The Anonymous Widower

Anniesland And Glasgow Queen Street Via Maryhill In A Class 230 Train

In Issue 864 of Rail Magazine there is an article about the Class 230 train demonstration in Scotland, that I wrote about in Battery Class 230 Train Demonstration At Bo’ness And Kinneil Railway.

This is the first paragraph.

Vivarail is targeting Scottish routes such as Glasgow Queen Street-Anniesland via Maryhill for its converted London Underground D-Stock, now known as Class 230s.

The Maryhill Line is a short line between Anniesland and Glasgow Queen Street stations.

  • There is a shuttle service of two trains per hour, which appear to take about twenty minutes each way.
  • There are six intermediate stations
  • The line is not electrified and is run by a two-car diesel train.
  • Various works have been performed on the line in recent years to make it more useful and easy to operate.

So why has this short line not been electrified?

On Rail Forums, various reasons are put forward including.

  • The Maryhill Line might not have the traffic for a three-car electric train.
  • It could be a rather tricky electrification.
  • There are also issues with lower-powered diesel trains climbing the incline out of Queen Street station, which seem to make creating a diagram for trains on the Maryhill Line difficult.

I suspect that for air quality reasons, Transport Scotland would like to have less diesel trains in city centres.

So a self-contained independently-powered two-car train, shuttling between Queen Street and Anniesland may be a viable solution?

Would battery-powered Class 230 train be able to work the route?

  • The trains would be the right size.
  • They would be emission-free and quiet.
  • The performance of the Class 230 train is probably enough to work the current service.
  • Third-rail charging would be possible in the bay platform at Anniesland station.
  • If required a charging rail could be added in Queen Street station.
  • The platform at Anniesland station could be long enough to stable two trains overnight.
  • Except for the charging systems, no new infrastructure would be required.

It could turn out to be another quirky, useful and reliable railway to add to the Glasgow Subway.


October 25, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | , , , ,


  1. I rode on this last month, from Queen St to Kelvindale, and also on the electrified Milngavie-Edinburgh route, which goes through Anniesland. Once all the work at the Queen St end is complete next year, then this line will have OLE at both ends, so I would have thought an OLE/battery hybrid would be best, as the unelectrified bit is quite short (some 7km or so). I was on it early weekday afternoon, and there weren’t many passengers.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 25, 2018 | Reply

  2. The line sounds a bit like the Drain (W & C) in London. Important, but not very busy at times.

    I feel that the third-rail charging would be so simple. The driver just pulls into the station and when the train stops over the rail, it could automatically switch on and charge the train. When the train pulls out, the charger would automatically switch off the rail.

    The driver would do nothing different to driving a diesel train.

    With pantographs going up and down, there is a lot more to go wrong, as happened at Paddington recently.

    Comment by AnonW | October 25, 2018 | Reply

    • that’s true – it just seems silly to install another electric supply system when there’s already one there. The pantograph could also provide the oomph to get up the hill at Queen St. As I recall, there’s not much incline on the rest of the route. Judging from the photo on it may not be true that there’s OLE at the Anniesland end, only on the main line. Either way, this should be ideal for battery operation.

      Comment by Peter Robins | October 25, 2018 | Reply

      • I was at Anniesland this afternoon. There is no OLE on the platform for this loop, only on the other 2 on the main line

        Comment by Peter Robins | April 6, 2019

  3. […] The bay platform is to the North of the station building and is mainly served by a shuttle to Glasgow Central station. I wrote about this shuttle in Anniesland And Glasgow Queen Street Via Maryhill In A Class 230 Train. […]

    Pingback by Anniesland Station To Go Step-Free « The Anonymous Widower | April 6, 2019 | Reply

  4. The system that Vivarail use to charge their train only needs a short length of third rail in the terminal platforms. This is connected to batteries in a shipping container to provide the power quickly. They have now demonstrated their quick charge system.
    They could fit it in any station platform, probably with the third rail on the far side. As it would only be live with a train over the top, that must surely be very safe. The control system to make it safe could have been uilt in the 1960s and would be similar to some I saw on heavy machinery to protect operators at the time.

    Comment by AnonW | April 6, 2019 | Reply

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