GLASGOW'S Subway could get seven more stations and a new fleet of trains under an ambitious £2.6billion plan.
A detailed report lists 11 possible options for the future of the 111-year-old Clockwork Orange.
However, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport members are being asked to back only two of them - an East End expansion and upgrading the current system.
Although the bill is massive, SPT chairman Ron Culley today warned that investment in the Subway was essential.
He said: "We need to face the fact the current system is fraying at the edges.
"The Subway has served Glasgow well for more than 100 years but we now need to invest further in the city's infrastructure."
The cost of the extension into the East End of the city is £2.3bn while upgrading the existing system will cost £270million.
The report from consultants Atkins, which took two years to complete, suggests creating a separate circle to the East End with stations at St Mungo's, Onslow, Duke Street, Celtic Park, Dalmarnock, Newhall and Gorbals.
It would link in with existing Subway stations at Bridge Street, St Enoch and Buchanan Street. Plan of action
THE options suggested by the consultants are:
1 Continue existing Subway with minimum investment.
2 As option one but pursue other major transport schemes linked to the Subway.
3 £270m investment in existing Subway.
4 Close Subway and maintain tunnels to prevent road collapse.
5 Close Subway but replace with bus service on same route.
6 Close Subway and replace with new light rail service.
7 Extend the Subway along former railway route to Maryhill.
8 New rail service from SECC to Kelvinbridge and Maryhill.
9 Improve bus link from Govan Subway to Paisley.
10 £2.3bn investment in eastern circle.
11 As Option Three but extend along existing railway to Pollokshields West and Cathcart. New stations
ST MUNGO'S: The station for visitors to both Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Glasgow Cathedral.
ONSLOW: Access to the city centre and beyond for residents living in the Dennistoun area of the city.
DUKE STREET: Would allow access to and from the growing shopping and cafe culture in Dennistoun.
CELTIC PARK: The stop for thousands of football fans, as well as giving access to the Forge shopping centre and the new National Indoor Arena.
DALMARNOCK: The station for the large number of properties which will make up the Commonwealth Games village if Glasgow wins its bid for the 2014 event.
NEWHALL: Nearest station for visitors going to Glasgow Green.
GORBALS: Would serve the thousands of residents of the area's major new housing developments.
Although detailed plans have yet to be drawn up, the scheme could involve tunnelling under the River Clyde and using existing tunnels.
SPT bosses say the new circle would help the regeneration of the East End and cut traffic in the city centre.
Improvements would involve complete re-development, including replacing trains, new park-and-ride areas and a new ticket system.
It is also possible driverless trains could be introduced in common with some other subway systems across the world. At present trains do not need drivers but staff are put in cabs to reassure the public.
The cost of any expansion is likely to be funded by SPT and the Scottish Executive, along with European cash and private partnership investment.
Members of SPT will be asked on Friday to agree to move to the next stage of the development plans and to drop any moves to shut down the Subway.
It is estimated closing the Clockwork Orange would cost around £110m due to the need to maintain the tunnels to prevent roads collapsing.
If SPT members accept the recommendations, they are likely to commission a further report which will come up with firm costings and routes.
They are also likely to look at ways of reducing the massive cost of the East End extension.
SPT hopes the next study will be finished by the end of this year, the £270m upgrade of the Subway could be completed in four years and any East End extension in six to eight years.
A number of other options for expanding the network were also considered by the consultants.
They included extending the Subway along a former railway line to Maryhill, a rail service from the SECC to Kelvinbridge and Maryhill and an improved bus service from Govan Subway station to Paisley.
SPT officials will suggest those three options should be put on the back-burner and considered at a later date.
The body's chairman Alistair Watson insists he is not fazed by the massive cost of extending the Subway and is convinced it will be possible to raise the cash.
He said: "If Glasgow aspires to become a major European city then we need ambition to create a world-class transport system to match that.
"We are seizing the opportunity, for the first time in its history, to expand the Subway.
"I am very much up for the challenge and the high price tag does not frighten me. A quality transport system costs money."
City council leader Steven Purcell backed the plans.
He said: "The new proposals would make a huge difference to the quality of the service.
"It is vital SPT and the Scottish Executive get together to make sure funding can be found for these plans."
Lesley Sawers, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: "We now have record levels of investment in Glasgow and the city is on course to become one of the world's most dynamic.
"We must have a transport system worthy of a world-class city.
"With the regeneration of the East End, it is especially important we improve links to that part of the city."