UK: The Scottish Government has confirmed the allocation of up to £246m to complete the funding package for a major modernisation of Glasgow’s 1 220 mm gauge small-profile metro. A further £41·5m is to be provided by transport authority Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.

The upgrading programme is already underway and includes station refurbishment, accessibility improvements, resignalling with CBTC and the procurement of new trains to replace the 41 cars supplied in the 1970s. Smartcard ticketing is also to be introduced.

SPT says the upgrade could reduce operations and maintenance costs on the 10 km circular line by £150m over 30 years, while ridership could grow from 13 million to 17 million a year.

‘Tendering for the new bespoke driverless trains and signalling that could improve how often our trains run has already begun and we’ve received submissions from world class firms’, said SPT Chairman Jonathan Findlay. ‘Working practices are also being addressed to make the Subway’s operation more flexible’.

Announcing the funding on March 26, the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment, Alex Neil, said the Subway ‘has been at the very heart of the city of Glasgow for 115 years, but the time has come to make this icon of Scottish transport fit for the 21st century’.