It’s not something I’m ever likely to forget. I particularly remember the voices of the people above us; they had no idea we were there. I also remember the effect the place had on our own voices: not an echo exactly, more a distortion. When I said something, it sounded like someone was whispering back at me from deep within the tunnel.

The journey to get through the tunnel under the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow was also pretty extraordinary. We had to squeeze through a gap in the fence and make our way through complete darkness, bits of glass and stone and goodness knows what else crunching under our feet. Then, after a few unsettling minutes, we emerged into the extraordinary subterranean place we’d come to find.

Let me tell you what it looks like: it looks like the trains have just left. Yes, there’s graffiti and pigeon dirt and decay, but the platforms are still complete so it’s not hard to imagine commuters standing around waiting for the trains that used to come here. They haven’t done so since 1939, but you don’t need a lot of imagination to see this place reopened and revived.

Graham Simpson agrees. The Conservative MSP heard about the railway station and tunnel under the Botanics and asked Balfour Beatty, who look after the site, if he could visit, which he did this week. And what struck him, like it did when I visited, was that there’s real potential for the place to be restored and reused. It could be a station again, he says. It should be a station again.

There have been alternative plans. When I visited, I went with a young designer who envisaged a café and shops there. There was also a plan at one stage for a nightclub. Both of those ideas could be made to work I guess, but the best, the most logical, idea would be to use the site once again for the purpose for which it was designed and restore it as a station.

Some people might think it sounds far-fetched, but it’s looking a lot more likely than it used to be. Not only is the infrastructure under the Botanics still there, serious discussion (although not yet serious money) is turning to the idea of an expanded and reshaped rail system for Glasgow. First proposed three years ago, Clyde Metro is now one of the Scottish Government’s stated priorities for its future transport investment.

We’re still talking early days here. Kevin Stewart, the minister for transport, told me the plans were still in the very first stages and it’s too early to provide details. But he also said the plans would integrate with the existing rail and bus networks and could include new track, the conversion of existing lines and the reuse of former rail lines and stations, such as the Botanics.

The ambition of this is great. The minister said it could lead to more reliable public transport and increase people’s choices about how they travel. He also said he believes the entire Clyde Metro scheme could be truly transformational for Glasgow and the communities around it.

I hope he’s right; certainly, effective transport makes lives better, but it’s also a good sign that the Clyde Metro plan is looking at the infrastructure that’s already there rather than looking at an entirely new (and much more expensive) plan. It’s how the design of cities and communities is going. How do we reuse what’s already there? How do we reuse the past as part of the future?

You can see the possibilities all over the city. The tram route along Paisley Road West; the station at Glasgow Cross on the Trongate; the platforms under the Botanics – all of it could be part of a reimagined rail network. It’ll take heaps of cash obviously, and there’s been no serious indication yet about where that might come from. But the fact that we’re talking about reusing what’s already there is a good start.

And the potential is exciting I must say. I’m thinking about the day I stood on those platforms under the Botanics, my voice distorted into a whisper. But I’m also thinking about the day I might stand on those platforms again and actually hear a train approaching through the tunnel. That would be a great day wouldn’t it? I hope it happens.