(james benedict brown) on the road

Urban rhythms

Posted in Posts by James Benedict Brown on 10 August, 2008

The bright colours, strategically simplified angles and smooth corners of another urban transit map have seduced me. Having now spent two weeks in Glasgow, I’m becoming more familiar with the lie of the land and the names of suburbs, especially those distant ones with exotic names.

Unfortunately, Glasgow (like Sheffield) has passed the operation of most of its buses to the First Group. That means fares have sky rocketed for occasional users. So instead of paying £1.30 for a ride into town, I’ll stick to paying £1.05 for a return ticket on the train (note to self: remember to renew the 16-25 Railcard the day before my birthday). I’ve also established quickly that beside from bicycle, the train is the way to get around. Glasgow has the largest suburban rail network in the country; well… the largest in Scotland, if you’re a secessionist, or the largest outside London if you’re not.

Although the Cathcart Circle is partially closed at the moment while engineers fill some subsidence with concrete, the system is reliable, fast and runs like clockwork. During that closure, my nearest station is Pollokshields West (not to be confused with Pollokshields East, Pollokshaws East or Pollokshaws West). The walk home takes me across a footbridge that crosses the Barrhead line (red in the plan above) just north of the delightful sounding Crossmyloof station. Not only has my train been on time every time, but every time I have crossed that footbridge on the way home, I have looked south down the tracks to see the same train approaching at exactly the same spot. It passes underneath the footbridge at exactly the same time that a southbound train passes on the adjacent track.

Can’t they run late just for once?