Kelvinbridge Station – The bridge, the West End and Great Western Road
Kelvinbridge is a gem of a subway station situated in a strange valley (or should that be glen?) at the town end of Great Western Road. Above it, sits a classical Victorian cast iron bridge called, wait for it, Kelvinbridge.
Kelvinbridge is one of the core stations of the West End, being the most easterly of the four main stations. While technically, St Georges Cross is in the West End, being on the Western side of the M8, it is not until Kelvinbridge that you properly hit the coffee shops and health food stores.
The road itself is Great Western Road, an arterial link between the centre of town and the luxurious West End of Hillhead and beyond. Under the bridge, the river Kelvin winds its way down to the Clyde and in times of flood the river can reach the pedestrian bridge that links to the Kelvin walkway (don’t worry, I don’t think it’s ever gone over!). The Kelvin walkway runs past the station on the other side of the river and links to Kelvingrove park.
It’s a fairly spectacular sight for your average Clockwork Orange station, with the river rustling by and a classical bit of architecture on display.
However, most Glaswegians never see what’s on offer outside as the station itself is joined to the bridge above by a covered escalator straight out of Doctor Who.
I have to admit I have a soft spot for the now old walkway. In its day, it looked like a futuristic experiment. It was kind of funky when I was growing up, a neat way to get up high if nothing else. Why anybody would want to hook up a modern escalator to a classical 19th century bridge was probably lost on people at the time but hey, it’s now definitely part of the furniture and only adds to the station.
Take my advice: if it’s a nice day, have a look outside just before you head up the escalator. There is an alternative route up to Great Western Road though. Across the river, there is a metal stair that will take you up to the other side of the main bridge. It’s not obvious and not to be advised in winter.
Coming out of the ticket barriers, you head straight on up the escalator via the covered walkway to Great Western Road. A left takes you out to the river, the Kevin walkway, bridge view and metallic stair ascent. The right takes you to a car park and an alternative route to Woodlands road – via a backstreet of sorts, it’s not immediately obvious.
The station platform is the usual central platform configuration and is noticeably bigger and wider than many of the similar stations. For some reason, they made Kelvinbridge just that bit bigger. The entrance tunnel that leads down to the platform is unusually long and quite a distance from the main escalators and ticket barrier. It actually loops back on itself so that the passenger actually walks on to the platform in the opposite direction from where they entered the barriers.
For those on a Subcrawl, the Doublet bar is definitely for the traditionalists. Just head right after the barriers and head down the back alley by the car park. It’s just round the corner up a slight hill. The Lansdowne Bar is a good alternative though, head up the escalators and over Great Western Road. It’s hidden away in the old townhouses on the other side.
For reference, one of the most prominently seen school uniforms on the subway is that of The Glasgow Academy, which is situated across the road on the other side of the bridge. Their badge is a shield split in to four parts. The proximity to the subway means students can often be found infesting Kelvinbridge in great numbers, especially at home time. Don’t panic, they don’t bite and on the whole are generally well-behaved. If not, feel free to contact their Head master.
Overall, Kelvinbridge is a busy West End station with plenty of interesting features including direct access to Great Western Road and Kelvingrove Park. Worth visiting if only to ride up and down the futuristic walkway.