In 1890 the Glasgow District Subway Company was successful in it's application to build & operate a small (6 and a 1/2 miles) circular underground railway around the West, Central, & Southern areas within, & bordering, the City of Glasgow.. Opened in 1896, it ran a fleet of cable hauled, diminutive, trains, propelled by a winding engine in Scotland Street, and served 15 stations dotted in a rough circle around the city.
The first trains consisted of 30, cable gripper cars, built by the Oldbury Railway Carridge, & Wagon Co Ltd. In 1898, 24, four wheeled trailer cars, built by Hurst Nelson Co Ltd, were added, but these gave poor riding, and 14 were subsequently rebuilt to become full length trailer cars. There were no points anywhere on the system, or railed access to the surface depot at Broomloan Road, Govan. For maintenance, the cars would be lifted from the tunnels, via an access pit, by a crane within the depot building. The company head office, was in St Enoch Square (the building is now Coffee Shop).