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Glasgow Municipal Transport 1933 Review


Formerly any work which dealt with Municipal Passenger Transport in Glasgow could be treated under the heading of " Tramways." Today, the system includes tram, bus and subway, and it is now necessary to deal wirh each department separately. The Tramways, being the senior branch of the service, must be given the priority which their long years of public service merit. The people of the city have watched with interest the development of the Transport Department since its inauguration when the Corporation laid rails in the streets and leased the Track to the Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company. They approved of the action of their civic chiefs when, after the expiry of the lease, it was proposed to run the system under Municipal auspices, and by their support contributed in making the Glasgow Tramways one of the most successful Municipal enterprises in the world.

Although privately operated for a number of years, the Glasgow tramways have always been owned by the Corporation. In 1870 two London syndicates promoted Bills in Parliament to construct tramways in Glasgow and were opposed on both schemes by the Municipality. An agreement, however, was reached between the Corporation and the promoters to amalgamate the two Bills, the Corporation withdrawing their opposition on the understanding that a clause be inserted giving them the option of taking over the Bill within six months after the passing of the Act. Within the stipulated time the Corporation decided to exercise their right, and by the powers of the Tramways Act of 1870 they proceeded with the construction of the track, borrowing the necessary capital on the security of the " Common Good " Fund of the City. A point worthy of notice is that at no time has the Transport Department raised its capital on the security of the city rates. In 1871 a further agreement was concluded between the Corporation and the original promoters, whereby it was arranged that the former should lease to the Company, for a period of twenty-three years, the tramways about to be constructed. On Monday, 19th August, 1872, the Tramways Company ran the first tram.

Excerpt from the " Glasgow Herald," Tuesday, 20th August, 1872:—


" Yesterday forenoon the system of tramway travelling was inaugurated in Glasgow. A Bill authorising the Corporation to construct Tramways through various districts of the City having been passed by Parliament, and contracts obtained for the execution of the work, ground was formally broken in Great Western Road by Bailie Watson, in presence of a number of gentlemen, on the 22nd of September last year. The work of construction thus formally commenced has been carried on continuously ever since, until the greater portion of one of the, main routes has been completed. The part still unfinished is that from St. George's Cross to the Botanic Gardens, the delay being the formation of the line across the bridge over the Kelvin. At first it was only contemplated to place a single line of rails over the bridge, but the Tramways Company, considering it desirable to have a double line of rails throughput the entire route, entered into negotiations with the Road Trustees, who, we believe, have now given their consent to the double line, so that the last portion of the contract for this main route will be gone into and completed with all speed. That portion of the tramway from St. George's Cross to Eglinton Toll being completed, the Directors decided on opening it at once, and for that purpose had the lines inspected by Colonel Hutchison for the Board of Trade, who reported as to their substantiality, and authorised their being opened for public traffic."

The First Horse Tram

Single Deck Tram 1898 - 1901

" Yesterday forenoon, by invitation of the Directors of the Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company, the Lord Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council, and a large number of gentlemen assembled at St. George's Cross (junction of St. George's Road and New City Road) in order to formally open the line. Seven trams were brought from the depot in Cambridge Street and ranged along the Great Western Road, two or three being drawn by horses three abreast and one in front with postillions in uniform, while the others were drawn by two horses abreast and one with postillion in front. The crowd which assembled to witness the ceremony was very large, and various comments were made as the trams, drawn by splendid horses and under the guidance of smart, neatly dressed postillions, ran past the Cross to their station on the Great Western Road. The first tram, drawn by four horses—three abreast and one in front—was reserved for the Lord Provost and Magistrates and Town Council, and it moved off at five minutes to twelve o'clock amid the cheers of the multitude. The tram passed smoothly along the rails, the streets on the route being lined with spectators, all anxious to see the first public trial of a new method of conveyance which, in a short time, will monopolise the traffic, and run the present omnibuses off the street. Special interest was manifested as to how the trams would take the sharp curves when leaving Cambridge Street and passing into Sauchiehall Street. The tram slowed a little but kept the rail easily, and there is no doubt that when both men and horses become better acquainted with the trams, and the road becomes smoother, the curves will be taken quickly and easily. It required a good deal of vigilance on the part of the police to keep the line clear—more especially at Argyle Street and Jamaica Bridge, where there is such an amount of traffic, but, although this new method of travelling revolutionises nearly all the former rules of the road, a little practice and a little care will go a great way in remedying any evils that might be found to exist. The run to the head of Eglinton Street was done slowly, and some gentlemen were heard to say that they were disappointed at the rate of speed; but the return journey from the head of Eglinton Street to the depot in Cambridge Street—a couple of miles—was accomplished in 13 minutes. This speed might even be increased, and doubtless it will be so in a short time. The road and the machines are new, and some allowance in time must be made for a few days; the length of the road is about two miles and a half, but the Directors have resolved to restrict the fare for the whole run to 2d., and to the top of Union Street from either end the fare is only Id.

As each tram arrived on the return journey it deposited its passengers at the depot in Cambridge Street; and after all the gentlemen were assembled the Lord Provost performed the ceremony of inauguration. Having ascended the steps of one of the trams, the Lord Provost said—' I cannot help congratulating you upon the very successful trip which we have now had. Notwithstanding that everything is rough and new, we have accomplished the journey of two miles in 13 minutes, or at a rate of 9 miles per hour, and I do not think any of you are very much fatigued with the jolting of the tram. You are all aware of the great importance of the means of transport between the different parts of the City. It saves our time—which is valuable in the present day—it saves fatigue, and it brings one part of the City in connection with another. Great improvements have taken place within the last 40 years in this respect. I am old enough to recollect the time when there was no cab-stand in Glasgow; and I recollect the time when we had no omnibuses.. As the City increased we got cab-stands, and very soon after we got a service of omnibuses, to which we are very much indebted, for the convenience and benefit of the town, and I cannot help saying that we are extremely indebted to our friends, Messrs. Menzies & Walker, for the excellent services of omnibuses which they have had for a long period in Glasgow. Although our friend, Bailie Moir, has had occasion to brush them up now and again for overcrowding, I think on the whole the traffic has been very well conducted, and I am glad to say it has been of great advantage to these gentlemen themselves as well as to the public at large. We are now about to inaugurate a new epoch in the history of our street traffic; and I think it will be seen that the new mode of travelling is infinitely superior to the old. We have had experience that by this new system we will save an immense amount of fatigue—so much so that a working man living in the suburbs and coming into the City in one of these trams will feel as if he were in an easy chair. There will also, I think, be an immense saving of horse power; and besides this the accommodation to the public will be very great. Indeed, it will be superfluous to say that the Town Council, as well as the other gentlemen, wish to see the public properly and comfortably served. Objections have been taken to this mode of travelling by people who possess private carriages, but I have no doubt everything will be done that can be done to remove these objections. When the tramways are in full operation—and the plant being new it is impossible that everything can be done at once—every effort will be made to remove every objection that can possibly be made against them. And now, in terms of the Agreement under the Act of Parliament, I have the pleasure of authorising the Directors of the Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company to use and to work the tramways which we have now opened. I trust, by-and-by, there will be another route opened—from the west end of Sauchiehall Street to Port Eglinton—and that in a short time after that we shall have the line from Whiteinch to Bridgeton, which is in the course of formation. And now, Mr. Sheldon, I have the pleasure of stating that you are authorised to use these tramways and to work them, and I have no doubt you will do everything that will tend to the comfort, the convenience and the safety of the public."

Double Deck Open Top Tram.

(Photograph also shows one of the first police boxes invented in Glasgow by Fireman Eggar..Michael Meighan)

Standard Double Deck Tram.

Five years before the expiry of the Company's lease, negotiations were entered into for its renewal. The lessees, however, found themselves unable to accept the conditions proposed by the Corporation and the negotiations with the Company were broken off.

On November 12th, 1891, the Town Council resolved to exercise their already existing powers by taking the operating of the tramways into their own hands—the first Corporation to take a step which was destined to shape and influence Municipal tramways policy everywhere. Negotiations were accordingly opened with the Glasgow Tramway and Omnibus Company for the acquisition of their premises, plant and equipment, but terms could not be arranged, the Company declaring that it was their intention to run opposition omnibuses. With but two years of the Company's lease to run the Corporation were faced with the formidable task of creating, planning and organising an entirely new tramway system for the city, ready to operate on Ist July, 1894—some 18 months ahead. On the 30th June, 1894, the Company's lease expired, and on the following morning the tramways were operated by the Corporation Tramways 'Department.

Although during the years of the Company's lease, and for some time after its expiry, horse drawn vehicles were the order of the day, the Tramways Committee had not lost sight of the question of introducing mechanical traction. During the lease of the Company, the Committee were unable to make alterations in the permanent way. It was therefore decided to hold the subject over until the whole system was under Municipal control.

