GLASGOW’S UNDERGROUND WORLD

When in Glasgow:
Visit the underground world of Glasgow Central Station. The unique guide and major enthusiast, in his retirement, is otherwise employed as Network Rail’s Historian and Archivist.  He used to manage this station. During his career he also managed several other major stations in London, U.K, however, he always returned to his home (and station) Glasgow Central.

Lovely Victorian Supporting Pillars

Descending into Glasgow’s historic and present transport underworld made for a tremendously engaging and educational visit, the guide, bringing to life with his words this major, solid, surviving transport hub. He spoke of the hustle and bustle of transport, for and with all sorts of people, now and in previous times. Peering into the pitch black, eyes following the slim line of a torch beam, it felt like we were intruders into someone else’s world. We saw the outline of places on platforms that were still intact where men could not go, and neither could we. Women of the 19th century waiting for trains in that gloom had the ‘comfort’ of separated waiting areas.  Our way was barred for reasons of safety, which pertained to present day use.

A Disused Line

In a lower street level goods entry, (Glasgow is a city of hills) there were still signs of horse drawn transport. The resting places for the horses still exist.

Like many stations, the ‘streets’ under Glasgow Central station were put to stark use in the two major wars, (WW1 and WWII).  The guide did not mince his words about many elements of the nineteenth century social history associated with this station. He felt very strongly the roles of womenfolk in life and death in this station, was and had been, totally ignored… he was definitely intent on correcting with his words what he felt was a grave neglect and a major injustice.

Preserver Of  Industrial/Social Heritage

While we were in the depths exploring some unused tunnelling and were in our joint reveries sensing the spirits of the past, on a nearby spur an underground train whizzed through.

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SWEAT TUBES

Using the underground in London recently, with the high temperatures there have been, has been a steam bath nightmare and like everyone else, I carried a bottle of water.

The best place to travel in these sweat tubes is at either end of the carriage, if you can bear to let seats go and stand for the major part of a journey. Windows can be opened which allows a strong air flow through, albeit a warm one, that revives ones flagging energies. Never mind sagging knees, they become very secondary! U-(

Advisory announcements were made over the tannoy systems about self-help and seeking assistance if feeling unwell, and what not to do, such as not alerting emergency help between stations, in tunnels etc. The announcements were not a lot of use in the span of their delivery as there was too much interference from the wonderfully regular arrival of trains, at least that was so on the lines I was using. You could just make out the full pattern of advice after about three or four journeys or changes of line. Goodness knows what, if anything, foreign visitors made of these fractured pronouncements.

One evening many stations were closed simultaneously, though temporarily, or a few were closed for the duration of the night, because of flash flooding caused by tropical storms and torrential rain. I hit the disruption on the return journey. The threatening skies (seen when overground) and the forks of lightening were quite exciting. I did not get soaked, I experienced a barely noticeable dash of water and my bright rainbow-coloured umbrella did not see the light of day or the darkened skies of the night time.

The following day was noticeably fresher for a short while then the electric stormy tension began to build up again very quickly, though not to the same disruptive levels as seen the day before.