Records of the Glasgow District Subway Co, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Interlocutor in the petition by the Glasgow District Subway Co for the apportionment of feuduty on lands in Broomloan Road and Albert Drive, Glasgow [c1894]
  • Interlocutor by Sheriff in favour of the company 1894

Administrative / Biographical History

Glasgow, Scotland, was the third city in the world to build an underground rail system, after London, England, and Budapest, Hungary. In August 1890,  the Glasgow District Subway Co was given authority to build a 6.5 mile long route under the streets of Glasgow. The circular line is formed of parallel pair of tunnels built by tunnelling or cut and cover. A third of the running tunnels are lined with iron, the rest with concrete or brick. The system uses an unusual gauge of 4 feet (about 1200mm), with the tunnels just 11 feet in diameter. The entire line is underground, but the depth varies from 7 feet to 155 feet.

The trains were originally moved by gripping a continuous moving cable, which was moved by a coal-fired boiler in Scotland Street on the South Side of Glasgow. The network has 15 stations, seven south of the river Clyde and eight to the north. Buchanan Street, St. Enoch and Partick stations provide interchange with the mainline railways. All the stations originally had a single island platform, which was about 10 feet wide. In the peak-hour control methods were necessary to prevent overcrowding.

The underground was opened on December 14 1896  , but a collision that day meant that the network did not open again until January 21 1897  .

The Glasgow Corporation, which was at the time running the largest tram network in Britain, took over the company in 1923  . In 1935  the decision was taken to electrify the railway to reduce operating costs. A raised third rail was used electrified to 750V d.c.

In 1973  the Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Executive took over control of the Glasgow Underground.


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Loan : Mitchells, Johnston & Co : Glasgow : prior to 1966

Other Finding Aids

The archive forms part of the Scottish Railways Collection held by Glasgow University Archive Services, finding aid reference GB 248 UGD 008

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1631) and London (NRA21659)

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 248 procedures

Custodial History

Held by Mitchells, Johnston & Co , solicitors, Glasgow


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 UGD 008 The Scottish Railway Collection

For contact details of all repositories with a GB code, see the Archon repository search page


J R Kellet,Railways and Victorian Cities(London, 1979)

Additional Information

This material is original

No alterations made to date

Geographical Names