It was not until 1896 that the question of the most approved system for the mechanical operation of the tramways was seriously considered. Various methods were advocated, and after due deliberation the Corporation finally decided to equip electrically a short route in the city on the overhead trolley system.

Speaking of this period at the Tramway Jubilee celebrations in 1922, Mr. John Young, the first General Manager of the Tramways Department, gave the following graphic account of the inauguration of electric traction . . . " Thereafter, in 1897, its adoption was resolved upon by the Committee and the Corporation, and, as a demonstration, it was first of all installed by our own staff on the Springburn route in 1898. This proved so satisfactory, that within a few months the Corporation passed a resolution to have the whole system similarly converted, and expressed the hope that the electric trams would be in operation at the opening of the International Exhibition at Kelvingrove in May, 1901. The change involved a great upheaval. It meant taking up and relaying with heavier 60 feet rails practically the whole track, with the horse trams running all the time; laying down ducts all along the routes for the distributing cables; setting up a vast electric system, including a large power station and sub-stations, and electrically equipping all the lines, rolling stock, and depots; and designing, building and equipping in our own factory the larger trams for which, two or three years later, we produced the unobtrusive top cover, thus completing what practically remains the Standard Glasgow Tram. I may mention that we were indebted to Sir J. J. Burnet for one or two of the finishing touches. In view of this second application of the time-limit, plans and specifications were promptly prepared, and again operations were simultaneously pushed forward at all points—much of it with our own staff; and on the site purchased on the canal at Pinkston, the Power Station was brought into being, fully equipped, to the plans of Mr. H. F. Parshall. The only hitch in the whole operations occurred through the brickwork contractors throwing up their Pinkston contract when they had little more than the foundation laid. The only way out of the impasse in time was for us to secure the materials and employ direct labour to carry on and complete the buildings. All this was done. The result of it all was that the opening day of the Exhibition found the electric tram in operation, according to plan. They got a most hearty reception. And again I was truly thankful. The success which followed, as is well-known was unprecedented; fares, always the lowest on record, were further reduced; the service was speedily increased and extended; and the revenue kept mounting by leaps and bounds. Electricity had opened a new era with boundless possibilities for the future of the tramways; Glasgow's example in this second pioneering departure was again closely followed by other Corporations; and very soon the system was practically universal. This was the second stage—the exodus from the bondage and limitations of horse traction. And now a few words on finance. With financial success assured af the beginning in 1894, and in the confident anticipation of mechanical traction, substantial depreciation and renewal funds, in addition to the Statutory Sinking Fund, were established. The result was—and this is apt to be forgotten—that at the end of seven years of successful horse traction, the accumulated reserves practically covered the cost of converting the lines for electric traction; and the continuance of the same reserve and sinking funds, as you all know, resulted at the end of the first sixteen years of ever-increasing prosperity under electric traction, in enabling my good friend and successor Mr. Dalrymple to announce an accumulation sufficient to wipe off the whole capital of close upon £4,000,000. Only a few words more on the long view. Even with horse traction, the view taken by the Corporation was that, while the City proper was their first and chief charge, it was sound business to extend the benefits of the Glasgow Tramways to the surrounding communities, and from time to time, powers to this end were obtained with the goodwill and co-operation of the neighbouring authorities. But the advent of electric traction disclosed a greatly wider sphere. The results and potentialities it brought were such that one could scarcely escape the conviction that it now became the reasonable function of the Glasgow Tramways, in the broad interests of the larger community, and on fair terms, to make the system available to a greater extent for linking up surrounding populous places in the Clyde area with the City, which forms the great centre of attraction and influence. The Corporation of Glasgow, as usual, took the long view. In the next few years, and with general approval, negotiations had been carried through and powers obtained for extensions to Renfrew, Paisley, Giffnock, and Rouken Glen, Cambuslang, Uddingston, Bishop-briggs, Dalmuir, and other places, in addition to needful extensions within the City. Construction followed closely, so that we had the early satisfaction of seeing the larger policy established, and we know that to this day it has never been lost sight of.

THE POWER SUPPLY.—As already noted, the Corporation from the very inauguration of electric traction generated their own power. This fact speaks volumes for the enterprise of the department in its early days, for it was mainly on account of this that running charges were sustained at a reasonably low level.


The main generating station is situated on the North bank of the Forth and Clyde Canal at Pinkston. The ground, which was purchased on 4th May, 1899, extends to 18,997 square yards.

The excavations for the foundations of the Station were commenced on Ist September, 1899, and upwards of 50,000 tons of material had to be removed in order to place the foundations on the solid rock.

The building consists of a steel framework cased in brick and plaster. The building is 244 feet long by 200 feet broad and 88 feet high inside. The Station is divided into three sections, viz., boiler room, 244 feet by 84 feet; turbine room, 244 feet by 75 feet; auxiliary plant room, 244 feet by 40 feet. The height of the boiler room is 70 feet, that of the turbine room 64 feet, and that of the auxiliary room 52 feet. The two chimney stacks are built of brick with ornamental stone and terracotta mouldings; each is 263 feet high, the internal diameter being 16 feet and the width at the base 50 feet. Although from time to time extensions and modifications to the equipment of the Power Station have been necessary, in order to keep pace with the advance of modern engineering, the Power Station building stands to-day substantially as it was built in 1899.

Pinkston Power Station.

COAL. The two railway systems have access to the Power Station for the delivery of coal. The L.M.S. (London Midland Scottish) Railway comes in on an upper level with 6 tracks and feeds eight hoppers, whilst the L.N.E. (London North Eastern) Railway comes in on the ground level with one track and feeds two hoppers. Electric locomotives are used for shunting and tipping purposes.

The total bunker capacity is 6,000 tons, 4,000 tons being accommodated in the outside bunkers and 2,000 tons in the bunkers over the boilers, and in addition there is ground storage for 6,000 tons.

The coal is carried from the outside bunkers to the storage bunkers, built over the top of the boilers, by two mechanical bucket conveyors. Each conveyor can handle 50 tons per hour and runs at a speed of 45 feet per minute. The coal passes from the overhead bunkers into specially designed automatic weighing machines and thence into the boiler hoppers.

ASH HANDLING. The ashes are dealt with by means of the sluicing type of conveyor. A trough, built on the basement floor under the Ash Hopper, is inclined towards the delivery at an angle. Ashes falling from the grates are quenched and carried away in a stream of water to a swirl pit, from which the water and ash are pumped to an overhead bunker, which is divided into two compartments, so that when one compartment is filled with ash it can be allowed to drain, whilst the other is being filled. These bunkers are provided with shutes, from which the ashes are shot into wagons or carts for removal.

Ash Handling Plant.

BOILERS. The original equipment of the Boiler Room was 16 water tube boilers, each capable of producing 20,000 lbs. of steam per hour at a working pressure of 160 lbs. per square inch with a superheat of 75 deg. F. Six larger boilers were installed in 1909, each having a capacity of 25,000 lbs. of steam per hour at 160 lbs. pressure with a superheat of 130 deg. F.

In 1928 it was decided to recondition the whole Power Station, and after investigation, 300 lbs. per square inch was fixed as the new pressure. Six new boilers were installed during the years 1930-1933, each with a normal capacity of 50,000 lbs. of steam per hour at the above pressure and a final steam temperature of 700 deg. F. In order to accommodate these six boilers, ten of the old boilers have been removed. Each of the new boilers is equipped with water walls, economiser, forced and induced draught fans, pre-airheater and soot blowing apparatus, and is fixed by two independent grates. The grate area per boiler is 476 square feet, and the heating surface 8736 square feet.

FEED PUMPS. There are five feed pumps, four of which are motor driven, each with a capacity of 10,000 gallons per hour, and one steam turbo pump with a capacity of 27,000 gallons per hour, against a steam pressure of 300 lbs. These pumps work in conjunction with a closed feed system, the make-up water being obtained from two storage tanks placed on girders between the two main chimneys.

The boiler feed piping is arranged on the double ring system, with automatic feed regulators.

An arrangement is incorporated so that the pumps can, if necessary, supply the old boilers at 160 lbs.

The main steam ring is situated in the basement, the design being extremely short and simple. The receivers are welded throughout, and all valves have been so located so as to be accessible from the floor level. At either end of the steam ring a reducing valve and desuperheater is placed, so that any plant requiring steam at 160 lbs. per square inch can be supplied.

The necessary boiler measurement and recording instruments are mounted on a switchboard beside the boiler.

TURBO. ROOM. The power plant and electrical equipment may be divided into three principal sections—first, the main generating plant; secondly, the auxiliary plant, which includes house transformer, cranes and electric motors, and thirdly, the switch and control gear.

TURBO.-ALTERNATORS. There are five turbo.-alternators of the following capacity:—

1—3,000 kw. installed 1909.
1—5,000 kw. installed 1911.
1—5,000 kw. installed 1914.
1 — 10,000 kw. installed 1923.
1 — 10,000 kw. installed 1931.

