A Glasgow Electric ‘Blue’ Train – Class 303 EMU – 2001

These class 303 electric multiple units began service on Glasgow’s northern network in 1960 and on the south side Cathcart Circle the following year. They were originally painted Caledonian blue and thus called ‘blue trains’ by locals. The basic three-car set – seen here – could be extended to six, nine and twelve cars when business demanded – like during rush hours and for major football tournaments at Hampden Park. The greatest feature of these trains – at least as far as we kids were concerned – was the big glass observation panel in the leading coach, which provided an excellent view of both the driver in his cab and the track ahead. Later, when the trains were refurbished in the 1980s – and painted that horrible orange colour by the new SPTE, or Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive to give its full name (what a mouthful) – the glass panels disappeared and at once the trains lost much of their original appeal. This movie was shot at Queen’s Park Station, Glasgow (on The Cathcart Circle line) around the beginning of August 2001 – just over four months before the last 303 went from Glasgow Queen Street to Helensburgh Central on 22nd December the same year. And how appropriate that the man who drove the last 303 was the son of the man who’d driven the very first one over forty years earlier. A fine end to a great railway era.

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