A vision of transport for Strathclyde? 

I’m fascinated by this. http://angusdoyledesign.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/glasgow-transport-map.html?m=1

It’s a map showing what an integrated transit network in the Greater Glasgow Area could be.


It’s splendid and much kudos to the designer who looked at the existing Scotrail line maps and said what if? I think he’s had help from the skyscraper cities forum, which is great at many development stories.

I’ll comment from my own perspective, I have no axe to grind with the designer, but some of the assumptions.

The East Subway Circle

The East End subway seemed to come from speculation in the Evening Times newspaper. It was probably in the early days after the Commonwealth Games bid.


It’s an excellent idea, but I doubt it was only ever a concept. The existing subway is effectively a self contained system and the gauge of the subway tunnels mean that it’s hard to see it ever being integrated with a tram, tram/train or metro network. 

Glasgow Crossrail



I think Crossrail is a long running Saga going back to the ‘Clyderail’ proposals of the 1970’s where it was envisaged that Services could run from the Inverclyde and Ayrshire lines to connect to the North Clyde routes. I think there’s a twofold use of a Crossrail link.

Crossrail – National 

I think there’s a sense in being able to route a Edinburgh/Ayr service or Edinburgh/Inverclyde with perhaps a limited stop pattern and an all stops pattern. Until full electrification in Scotland, a wider service to Dundee or Aberdeen only makes limited sense as running Diesel stock under the mainly electrified lines west of Glasgow doesn’t bring the best return of resources. 

The other issue is balance between the regional commuters doing Ayrshire to Glasgow and the Glasgow stops at West Street and Glasgow Cross. It may not be suitable or helpful to a core of passengers used to disembarking at Glasgow Central and there’s a question of what markets such services would serve.

Crossrail – Local

With additional turn back facilities in the right locations, possibly the 70’s ‘Clyderail’ plan make be given life, running maybe Balloch to Largs or whatever combinations make sense, again the question is who makes the through journeys and what market it serves.

West Street

The linkage to the Glasgow Subway gives a great opportunity to link the systems. The frustration might exist that the station is near an area where Ayrshire and Inverclyde services used to dwell to get an inbound platform at Glasgow Central. It will add to some journey times, but a great advantage would be a fairly easy way to get to Queen Street by using the interchange facility.

The East


I covered the East Subway ring earlier. The Grey and Black lines on the extract above relate to tunnels running under some of the streets in the East End. A rail link used to run to Celtic Park and there are other former track beds in the area, notably the route of the North Clyde line to Bridgeton Central. Possibilities may exist, but whether a heavy rail route is the best way to utilise those, I’m not sure, it might be ideal as part of a metro type route or using tram/train stock. 

In the past year we’ve seen the Argyle Line integrate the Whifflet Route and also the Motherwell/Cumbernauld services into a wider package of destinations and service combinations, there may yet be opportunity to add stations or chords onto the Argyle Line network, but the question might remain in terms of capacity to run cross-town and in particular in the Partick-Hyndland section. 

To the north, Kirkintilloch is fascinating as it would open another area to fixed public transport, but capacity on the trunk E & G line, might not be available to enhance local service needs for stations such as Bishopbriggs and Lenzie if an intensive electrified service between Waverley and Queen Street operates over the E&G after the EGIP programme is complete.

The Central Core



One aspect that has been long speculated is that a Tram conversion of the Cathcart Circle lines could free capacity in Central Station. The route has a use as a diversion if required for the West Coast Main Line into Glasgow Central and also needs the heavy rail capacity for match days at Hampden Park. Is there a clever way to match up these differing uses and could better use be made of the interchange at Newton to perhaps link the Argyle Line and extended Cathcart Circle services? 

The Maryhill line at the top of the map section is an interesting question too. The previous extension of this line to Anniesland begged the question of whether a link onto the North Clyde network near Anniesland station was possible, a possible way of also using the second bridge at Jordanhill to direct to or from the Yoker section of line too. I guess we need think about Electricification, additional chords and also how to link at Springburn to the North Clyde network and beyond. 

Reopening through the West End 

The tunnels and trackbed and potential route exists through the old Botanic Gardens station is another point of interest, it could open up another route west and north, but how could that integrate into the North Clyde routes and how would it work. Again, the Maryhill line may offer an interesting option and again, it’s a question of chords and linkages for Heavy Rail, but possibly less issues for a tram or tram/train scenario.

Renfrew and Glasgow Airport


We know that part of ‘The City Deal’ infrastructure from the funding package agreed between the Clyde Valley councils and the Holyrood and Westminster governments fixed on the Glasgow Airport Rail Link again. I don’t know if that means a rehash of the previous Heavy Rail proposal or if speculated Tram/Train on a different route is going to be the preferred option. Certainly there are different options available and a spur off the Inverclyde line might work, as may using some of the former trackbed on the former Renfrew/Paisley line.

A subway link is shown in black linking Renfrew and Braehead. There obviously is the forthcoming Fastlink route to Braehead and it might or might not be a suitable Bus Rapid Transport solution. It may not be automatically a case that BRT infrastructure is easily upgradable to a tram system standard. The route makes sense, Braehead needs a better public transport solution and as does Renfrew, but Fastlink may need to become a cross city system before any upgrade of that one particular route.

An interesting thing about the subway is that it does come to the surface at Govan and it does so near the Fastlink route, there’s also old track beds in the Govan and Ibrox areas and a question of how might it be done. An Ibrox station on the Inverclyde stopping pattern makes sense too.

Lastly on this section, the Paisley Canal line, an extension west toward Elderslie and reconnecting to the Ayrshire line makes sense, the trackbed is there, but some has been lost to housing development too. A reopening possibly of the Kilmacolm line using the trackbed of the cycling pathway isn’t entirely mad either, but again, what can be done and is the answer all heavy rail or tram?  I think the actual answer lies in connecting the Braehead/Renfrew infrastructure with the Airport and into Paisley and then the lost sections of the Canal/Kilmacolm line by street running and new infrastructure, maybe that means Fastlink extending first to Renfrew, then to Glasgow Airport to create a route, whilst a heavy Rail solution is also looked at.

Bridging the Clyde again.


Why show this extract? It’s a question of what’s not here. I’d say that a thought must exist as to taking the North Clyde line over from Dalmuir at the extent of this extract directly over the river toward Erskine. From Erskine, the obvious question is could a route come from there to the Airport. Possibly, there’s even a merit in thinking whether that could go onto the Inverclyde line too. (Well, we are speculating)

Chic’s Vision 

If I was ordering a possible public transport map for Strathclyde, I’d want a map with layers. 

One Layer on the heavy rail possibilities and a second as a metro system. I’d accept the limitations of the subway as a self contained system and look at the possibilities of a tram network with conversion of some heavy rail, tram/train running and questioning where Bus Routes could be brought up to BRT standard. 

Bus offers a number of possibilities as technology changes, Hybrid engines and battery technology means we will soon see full size buses using a form of electric charging at terminuses, to enable clean running over sections of routes. This changes the need for infrastructure and a route could only need the dedicated route rather than wiring too. We must see how Fastlink pans out and if it can work going to Braehead. 

I’m heartened by recent electrification and route extensions on the Whifflet and Argyle and Cumbernauld lines as well as the Paisley Canal electrification.

What pans out as a future network of public transport for Greater Glasgow is speculative and will change with the city area and technology. 

As I said, the map is really impressive and it gives much to discuss and think about. 


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