The total generating capacity is therefore 33,000 kw., the voltage is 6,600, frequency 25, and the speed 1,500 R.P.M.

Tho turbine of the first set installed (3,000 kw.) is of the pure reaction type made under licence from Messrs. C. Parson & Co., Ltd. The steam pressure to this set is 150 lbs. per square inch, with a final temperature of 300 deg. C.

The second turbine is of the impulse-reaction type. The steam pressure is 150 lbs. per square inch, with a final temperature of 300 deg, C.

The third turbine is of the single casing type, fitted with impulse blading throughout. Steam is supplied at a pressure of 300 lbs. per square inch and at a temperature of 700 deg. F. All parts of the turbine exceeding 450 deg. F. are made of steel. The main coupling between the turbine and alternator is of the flexible claw type and is arranged to limit the end play of the generator shaft, oil duct being provided to lubricate the claw with oil from the adjacent bearings.

The governor is carried on a vertical shaft running at a low speed and driven by a worm-gear from the main turbine shaft. It is provided with a hand operated gear, by means of which the speed can be adjusted 5 per cent, above or below normal speed when running. This gear can also be automatically operated by a reversible D.C. motor controlled from the switchboard.
The oil for lubricating is supplied under pressure from a rotary pump driven by a worm on the turbine shaft. A small steam driven standby pump is also incorporated.

The fourth turbine is of the single casing curtis multistage design. Steam is supplied at a pressure of 300 lbs. per square inch and a final temperature of 700 deg. F. The governing and lubrication is similar to the previous set, by the same manufacturers.

The fifth turbine is of the single cylinder Rateau multicellular impulse type. Steam is supplied at a pressure of 300 lbs. per square inch and a final temperature of 700 deg. F. The governing is effected by a sensitive centrifugal governor connected to the governor valve through an oil relay. The moving parts of the governor have forced lubrication, and a hand adjustment is provided for obtaining 5 per cent, speed variation above or below normal while the turbine is running. The lubrication is of the forced type supplied from a rotary valveless oil pump, an auxiliary pump being provided for flooding the main bearing when starting up.

The condensing plant consists of 5 condensers, one for each turbine and situated immediately below the turbine. The auxiliary equipment includes circulating pumps, extraction pumps, ejectors, etc.

The alternators are five in number and are of the capacity stated.

The excitation for the first two sets installed is supplied by 100 steam driven exciters working at 300 R.P.M.

The remaining sets are provided with exciters directly coupled to the shaft, and provision has also been made for standby excitation supply from the steam driven exciters.
Lighting and power (A.C.) for the Station and auxiliary purposes is supplied by a house transformer. A D.C. supply is available from rotary converters situated in the turbine room.

SWITCHGEAR. The switch and control gear form a most important section of the equipment. It may conveniently be divided into three main groups:—-(I) High Tension Alternating Current Switchgear, (2) Control Board, and (3) L.T.A.C. and D.C. Switchboards.

The metal clad switchgear consists of apparatus of standard design for use on a duplicate system of three phase bus-bars, embodying a method of bus-bar selection by means of selector switches, vertical type, with automatic screening arrangements provided for covering the fixed plug sockets when the breaker is lowered.

The oil circuit breakers are of the three pole type, having two breaks per phase, the three phases being contained in a common switch tank of welded steel plate suitably reinforced. The oil circuit breakers are arranged for remote electrical operation by means of closing solenoids and D.C. shunt trip coils. The oil breaker unit is raised and lowered by means of motor driven mechanism and is supported in a positive manner in the raised position.

The design of the oil switch breaker obviates any danger of accident whilst operators are working on the unit.

Full interlocking devices are provided, the tripping gear mechanism being arranged to insure that if an endeavour is made to lower the oil breaker while still closed the oil breaker automatically trips at the commencement of the lowering operation. This interlock also prevents the oil circuit breaker being raised while closed.
The bus-bars are in duplicate and are compound filled. They are located immediately above the oil circuit breakers. The current and potential transformers are contained in oil filled compartments in accessible positions. The switch room is situated on the ground floor,

E.H.T. Switch Gear.

CONTROL ROOM. The operating board is in the Control Room, which is situated on the second floor of the building immediately above the oil circuit breakers, and is so arranged that the operator can see at a glance the position of all switches under his control. All panels are equipped with suitable protective gear in order that faulty apparatus and sections of the system may be immediately isolated. In addition a mimic diagram of the bus-bars in chromium strip runs the full length of the switchboard with electrically operated indicators and pilot lamps to show the bus-bars in service and the position of the oil circuit breakers. The Control Room is also equipped with two synchronising panels, loud speaking telephones to Turbine Room and Boiler Room, Tirrell Regulator panel and steam driven exciter panels.

L.T., A.C. and D.C. switchboards are situated in the Turbine Room on the second floor level, and are equipped for the control of three rotary converters, house transformers, and the supply to all local circuits; A.C. power and lighting and D.C. power and lighting.


The system is divided into areas each served by a sub-station and the following short summary gives, in non-technical language, some idea of the means employed to supply those areas with the current necessary for the running of the trams and also of the duties of the staff in charge of the stations.

As will be seen from the following table five sub-stations were required when the system was wholly electrified in 1901. For a few years prior to this, however, an experimental route had been in operation, the power being generated at a small temporary station in the Springburn district, which was closed down when Pinkston was brought into commission. As the system expanded more sub-stations were required to feed the outlying areas and at the present time they number eleven.


The main items of plant in each sub-station are, the Static Transformers, the Rotary Converters and the Switchboard. The high-tension current from Pinkston is received on the A.C. bus-bars at the sub-stations at a pressure of 6600 volts.

From these it passes through oil-switches and enters the Transformers on the primary side. These are oil cooled and have a ratio of 20/1, Primary Volts, 6600/310-350, the variable low tension voltage being obtained by various Tappings. From the secondary side of the Transformers it is led by single core lead-covered cables of large capacity through knife switches on the Switchboard to the slip rings of the Rotary Convertors. Its passage through the various windings converts it to Direct or Continuous current and it is then led by way of the D.C. Bus-bars and control switches to the distribution system.

 The return path to the Sub-Station is by the trolley-wire, through the trams to the rails and thence by way of the rail return cables to the negative side of the Rotary Converters. On the D.C. side of the Rotary shaft a negative booster is mounted whose function is to assist the return of the current by maintaining the rail at as near earth potential as possible.
The Engineer in charge of a Sub-Station has his finger on the pulse of that part of the system within the area served by his Station and can tell by a glance at the instruments on the switchboard the load on any of the sections.

On the opening of a circuit-breaker he is able to determine in a short time whether it is the result of a fault, or is due to an overload caused by too many trams on the section. In the latter event the breaker will in all probability remain 11 in 11 when closed, but if the former, it will again open, in which case the test is repeated three times allowing a short interval of time between each operation. Having determined that there is a fault on the section, the junior attendant accompanies an emergency tower waggon to the location with the least possible delay. The cause of the stoppage may be a broken trolley wire, or a defective car, or a fault in the cables. Either of the first two are quickly remedied, but in the latter case the assistant must test out the cables, which he does from the section box. Having located the fault, he isolates the section from its feeders, and by the use of inter-connector switches, feeds through from an adjoining section, which permits the traffic to resume. He then reports the altered arrangements in feeding to the engineer at the sub-station by portable telephone.


Power transmission from Pinkston to the sub-stations is by three-core high tension A.C. cables and from these to the system by low tension D.C. cables.

These cables are lead covered and insulated by impregnated paper.

The lay-out of the system is such that in all cases an alternative method of feeding the various sections of the line is available.

Cable Car No1

The feeders running from the Sub-Stations feed from four to nine half-mile sections, terminating in switch pillars at about the centre of the feeder districts. From these feeding points distributor cables are run towards the adjoining feeders, to which they can in cases of emergency be joined by means of inter-connector cables running between adjacent feeder sections.

(55 & 56)
Can anyone help?

COPLAWHILL WORKS. Here pertains chiefly to the maintenance of the rolling stock, permanent way material and tools, repairs to power and sub-station plant, as well as those of the cable and overhead systems.

Upon entering from Pollokshaws Road the Coplawhill Sub-Station, Repair Wagons and Motor Tower Wagon Garage stand to the right, after passing which the Works proper are reached. From what might be termed the entrance hall the various shops and departments branch off at right angles. On the left are situated the Works Offices, which include the Manager's Room, Foreman's Room, Sample Room and General Stores.

