The 115th anniversary of the opening of the Glasgow Subway is particularly poignant for 80-year-old passenger, Robert Connor.
A regular user of St George’s Cross station it was there Mr Connor met Anne, a subway ticket collector, who he’d later marry. He handed her his ticket one winter evening in 1974 and never forgot the encounter.
Says Bob, ‘I knew the staff at St George’s Cross well as I used the station all the time. A lot of them had worked on the tram cars before so you’d recognise all the faces. The Subway had ticket collectors in those days, often girls, standing at the rear end of the platform at the bottom of the stairs.
‘I remember coming off at the station one night coming home from work and handing my ticket to a girl at St George’s Cross I hadn’t seen before. We’d see each other most days after that and always say hello.’
Bob knew the stationmaster quite well and one night was talking to him about a Christmas party. Says Bob, ‘The Subway staff at that time had a party for all of the kids at the Salvation Army function hall on Butterbiggins Road. I was in for my usual chat and Anne was talking about taking her two nieces along to the party. Another member of staff, I forget their name, volunteers ‘Bob will go with you’. I said I would and that was that.’
Bob approached the date with some trepidation. ‘I remember being quite nervous and had visions of having to get all dressed up like a waiter in a hotel, but we got on really well. After that we’d use the Subway to go to the cinema together and we eventually got married in August 1981, although we had a car take us to St Aloysius rather than the Subway!’
Anne worked at St George’s Cross until the Subway closed for modernisation in 1978 and had worked as a ticket collector on the Glasgow Corporation buses before that. Bob worked as a draughtsman for over 20 years at a variety of companies in Glasgow including Rolls Royce. The couple lived near St George’s Cross station after retiring, although sadly Anne passed away ten years ago.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, which owns and operates the system, has already begun a multi-million pound modernisation project to ensure the Subway remains at the heart of the city for generations to come. Mr Connor still travels on the Subway and still has time for a chat with staff. Recent work on the line means the path of true love should be running smoother than ever for another century or so.