Subway at night once the system has closed to passenger service. 

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SPT Project Director, Mark Toner said: “A decision was made that the first of the new trains should enter into passenger service today. It was an opportunity to see how they performed in service with passengers. We’re delighted that the trains have performed as well as they have and that, more importantly, our passengers were happy to see them. 

“Our old fleet has performed beyond its expected lifespan and it has become more and more challenging to maintain them and find parts for them as the years have gone on.  This new fleet will take time to grow towards its full capability and reliability levels but now that the first two trains have been introduced, passengers will have the opportunity to see them intermittently and experience for themselves as they run alongside our existing fleet over the coming months.  More new trains will be also introduced during 2024.”

All the new trains have had to be custom made due to the unique size of Glasgow Subway. The new trains are the same length and size as the existing ones but are now a four-car set, as opposed to the current three-car set, with open gangways to maximise the space available. 

The new trains are, however, just the next stage in the Subway modernisation programme as they continue with work behind the scenes to replace the Subway’s signalling and communications system.  Still to come is the introduction of the new operational control centre which will be key to improving the availability and reliability of passenger service.

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They will also be introducing platform screen doors (PSDs) to station platforms. These will be ‘half height’ to preserve as much space and openness within the stations as possible while still maintaining passenger safety and security. Once these key milestones have been reached, they can them look to introduce Unattended Train Operation (UTO) or ‘driverless’ trains to the system.

Mr Toner added: “There are still a couple of challenging key milestones to be reached before we can say Subway modernisation is complete. I understand for passengers the new trains are the most important part of the programme as it is something tangible they can see.  However, this a brand new, complex state-of-art system going into a very old network and that does frustratingly for us all, take time to deliver.

“We are still some way off seeing platform screen doors added to all stations which will be the next big thing for passengers before we have the option of moving to driverless trains.”

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