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Harry on the trains in Scotland: To Glasgow and Gourock

Harry on the trains in Scotland: To Glasgow and Gourock

Now in my three-part blog series on my trip to Scotland, we are in Glasgow.

We left off the last post at Stirling, where we changed for an electric service to Glasgow Queen Street. The service was extremely busy and alcohol was extremely busy on this Saturday afternoon service. Alcohol is still against the Railway Byelaws to carry on ScotRail services, but there was an extremely high prevalence of it, and it did go unenforced even when ticket checks took place.

In fact, according to ScotRail, it is not allowed to have alcohol visible on your person – it must be hidden from sight from other passengers and staff.

We arrived at Queen Street on time (like all other services this trip, except a couple of minutes delayed here and there). And what a station. It has recently been refurbished and you can tell!

When in Glasgow for the first time, it was a must to go on the Glasgow Subway! So it would make sense to embed this into the wider trip and take the metro just one stop to Central station right? Noooo! We were going the long way round.

So we purchased our tickets from Buchanan Street and got on our way. I’ll point out here that I really like having paper tickets that you tap instead of insert. It feels a lot more modern and Netherlands-esc with their disposable OV-chipkaart.

As we were walking down the escalators at Buchanan Street, we just about missed a train and unfortunately it was the new rolling stock currently being rolled out. The next service was sadly the classic trains!

The first thing I was thinking about throughout this metro trip was network expansion. It’s quite a simple system at the moment, just one radial line (which may do it credit in terms of reducing the ability of residual disruption to enter the system) but it was quite busy so expansion should be considered in my view.

This map from Appendix 1 of the SPT Internal Briefing Note on Options to Extend Glasgow Subway included this quite interesting map showing historic proposals for expansion of the network:

Anyway, when we eventually got to Glasgow Central on our quite significant detour, we grabbed a Costa and took a look at the quite incredible architecture the station has to offer, before boarding our train towards Gourock to have a quick look at Scotland’s western coast!

Here’s where work needs to be done, and this does get into a completely separate topic which I’ll cover in a dedicated blog post soon, I hope – and that’s anti-social behaviour. Teenagers and children (ages as low as I can only assume around 9) punching chairs on trains, making loud rackets, vaping, and causing general harassment to other passengers is completely unacceptable and nowhere near policed enough by staff or the BTP.

Once again, something I’ll get into more detail about in the future, but as someone who has been verbally harassed on public transport, I can’t stand it – at all. It’s called public transport – if you want to be a disturbance to your fellow passengers and cause harm to our rolling stock and our staff/customers, get a car.

After an extremely quick look at the coast on the Gourock side, we took the train back to Glasgow. It is quite a long one, with many stops – but I do believe there is an express one, which we didn’t use in this instance.

This time, we walked back to Glasgow Queen Street, and ended up at the Low Level stations. My first thought was – wow, this gives off Thameslink vibes. And it does give off Thameslink potential – but it isn’t there yet.

I‘d need to think a lot more about this, but making it more Thameslink-esc and increasing frequency of service would be a no-brainer. But I don’t know the area well enough and I would need to go up again I reckon!

And finally, we caught our slow train back to Edinburgh Park – unfortunately not a Class 385 but a Class 334 (which I’ve decided I don’t like!)

Right, I’ll leave this post (and this series) here but thanks very much for keeping up with these posts. It’s been great to share my experiences, and there’s obviously quite a lot England can learn from Scotland’s progress!

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