The Smithy covers an area of 800 square yards, in which there are 25 fires, two 7½ cwt. steamhammers, five pneumatic hammers, one gas-heated oven for case-hardening, and two for tempering spring plates, and a furnace for heating angle iron and wheel tyres. Each fire is fed with an independent blast, the fan being driven in every case by its own unit. The brass foundry covers 250 square yards; there are in this department six fires, two white metal pots, an emery grinder, two moulding machines, operated by compressed air, a gate cutter for dressing the castings and aj core oven. The plant contained in the latter shop enables the department to manufacture all jobs of a non-ferreous nature, a factor which, when reckoned in money terms, helps considerably in reducing costs.

The Sawmill, almost the same size as the Smithy, is comprehensively equipped with the most modern machinery. Here, not only is the rough sawing done, but work of every description. Coachwork, interior furnishings and the like, first begin to fake shape in this department. The plant in the Sawmill comprises three circular saws, two band saws, two swing saws, one jig saw, one square chisel mortising and tennoning machine, one panel and one surface planer, one double and two single spindlemoulding machines, one four-cutter and one six-cutter moulding machine, two boring and two sandpapering machines, and lathe.

The shop is heated by overhead pipes and the atmosphere, benches and machine beds are kept free of an accumulation of sawdust and chips by automatic suction plant, which discharges the refuse into the boiler furnace. The entire plant of the Sawmill is driven by two motors, a 30 h.p. and a 50 h.p., and the suction plant is driven separately and directly by a 28 h.p. motor. Beyond the Sawmill, but in the same bay, are situated the machine shop, tool room, brass finishers and fitting shop. An idea of the machinery and equipment, all of the most modern type, can be gauged from the following. Installed in the machine shop are: steel wheel and tyre turning lathes, gas and electric tyre heating appliance, two wheel presses, two vertical wheel boring machines, punching and shearing machines, saws, plate bending rolls, circle cutting machines and guillotines, screw cutting and surfacing lathes, one punching and stamping machine, turret, capstan and monitor lathes, two pipe screwing machines, planing, shaping, slotting, slot drilling, milling, and gear cutting machines, two jib vertical boring machines and one four spindle vertical.

The brass finishers' shop is just as exhaustively equipped, its plant consisting of ordinary and turret lathes, polishing and grinding machines, emery wheels, one No. 3 universal milling machine, one single and two triple bolt screwing machines, two jib vertical boring machines, eight jobbing verticals, three 8-inch brass finishers' turret lathes, one 9-inch brass finishers' turret lathe with gap, one 7-inch and one 5-inch brass finishers' jobbing lathes, three brass polishing and grinding machines.

The following are the most important units in the tool room equipment:— Two No, 2 surface grinding machines, one No. 3 universal grinding machine, one No. 3 universal cutter and reamer grinding machine, one twist drill grinding machine; one screw slotting machine, one demagnetiser and one oil testing machine.

With the exception of those machines driven by their own motor unit and which are therefore of the beltless type, the motive power to the machinery in general is supplied by three lines of shafting, two of which are parallel to each other and the third at right angles. Each line of shafting is driven by a separate motor, there being two of 50 h.p. each and one of 30 h.p.

One of the most spacious shops in the Car Works is the paint shop, which covers an area of two thousand square yards and which is capable of accommodating fully thirty trams. In addition to the floor space already mentioned overhead is a gallery providing a further 380 square yards, for handling light work, such as french polishing and lettering. The shop is heated by means of steam pipes laid in ducts placed between the rails directly under the tram bodies, thus expediting the finishing of the jobs. The paint store has its own paint mixing machines driven by their own motor.

To the left of the paint shop stands the tram body shop, where tram finishing and joinery work are executed. Beyond this shop and in the same bay, is situated a department devoted solely to sheet iron, tin plate, roof and stair rail work.

The tram overhaul and repair shop comprises three bays, each being 630 feet long by 40 feet broad. As its name implies, tram repairing, reconditioning and rebuilding in all their stages are carried out here. Two of the bays are traversed by 15 ton electric cranes, the third bay is used for the periodical overhaul of tram electrical equipment. All the pits are equipped with screw jacks mounted on small carriages for the removal of motor armatures. The pits are also equipped with compressed air lines, used for blowing carbon dust out of motor cases and armature winding.

Above the tram overhaul shop is the electrical repair shop, covering a floor space of a thousand square yards. Its equipment includes one commutator lathe, one brass finishers' lathe, two boring machines and two coil-winding machines and one armature winding machine.


The building and maintenance of the trams is, as already stated, carried out at the Coplawhill Works. Excluding the first 80 trams which the department owned and the 53 recently acquired, the workshop staff have built all the vehicles. The programme of re-conditioning the entire fleet, which has recently been completed, prevented the Department embarking upon the task of building the 53 new high speed bogie trams.

The total number of trams now in use for passenger service is 1100, comprising:—

53 8=wheeled bogie high speed trams.
763 Re-conditioned high speed 4-wheelers.
258 Old type.
26 Trams of various types, including single deck vehicles in service on the Duntocher route.

The re-conditioning of the fleet, thus bringing it up to modern traffic requirements, proved a great undertaking. It must be remembered that the re-conditioned vehicles are, to all intents and purposes, practically new trams. From the road wheels to the trolley new features have been embodied in their construction. The improvements and alterations are apparent not only to the practical man, but the more striking features are patent to the most casual observer. Some idea of the thoroughness of the reconditioning programme can be gained from the following facts.

The wheel base has been extended from 7 ft. to 8 ft. and the diameter of the road wheels reduced from 3If in. to 27 in. Each tram is now equipped with two high speed motors, each capable of exerting 60 h.p. at 600 volts as against the 30 and 40 h.p. motors formerly in use. Braking equipment has been brought up to date also by the introduction of a new air brake and a more powerful electro magnetic brake. To complete the details of improved mechanical and electrical equipment, mention must be made of the new overhead Collector apparatus. The trolley pole and wheel, with its pin point contact, is superseded by the Bow Trolley Collector plate, which presents to the live wire a larger area of contact and is incapable of jumping the overhead cable. At the moment also, experiments are being carried out with the Pantograph and collector plate, but at this stage it would be unwise to give an opinion of their efficiency or otherwise.

As regards coachwork and interior appointments, the comfort enjoyed by the passenger is reflected in the popularity of the tramcar, which easily holds first place as the most convenient, economic, and safest medium of passenger transport. Amongst the alterations effected are, the introduction of upholstered seats placed laterally on both decks and the equipment of the upper deck with tubular electric heaters, while both decks have been entirely enclosed with vestibules. These with several minor changes, such as improved lighting and destination screen boxes, make the re-conditioned unit to all intents and purposes a new tram.

With the exception of the 8-wheel bogie trams and the single deck trams for special services, all trams in the service are standard. Their overall length is 30 feet; weight unloaded is approximately 12 tons and their passenger capacity is 59, 38 on upper deck and 21 below.

The new bogie trams carry an additional nine passengers and measures 33^ feet overall.

Accommodation for housing and storing this fleet of MOO trams is provided in the Department's twelve depots, nine of which are situated within the city boundaries, the remainder being at Coatbridge, Renfrew and Elderslie.


Many new and interesting features have been incorporated in the overhead work, which of recent months has been entirely overhauled. The trolley wire is supported by span wires fixed to rosettes on buildings wherever this method is deemed advisable, but the pole suspension method is the predominant one throughout the system.

The policy for the last few years has been to dispense with the guard wire except where a large number of telegraph or telephone wires are erected alongside the trolley wire. In the case of only a few 'phone wires crossing the track, an arrangement has been reached with the P.O. Department, whereby the latter replace the bare wires with insulated wire.
Bow Trolley Operation. The whole of the overhead work has been reconstructed with a view to ensuring satisfactory and efficient operation of the Bow Trolley. All fittings which protruded below the wire, such as single or double pulloffs have been removed and replaced with more modern equipment. Old fashioned frogs and crossings have been removed and lighter and much more simple fixtures erected.

Trolley Wire. A new section of Trolley Wire has been developed for this work, with a grooved head, similar to Standard 4/0 Grooved Round wire, but the lower part of the wire is rectangular in section and presents a full width wearing surface to the Collector Plate. If it is found that heavy wear is taking place at any point on the line, such as under low bridges, it is an easy matter to erect twin wires. I In the days of Trolley wheel operation such a method could not be resorted to, but if is quite a simple and effective expedient with the Bow Trolley system.

Trans- Catenary Suspension. As a result of past experience the Department have perfected a method of dealing with this phase of overhead engineering which is worthy of particular mention. It is of course an admitted fact that no matter what type of collector is used, it is subjected to a blow every time it passes beneath a span wire or any other heavy fitting.

In order to soften the blow the Trans-Catenary method of suspension has been adopted. This involves the use of a shorf span about 4 feet long hung from the main span, and to this subsidiary span is attached the fitting which carries the Trolley wire. The height of the Trolley wire is approximately 20 feet 6 inches from the level of the rails, and centred above the track. The poles used are of two sizes, designated No. 3 and No. 4, the former being used for straight track work and the latter when curves have to be negotiated or at feeder points. All poles are 32 ft. 6 in. in length over all, and are erected with an incline of I in 36, but become almost vertical when the line is erected. The rosettes are constructed of malleable cast-iron and are furnished with rubber buffers for absorbing the vibrations of the wires.


