New trains unveiled for Glasgow Subway system
The first images of the new trains to be introduced on the Glasgow subway have been revealed as part of a £200m deal to overhaul the system.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) has awarded the contract to a Swiss/Italian consortium.
The authority said the new trains would offer quieter and smoother journeys and have dedicated facilities for wheelchair users for the first time.
The trains, which can run driverless, are due to be operational by 2020.
SPT confirmed that the £200m contract to supply new trains, signalling and equipment for the subway system, would be awarded to Stadler Bussnang AG / Ansaldo STS Consortium.
Swiss firm Stadler specialises in manufacturing rolling stock and will build the new trains, while Italian transportation firm Ansaldo specialises in signalling systems.
SPT chairman Jonathan Findlay said: "The new rolling stock will provide the travelling public with a much improved journey experience and the system will be more flexible in terms of frequency and availability."
The new trains will be the same length and size as the existing ones but will be a four-car set, as opposed to the current three-car set.
They will keep the open gangways to maximise space and allow for wheelchair access.
Wheelchair users will be able to access the system at St Enoch in the city centre and at the new transport interchange at Govan which is currently under construction.
SPT chief executive Gordon Maclennan said: "This contract is a key part of our plan to modernise the subway for generations to come.
"We are all aware of the proud rail history of the Subway as the third oldest in the world and our plans for modernisation will ensure that the subway continues to be an essential component in the transport network of the future."
The subway's signalling equipment, control systems and control centre will also be replaced to accommodate the new trains and improve reliability.
The system will include new half-height platform screen doors to maintain passenger safety and security.
Unions have raised some concerns over the fact that the new trains can run driverless.
Pat McIlvogue, an Unite union officer, said: "The modernisation and upgrading of the Glasgow subway system is welcome news.
"However we await further details about the impacts on jobs and terms and conditions due to automation as driverless trains are proposed to be available by 2020.
"There are questions around the health and safety of our members and the public that needs to be addressed and SPT must now fully engage with our workplace representatives as soon as possible."
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said the awarding of the contract was an "important milestone in the project".
"New rolling stock and signalling will help ensure that this historic metro system continues to serve passengers for many years to come," he said.
Peter Jenelten, of Swiss firm Stadler, said: "This project is a major milestone for Stadler. It is the first time that Stadler's rolling stock will be part of a driverless underground system."
The Glasgow subway is the third oldest underground system in the world and is 120 years old this year.
It is currently undergoing a £288m modernisation plan to upgrade or replace trains, signalling, platforms and stations.
The Scottish government is contributing £246m towards the cost.