The modern tramway track, carrying as it does the latest type of high speed trams, must be kept in first-class order, both for the safety as well as for the comfort of the travelling public.

Before the advent of the fast moving omnibus, people were content with trams travelling at an average speed of 9 At that speed the same accuracy in laying and levelling the track was not required and the same high standard in repair work was not so necessary as is the case in these days of high speeds. In the area served by the Glasgow Corporation Transport Department there are 129^ miles of double track, 88^ miles within and 41 miles outwith the city boundary. To keep this track in a proper state of repair 750 men of various grades are employed all the year round, but even this large staff has to be augmented in the summer months when the annual renewal programme is being carried out.

TRACK CONSTRUCTION. As regards track construction it can be truthfully said that Glasgow has tried out practically every known method during the last 30 years with varying success. It has been found, however, that the track best suited to withstand the strain of modern tram traffic is one constructed on the " rigid " principle. The rails are laid on a concrete foundation 6 in. in depth and lined and levelled, while tie-bars at 5 ft. intervals maintain the proper gauge. Hardwood packing strips raise the sole of the rail about \ in. above the foundation and into this space is poured a compound of coal tar pitch and pulverised whinstone. When the joints have been welded, the rails are parged with a compo of sand and cement, and the track paved. Whin or granite chips are then brushed between the setts, and the whole of the paving, after having been well beaten, is grouted with the pitch compound already mentioned. This type of track is practically rigid, and while there is some little resilience in the compound beneath the rail, it is only of value so far as it prevents pulverisation of the material; and further softening spoils the rigidity of the track. When used as a paving grout, a slightly larger proportion of oil is added to increase the resilience and adhesive properties. The rails used for straight track work are B.S.S. No. 8, and for curves B.S.S. No. 8c. These are of the girder type, 7 in. deep and 60 ft. long, the former weighing 112.9 and the latter 119.2 lbs. per yard. All joints are electrically welded; plain side plates of rolled mild steel, 12 in. long, being used, and the joint further strengthened by welding a 10 in. x 8 in. x | in. sole plate under the joint.

PAVING. The greater portion of the track is paved with granite setts, but experiments with other classes of paving have been tried from time to time. To reduce the noise caused by vehicular traffic, certain parts of the track in the centre of the City were paved with hardwood blocks, but the high initial cost, and the fact that the blocks had a tendency to rise, did not encourage any extensive use of this class of paving. More success attended the experiments with nidged paving. The square dressed granite blocks, accurately shaped by masons, gave the street a handsome appearance. But here again the initial cost, and also the maintenance cost was very high, and only a few of the more important thoroughfares were treated in this manner.

Within recent years several miles of track have been surfaced with a compound of ground steel slag and bitumen, and have given great satisfaction, the maintenance costs for the first five years being almost negligible. After the rails have been laid on the usual concrete foundation, and the track ready for paving, concrete is filled in to within 2 in. of the head of the rail. The surface coating is then spread while still hot and consolidated by road roller. The fact that the concrete which replaces the paving has been spread after the foundation concrete is set, proves an advantage when track repairs become necessary.

There are also 5½ miles of private track of light railway construction. The rails used are 5 inches in depth and weigh I03½ lbs. per yard, and are secured to creosoted sleepers by means of coach screws. After being lined and levelled, the track is ballasted to the underside of the rail-head.

SPECIAL WORK. The term special work is applied to junctions and crossovers, in fact to all track where points and crossings are required. With the exception of cross-overs, which are of standard pattern, all special work is designed to suit its particular location. This forms an important part of the engineer's work as the life of a junction depends to a large extent on the care taken with its design.
There are 126 junctions connecting revenue lines, 50 service connections, and 160 cross-overs on the system, and to withstand the hammering and grinding to which they are subjected, practically all the points and crossings, and in many cases the curved rails, are constructed of cast manganese steel. The life of special work is short and the maintenance costs heavy as compared with the ordinary track.

BARRLAND STREET YARD. The chief depot of the Permanent Way Department is situated in Barrland Street adjacent to the Car Works. It occupies an area of almost 3 acres and is the headquarters of the bonders, borers, welders, and many other skilled workers.

It is equipped with a 3 ton steam crane which runs on a tram track to any part in the yard. There is also a fixed 5 ton electric crane with a 100 ft. radius jib which handles the rails and other heavy material.
Offices, Stores, Cement Shed and Bothy occupy the side of the yard fronting Barrland Street, while in the centre is a large workshop housing the electric power driven plant, which includes rail-bender, saws, and drilling machines. Repairs by electric, and oxy-acetylene welding are also carried out here. Adjacent to this shop is a large platform, on which all junctions are assembled, checked, and marked, before despatch to their locations on trailers.
There are also several smaller yards at different points on the system where material is stored. These are so placed that any job can be conveniently served at short notice, and with the minimum of haulage.

CORRUGATIONS. The cause of corrugation of tram rails still remains one of the mysteries of the tramway world, and seven scrubbing cars are constantly engaged in removing these annoying ripples.

The type of machine used for this purpose consists of a power-driven tram truck, on which is mounted a large water tank. The truck is fitted with carborundum blocks, and the pressure on these is adjusted according to the depth of the corrugations to be removed.
Small jets of water from the tank, play on each rail as the car is slowly driven over the affected part. Slow as the operation appears, one car is able to surface, on an average, 300 yards of single track each shift. By this means the track is kept in good order, for corrugations, if allowed to develop, soon cause disintegration by the excessive vibrations which they create.

But the Permanent Way of the Transport Department is something more to the citizens of Glasgow than a mere track for the running of trams. Practically every main street is traversed, which means that generally two-thirds of the roadway is maintained out of tramway revenue, with the consequent saving to the ratepayers.


Glasgow had established such a world-wide name and fame on the efficiency of its tramway undertaking that the advent of a Municipal Bus Service created something of a sensation both in the City, and the Transport world in general. Glasgow was so well served by its Tramways that practically every street worthy of the name had its tram-lines, and it was extremely difficult to find alternative thoroughfares for the bus services. A policy of caution was adopted at the commencement, and in fixing the first route, an effort was made to tap new ground and as far as possible avoid streets served by the trams. The East and West route decided on started at Glasgow Green in the East, and followed the North bank of the Clyde through Dockland, striking Northwards at Partick Cross for Maryhill.

Twelve single-deck buses of the type shown in the photograph were used and a six minutes' service was provided.

The venture was a failure, especially in the Dockland area, where several factors militated against its success, not the least being the prevailing depression in the shipping and engineering trades. The type of bus in use was another factor. The solid tyres with which the buses were fitted, while suited to a city such as London with its smooth paved streets, failed to give satisfaction on the rough sett-paved surfaces at the Clydeside, and after a time the service on this part of the route was discontinued.

For three years there was little development in the services. Solid tyres were discarded and the buses fitted with the pneumatic type, but the progress made in building up a traffic on cross roads, always a slow business, did not justify further extension on these lines. The two main factors which in the end determined the policy of the Department, both as regards trams and buses, was the menace of uncontrolled competition by private buses, which was having an adverse effect on the tram revenue, and the rapid growth of the various housing schemes on the outskirts of the City. The first was successfully countered by an ambitious scheme of tram re-conditioning, while the latter practically governed the growth of the bus services.

The year 1928 saw a more rapid development of the services. By that time the original fleet of 14 buses had been discarded, and replaced by the latest type of single-deck bus. These were a great improvement On the first fleet in point of comfort, but their limited seating capacity was a serious drawback, especially during " rush " periods.

Rapid improvements were being made, however, in bus design, both as regards comfort and speed, and it was not long before the double-deck bus, as we know it to-day, made its appearance in the streets. Fifteen buses of this type were purchased, and proved very popular, so much so that the Department decided to adopt it as the standard bus.

In April, 1928, 100 double-deck buses were ordered, and several new routes surveyed. This brought to the forefront the question of improved garage facilities. So far the buses had been operating from Parkhead and Newlands tram depots, and the accommodation at these places was now being taxed to the limit.

The new Larkfield Garage, however, was nearing completion, and on the 28th April, 1929, the major portion of the fleet commenced operating from the new headquarters.

Nine services, covering 51 miles of routes, were in operation in 1929, the rapid growth being chiefly due to the development of the various housing schemes.

The capital expenditure that would have been involved, ruled out any prospect of extending the tram-lines to these areas, while in many cases the narrowness of the roads to be traversed, made the bus the more suitable vehicle for the purpose.

Prior to this however, Knightswood, the largest Municipal housing scheme in Scotland, if not in Britain, had so far developed as to require a direct service to the city. A shuttle service had been in operation for some time between Knights-wood and Anniesland Cross, but the public, so long used to travelling direct from their doors to and through the city, resented having to change vehicles. The extra fare also lent weight to the demand for a direct service to the city, and this was instituted in October, 1927, with the city terminus in Hope Street. Knightswood has now five separate bus services, catering for its 25,000 inhabitants. This mushroom township covers an area of 735 acres, and has 25 miles of streets within its boundaries and a population equal to the county town of Perth.

One month later, the route was again extended, this time to King's Park, one of the rapidly rising suburbs on the South Side, and it is interesting tp note in passing that this was actually the first bus route to pass right through the city.

King's Park, while not quite so large as Knightswood, has now four separate services, three of which run direct to the city.

As the other housing schemes developed, services were provided, and by the end of 1931 the peak period had been reached, as can be seen from the following table showing the development of the services:—

The Development of the Bus Services.


Buses. S. Deck.

D. Deck.

Traffic Staff.


Route Miles.























































Before this was accomplished, however, the fleet of buses had been greatly increased, and a big extension to Larkfield Garage was in progress. Work had also commenced on the large Knightswood Garage, which was to house the buses on the North side of the city. Meantime temporary accommodation had been found in the Finnieston district, where a derelict engine works, complete with offices, served admirably for the time being.

The extended Larkfield Garage was opened on the 19th January, 1931, by the Rt. Hon. Herbert Morrison, the then Minister of Transport, but it was not till 20th October, 1932, that the Knightswood Garage, with accommodation for 180 buses, was brought into service. So far there had been no wasteful competition and no sign that the tramway system within the city area at least, where the Department now had the benefit of protection against private competition, was being seriously affected.

Beyond the boundary, however, and in the Paisley area in particular, the effect of this competition was being acutely felt, and in May, 1931, the Corporation having obtained the necessary power, abandoned the line between Paisley West and Kilbarchan, and substituted buses.

The First Corporation Bus.


32 Seat Single-Deck Bus.

Two years later, the line between Paisley and Abbotsinch was also abandoned, and a bus service substituted.

Garage facilities for these purely local services were provided at the Elderslie tram depot, where the necessary alterations had been carried out prior to the change.


This Garage is erected on ground purchased by the Department some years ago. Originally the main building was 300 ft. long, 220 ft. broad, but this was ultimately extended to 525 ft. x 220 ft., providing accommodation for 160 buses. The building comprises General Offices, Machine Shop, Electricians' Shop, Tyre Shop, Stores Department, Boiler House, Cleaners' Quarters, Billiard and Recreation Rooms.

PAINT SHOP. A separate building was erected to deal with the cellulose spraying of buses and there is accommodation for three vehicles. The shop is equipped with Compressor and Spraying plant.

HEATING. The heating of the original garage was done by a Unit Hot Air System, the heavy monoxide gas being adequately dealt with by means of three large fans installed in the North wall on the floor level, whilst the heating and ventilation of the extension is accomplished by a system of underfloor induction and exhaust ducts.

PETROL STORAGE. The tank storage capacity is 40,000 gallons. Electrically driven pumps give an excellent and efficient petrol service.

VACUUM CLEANING PLANT. There has also been installed a portable vacuum cleaning plant to deal with the upholstery in the lower deck saloon. This is supplemented at frequent intervals by the seats being removed and cleaned in a more powerful stationary plant.

SERVICE EQUIPMENT. Hot and cold water is laid throughout the Garage. The service equipment of the Garage includes: Oil reclaiming plant of the Centrifugal type. Chemical cleaning tank using Trichlorethylene for engine parts. Compressors— one for tyres and the working of air driven petrol pumps, and the other for supplying air to storage cylinders for emergency purposes. A grinding attachment for brake drums which is mounted on truing lathes. Valve refacing machine. Brake testing machine—Jumbo. Universal woodworking machine. Weaver tyre remover and fire extinguisher trucks. Machine for grinding brake linings. A quick-bed outfit for reaming main bearings, and connecting-rod ends. Recessing tool for valve seat renewals; a pneumatic riveting machine for brake shoes, an electro-magnetic crack detector, and crank-shaft grinding machine.

INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE. There are three washing equipments installed, and four men are capable of putting through in a satisfactory manner one bus in approximately three minutes. In addition to the routine inspection carried out on buses at their own garages, they are also subjected to complete dock overhaul after every 20,000 miles, and for this purpose the whole fleet of the Department's buses passes through the Larkfield Workshop.

FIRE EQUIPMENT. There is also adequate fire equipment throughout the Garage.

ANNUAL OVERHAUL. The annual overhaul of all buses in the service is carried out at Larkfield.

Standard 52 Seat Double-Deck Bus.

Double-Deck Bus—6 Wheeler.

a system of valves and piping. Each bus then proceeds to the washing shed, which is equipped with four electrically driven pumps, capable of increasing the pressure of the water to 300 lbs. per square inch. There are 8 washing stances. After being washed the bus passes over the inspection greasing pits and then to its appointed stance in the Garage. These stances are all placed at an angle at about 52 deg., so that any bus can be taken out without disturbing the others.

OVERHAUL AND DOCKING. This is carried out over pits situated alongside the inspection pits, and which are all equipped with flood lighting and lifting jacks to facilitate the work of the mechanics. There is a long sunken passage at the end connecting all the pits, situated in which is the repair bench. By means of this passage mechanics can go from one pit to another without coming to floor level. At both ends of the pit there are inlets which are connected to a fan for ventilation purposes.

OIL STORE. The Oil Store is equipped with three large tanks, each with a capacity of 400 gallons.

TYRE SHOP. The Tyre Shop is equipped with tyre stripper, compressed air pipe line, and all apparatus for refitting new tyres and tubes.

PAINT SHOP. The Paint Shop is situated near the Boiler House and in the centre of the work shop block. This shop is equipped for painting two buses at a time. The heating is supplied by hot water pipes and radiators placed on the walls, the fresh air being drawn across these by extraction ducts which are connected to a 30 in. exhaust fan. This fan extracts the foul air from floor level and delivers it to the outside air; it is capable of giving thirty changes of air per hour.

AIR COMPRESSOR. Two motor-driven air compressors are placed in a central position in the Boiler House, each capable of compressing 23 cubic feet of free air per minute and adjusted for a pressure cutting in at 120 lbs. and cutting out at 150 lbs. per square inch. The Garage is fitted throughout with air pipe lines and connections at convenient places for topping up tyres on buses.

MACHINE SHOP. The Machine Shop is equipped with the following:— Universal Wood Cutting Machine. Grinding Machine. Grindstone. Tecalemit Greaser.

Chemical Cleaning Tank using Trichlorathylene for Engine Parts. Hydraulic Press. Portable Crane.

Portable Oxygen and Acetylene Welding and Cutting Plant.

VACUUM CLEANING PLANT. Portable cleaning plant has been installed which is capable of dealing with upholstery of the lower saloons of buses. The Garage is completely equipped throughout with hot and cold water pipes.

AMBULANCE ROOM. This room is provided for first-aid treatment. Amongst the equipment is first-aid box, respiratory apparatus and cylinder of oxygen, cabinet for bandages, hot and cold water, etc.

FIRE EQUIPMENT. Eight fire hydrants with hose and directors; four hand trucks with C.T.C., and Foam Extinguishers mounted thereon are provided for dealing with any outbreak. Fire alarms are installed throughout the Garage. This installation operates a syren signal and indicator.


There is also a Garage at Parkhead adjoining the Tramway Depot, with accommodation for 80 buses, and one at Elderslie in the Paisley district, with accommodation for 20 buses. These garages are small in comparison with the two main garages detailed above, but each has petrol tanks and washing equipments and is capable of attending to running repairs.

Tyre Repairing Shop—Larkfield Garage.

Knightswood Garage.

Time Recorder.


In the successful operation of street transport, efficient traffic organisation is of vital importance. As such undertakings are usually subject to peak periods, difficulty is experienced in eliminating redundant services and at the same time meeting public demand.

The timetable must be scientifically arranged so that all possible revenue can be secured and the necessary man power employed with the minimum of waste, otherwise the financial stability of the undertaking may be undermined.

The first step is to divide the route into sections, the limits of which become timing points. Numerous tests are then made under actual traffic conditions by officials specially qualified for the work, and as a result of their observations the actual running times between the various points are fixed. The speed of the Trams on the route and the service required at the various times of the day having been ascertained, the number of Trams required to provide this service is calculated and a time-board for each individual tram prepared. This allows a motorman to check his time at various points as he proceeds on the journey, and ensures regularity of service. At several of the more important timing points, usually busy junctions, Timekeepers are on duty to check the trams as they pass, and generally speaking, to control tram traffic. In the event of a stoppage he has authority to make whatever arrangements he thinks proper, to get the service back to normal with the least confusion and delay. In some of the outlying districts, time-recording clocks are erected, and prove of great assistance in controlling and regulating the services. A card carried by the motorman is inserted into the clock and any fault in timekeeping is noted from the time recorded thereon, when the card is checked at Head Office. It is advisable when organising a service to draw the supply of trams from two depots as near the terminal points as possible so that the service may start and finish simultaneously if necessary. One terminus, however, may be in a residential district where an early morning service is not required. All these factors have to be taken into account when preparing the time tables and the work necessitates the exercise of care and skill and can only be undertaken after long and special training.

The next proceeding is to arrange for the necessary crews to operate the trams. A summation is made of the number of hours the trams from each depot will be in service and to this is added the time allowed to the crews for reporting. Ten minutes is allowed the conductor to check his supply of tickets and for the driver to get his equipment, and ten minutes on finishing, for paying in cash and writing out reports. The total thus arrived at, represents the hours of labour and this divided by 8 determines the number of crews required as the men work 8 hours per day. Duty sheets are then made up allocating the shifts of work of

Interior of Knightswood Garage.

Repair Pits—Knightswood Garage.

the'crews. This is also specialised work necessitating special training. Some idea of what is involved can be gathered when it is realised that the tram or bus man, unlike the ordinary tradesman, cannot "Knock Off" on the blowing of a whistle,

but only when his vehicle arrives at the relieving point. If his " relief" has not arrived he just carries on till other arrangements can be made. The men on the trams, at their own request, do their day's work where possible in one straight shift, but the Road Traffic Act forbids this in the case of bus drivers, which involves much extra labour in arranging the various shifts. Considerable organisation also, attaches to the matter of the duties of the men, in order to ensure that each man gets his turn of late and early duty, his turn of Sunday work and consequent days off. In this connection it may be of interest to know that on being given the cap number of a Motorman the Timetable Department will tell you within" a few minutes the Tram he is on, where it is at the moment, when he will go off duty, when he was on duty last week and the number of the Tram he was on, and where he should be working a month hence. For purposes of control it is necessary to be able to trace and locate either a vehicle or an employee at a moment's notice.

Time-Board Room.


The Ticket Inspectors are the connecting link between the Management and the outside Traffic Staff. It is their duty to see that the various rules and regulations are observed by the employees and to report any infringement. The checking of tickets is as much a check on the conductor as on the passenger, but the man who carries out his duties in a conscientious and efficient manner need never fear the inspection of his work. They must also note developments in housing, the starting of new industries, coming events in the sporting or entertainment world, in fact, any happening likely to affect the habits of the travelling public either temporarily or permanently, and the management depend to a great extent on their observations and suggestions, communicated by means of daily reports, for adjusting the services to meet altered conditions.

If through accident or other cause the services become disorganised the inspectors, like the timekeepers, may make the necessary temporary arrangements to ensure, in so far as is possible, uninterrupted running, till such times as the normal service can be restored.


In each Depot, and for the purpose of this article the term applies also to Garages, there is a main office and a ticket office, the former staffed by Depot Clerks and the latter by Clerkesses. The duties of the senior Depot Clerk are to see that every " duty" is manned, make sick reports, in cases of illness, issue ticket boxes, and receive cash, in fact do everything to

Depot Office.

ensure that the services are run in accordance with the instructions received from Head Office. The ticket office is usually located on the floor above the Main Office, as this arrangement allows the conductors ticket boxes to be delivered to

the Depot Clerk by service lift. Here, the clerkesses prepare daily the tickets, way-bills and punches for each " duty," the number of duties throughout the service being in the region of 14,000 per week. The tickets are stored in fixtures lining the walls and from these the conductors' boxes are filled, the starting numbers being entered on the " Total " way-bill, a duplicate of which, along with a ticket punch completes the box, the original way-bill being retained at the office. The boxes are then passed to the Depot Clerk to be issued in due course to the conductors as they report for duty, and they in turn check the contents before proceeding to their Trams or Buses. On the completion of his duty a conductor returns the ticket box along with his drawings for the day to the Depot Clerk, who checks the cash received and certifies the amount as entered on the way-bill, which has been completed by entering in the finishing number of the tickets. The following morning all cash received at the office is aggregated by the Senior Depot Clerk and lodged in a bank in the district, the bank receipt being forwarded to the cashier at the Head Office. The ticket box and punch are returned to the Ticket Office and the finishing numbers from the returned tickets transferred to the original " total " way-bill. When the entries have been extended and the total number of tickets sold checked with the punch register, the waybills are forwarded to the Head Office. At the Head Office the total number of tickets sold are then compared with the cash received, as entered on the Depot Clerk's cash summary. The staff at the Head Office also compare the way-bills, compile the revenue returns and all other data connected with passengers and in addition make the necessary arrangements for the recovery of "shorts" from conductors.

Depot Ticket Office.

Each ticket office carries a sufficient stock of tickets for ail values and routes served by its particular depot, the total number of tickets handled by all ticket offices being approximately 10,000,000 per week. The total cash accounted for by Depot Clerks, amounts at present to over £54,000 per week.


The management recognised that a man's success depends to a great extent on his education, and spared no expense to provide a training school for its employees, furnished with up-to-date equipment and staffed by the most efficient instructors obtainable.

Sceleton Car

Present-day conditions of street traffic, with its ever increasing number of motor vehicles of all kinds and sizes, passenger carrying, commercial and private, and the absence of a sufficient sense of responsibility for safety on the part of some members of the public, make the duties of a tram or bus driver in a city like Glasgow more onerous and responsible each year.

Some of the initial qualities required in men who aspire to serve the public as members of Glasgow Transport Department traffic staff are:—Good character, a fair standard of education, smart appearance and address, physical fitness, and the ability to keep always alert while on duty.


Since men who become motormen must first give satisfactory service of one or more years as conductors, it is expected that men who train as such, if not completely fulfilling the above requirments, are at least worthy to be further tried in the upholding of the aims of the Department in its adoption -of the threefold motto of "Safety, Courtesy and Efficiency."

Twelve days of technical and practical instruction are required to fit a man for a motorman's duties. During the first three days he attends the Motor School.

All Rules and Regulations are gone over and explained, and pains are taken to enable learners to obtain a thorough grasp of everything pertaining to their work.

For these purposes the School is equipped with mechanical and electrical apparatus similar to that in use on service trams.

A tram, the bodywork of which is in skeleton form, but otherwise completely equipped both electrically and mechanically and set on blocks over an inspection pit, is used for demonstration purposes, and with the help of controllers and brake handles suitably positioned, men are drilled and practised sufficiently to enable them on the fourth day, under the guidance of a competent motorman-teacher, to begin a period of four days' driving practice on a service tram.

During this period they are frequently visited and observed by a Motor Inspector, who notes progress and gives additional help and guidance if necessary.

On the eighth day men return to School for further instruction and a comprehensive preliminary examination, the results of which, besides the aptitude and progress shown on the road and reported by the Motor Inspector to the Chief Instructor, determine whether or not the trainee is likely to prove a successful motorman.

Promising learners put in a further period of three days' intensive practice and tuition on service trams, then return to School on the twelfth day for final examination.

After this stage men are nominally complete motormen, but have to undergo a probationary period of 30 days' solo driving before being finally passed as qualified. During this time they are looked after and encouraged by the Motor Inspectors.


For the Department's bus drivers only men of previous driving experience have hitherto been engaged.

Applicants are required to give a practical demonstration of their ability to drive a bus with due care and intelligent consideration as to its costly mechanical and electrical equipment and to the safety and comfort of passengers.

The test covers the ability of the candidate to start a bus by hand, his efficiency in gear-changing, faking curves, climbing gradients, use of signals, reversing, turning bus within a given circle, knowledge of the fundamental principles of internal combustion engines, and auxiliary apparatus, action to be taken when trouble arises, attitude towards other users of the road.

Allowance is made for the circumstances attendant in a test of this nature. If the performance does not fall too far short of the standard outlined above, note is taken of any objectionable traits or faults, with a view to their correction before the driver finally assumes responsibility as one of the Department's drivers.

Even the most accomplished applicants require some training and practice for the kind of vehicle in use, and the exacting nature of the service provided by the Corporation Transport Department. For this purpose and the acquisition of a proper knowledge of Rules and Regulations pertaining to the work, together with a thorough acquaintance with all routes and local conditions, anything up to three weeks is required.

During this period, if the driver has not previously been licensed, arrangements are made for his Public Service Vehicle driving test as required by the Road Traffic Act.


The success of the Glasgow Corporation Transport Department, being admittedly due to the fact that its object has always been to constitute and maintain itself as a self-contained unit of Corporation activities, it decided in 1914 to carry its own Insurance. Hitherto that work had been done by an Insurance Company, but the constant recurring question of renewal, together with other many and varied considerations which need not be discussed here, led to the decision.

For the Third Party accidents, and for the Employers' Liability, separate Funds were created, into which was paid annually a sum equal to that asked by the Insurance Company. So successful was the venture that, within a few years, and ' notwithstanding the enormously increased cost of claims during the War and in the years following, a large Reserve Fund was created.

For some years now £1,000 less per annum has been required than in 1914, and there is paid into the Fund an annual sum which is less by, roughly, £15,000, than would have been required by an Insurance Company at this date.

The Fire Insurance Fund is one in which the whole activities of the Corporation are combined, and this also has been eminently successful.


In this modern age it is a recognised axiom that specialisation in industry is essential to its success. We are, or should be, a nation of specialists. In large industrial undertakings there are frequently many grades and types of the specialist, each an expert in his own particular sphere and all working together harmoniously, so that the final result is the production of goods or services in the most perfect and economical form for the public. This specialisation is exemplified in a most marked degree in the staff of the Corporation Transport Department. When the ordinary citizen thinks of Street Transport he immediately visualises the Tram Cars and Buses and their uniformed attendants. There are, however, many others who, while they are not in the public eye, are essential to the working of the undertaking. Broadly the staff is divided into three main sections, the Traffic Department, the Engineering Department, and the Financial and Secretarial Department.

The following statement shows the number of employees in each of the sections at the present time, and as a matter of interest there is also shown the corresponding numbers in 1895, when the Corporation assumed control of the Tramways, and in 1901, when Electric Traction was inaugurated:—

At 31st May, At 31st May, At 31st May,

1933. 1901. 1895.

Tramways. Buses. Subway. Total. Tramways. Tramways.

Traffic, 4,388 1,104 235 5,727 2,550 1,781

General, 372 5 6 383 71 8

Repairs, 1,964 257 102 2,323 934 203

Power, 217 — 23 240 46 —

6,941 1,366 366 8,673 3,601 1,992

Annual Wages and Salaries, £1,406,000 £246,000 £106,000

The addftion of bus services and the purchase of the Subway undertaking by the Corporation largely increased the number of employees in the Department. As will be seen, there are now over 8,600, the great majority of these being householders. The number entirely dependent on the Department for their daily sustenance must be considerably over 20,000 people, which is equivalent to the population of Inverness or Oban. The annual bill for wages and salaries has naturally increased with the number of employees, and from the comparatively small figure of £120,000 for the year ended 31st May, 1896, it has grown to £1,406,000 for the last completed financial year.


G.C.T. Pipe Band— Winners of World's Championship Shield, 1929, 1931.

Veterans Race—Annual Sports.

The Traffic Department is concerned chiefly with the running of the services, the collection and checking of the revenue and the preparation of time schedules. In addition the Traffic Superintendent is responsible for the allocation of duties and for the discipline of his staff. These are the employees who are in direct contact with the public, and it is the constant endeavour of the management to give service in the widest sense of that term and so promote and maintain a spirit of goodwill between the citizens and the Department.

This being the case, special care is taken in the engagement of these employees. Applicants are interviewed and particulars regarding their previous employment investigated, after which those selected by the Traffic Superintendent undergo eyesight, hearing and colour tests. This is followed by an educational and a medical examination. In the Tramway Service men are engaged in the first instance as conductors, and after they have gained practical experience in this duty they are, in the course of time, trained as motormen. In the Bus Service the two grades are engaged separately, fully trained and experienced men only being employed as drivers.

The Engineering Department is sub-divided into four main sections: (a) Permanent Way, (b) Tram and Bus Maintenance and Overhaul, (c) Power Generation and Distribution, (d) Buildings and Structural Engineering. Each section is under the charge of an engineer, who is responsible to the General Manager for its efficiency.

In the workshops at Coplawhill and the garages, a large variety of trades both mechanical and electrical are represented. Overhaul of the rolling stock is carried out regularly and systematically and new tramcars are built as required. The recent programme of tram reconditioning, which cost £750,000, was completed entirely at these works. In addition there is equipment and skilled labour to furnish much of the material required by the various sections of the undertaking.

On the financial and commercial side also the Department is entirely self-contained. The purchase of stores and materials is, subject to the sanction of the Corporation, under the control of the General Manager, and from the departmental financial records the annual report and accounts are prepared, which after audit are submitted to the Transport Committee and the Corporation.

The Corporation has always appreciated that a loyal, contented and enthusiastic staff is essential for efficiency, and in order to further this end there are various organisations for the promotion of culture and the encouragement of recreation supported by the management and largely taken advantage of by the employees.


"All work and no play" has never been the motto of the Transport Department, the management realising that to be thoroughly efficient a man requires to be fit both in mind and body.

No matter in what direction his interests or tastes may lie a man can always find a club sponsored by the Department where he can enjoy his leisure hours and indulge his hobby, whether it be athletics or music, flowers or canaries, etc. Individual championship trophies are competed for annually in football, golf, swimming, bowls, billiards, and various other sports, while a handsome Championship Shield goes to the section gaining the most points at the annual athletic gathering which, by the way, has become one of the outstanding events of the athletic world. The subscription to any of these clubs is a nominal sum, and most of the Depots have handsome halls, the use of which is freely granted to the employees for Whist Drives, Dances and Concerts, and also to various sections for Badminton, Ambulance Classes and Radio Lectures. The Billiards and Draughts sections play matches in rooms at the Depots and Garages, while the golfers take advantage of the facilities provided on the Corporation Golf Courses.

In the musical world the Departmental Choir is widely known and appreciated. Their annual concert, which runs for two nights in the St. Andrew's Halls, being one of the features of the concert season. The orchestra is also above the average and is frequently engaged to perform in the Public Parks in Glasgow. The various Concert Parties are always in great demand and provide entertainment of a light nature to large and appreciative audiences. In the affection of the public, however, the Pipe Band takes first place, and it has done much to justify this regard. To win the World's Championship Trophy, the blue riband of pipers, as they did in 1929 and 1931 is something to be proud of. These and other activities foster and encourage an " esprit de corps " of which the Department is justly proud.


In the early days of the Tramways, when most undertakings were privately owned, the conductor's uniform was something of a joke with the public. A jacket and a cap, the former a badly fitted garment, and sometimes only the latter did duty for a uniform. Glasgow set about providing a uniform worthy of a great enterprise, and insisted on its staff appearing at all times smartly dressed and well groomed. Nowadays the employees of most private companies are models of sartorial perfection in keeping with luxurios vihicles, butnevertheless Glasgowcan claim to be the first transport undertakink in Scotland to give much thought to the question of uniforms and the smart appearance of the staff is often commented on by visitors to the City.

Each member of the Traffic staff has a summer and winter uniform, the former issued in May and the latter in October. A uniform is worn for two seasons, but before being issued for the second time it is cleaned, repaired and pressed by the tailoring staff. The main clothing store is a large flat 120 feet long and 80 feet wide, with accommodation for 10,000 uniforms on hangers. There is also a cloth store at this depot, where all the cloth used in the manufacture of uniforms is machine tested before being dispatched to the tailors, this work being also undertaken for other Departments of the Corporation.

Clothing Store.


So numerous are the articles left behind by passengers on Trams, Buses and Subway that a special department is required to deal with this branch of the Transport business. A small charge is usually made when the property is claimed but the revenue derived from this source goes only a small way towards covering the cost of handling the hetrogeneous collection of articles which arrives at the office every morning. The cost to the Department would be greatly reduced if more of the property was claimed, but it is a remarkable fact that less than half the articles are asked for, as can be seen from the table showing the figures for last year.

I st June, 1932, to 31st May, 1933.

Total for

Description of Article.





year to 31 st

May, 1933.







Purses ...


















Bags and Cases






Sums of Money












Keys ......












Parcels Clothing


















Tobacco Pouches






Coats and Waterproofs


















Walking Sticks

















Furs .........































Lost Property Office

Storage for unclaimed property, other than perishable goods, is provided at one of the depots where it is kept for six months and if not claimed during that period is sold by public auction. As one would expect in a city such as Glasgow, umbrellas head the list, and many of these and their owners are well known to the staff on account of their regular visits to the office. The owner is frequently of the habitually absent-minded type, who on recovering his property walks off leaving it hanging on the counter, or on the first Tram or Bus he boards. The heading 11 miscellaneous" hides the identity of a strange assortment of articles, artificial teeth, wooden legs, crutches, cage-birds, tombstones, and even infants, for there are several cases on record of parents walking off leaving baby sitting on the seat. The number of articles varies very little from day to day, although the season of the year and the weather have a bearing on the kind of articles left. A sudden break in the weather one week-end during the fine summer of last year, resulted in the exceptionally large number of 200 umbrellas arriving at the office on the following Monday morning. Every precaution is taken to ensure that the articles lost are returned to their rightful owners, an accurate description of the article lost, and, in the case of bags and purses, their contents, must be given before the article is handed over.

Lost Property Store.