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New plans unveiled for Glasgow Airport rail link

Plans to build a rail link between Glasgow city centre and Glasgow Airport have been proposed with two options in the frame. 

The first is a scheme to build a tram-train link, costing £144.3m, which would provide a connection from the city to the airport via Paisley. 

A light rail system, estimated to cost £102m, is also being considered.  In this scheme, passengers would travel by standard train to Paisley before disembarking and changing onto a new light-rail system to complete their journey to the airport. 

The tram-train and personal rapid transit schemes are contained in a strategic business case, which has been developed jointly by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council.

The local authorities say, however, that studies have shown that tram-train would be the best performing option, offering the best value for money, due to its greater attraction for users. 

The business case will be put before councillors in both authorities in the next couple of weeks before going to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet for approval. 

Cllr Mark Macmillan, leader of Renfrewshire Council, said: “This new connection will contribute a great deal to the success of the City Region; supporting the airport's continuing success and generating jobs throughout the area. 

“City Deal has also committed £51m to the Glasgow Airport Investment Area where further infrastructure developments will create a business location offering unparalleled air, sea and land connectivity.”

Last year, RTM reported that the Glasgow and Clyde Valley’s City Deal provides Glasgow and its surrounding councils with £1.13bn to invest in projects that will create jobs and provide long-term infrastructure. The UK government is pledging £500m, to be matched by the Scottish government. 

One of the key projects to be funded through this deal is the rail link. Nearly eight years ago, the Scottish Parliament passed the Glasgow Airport Rail Link Act 2007, which would have allowed trains to run between Central Station and the airport along a new railway. However, the £210m scheme was scrapped three years later as part of spending cuts. 

The new estimated cost of a tram-train link is £144.3m, which includes construction, rolling stock, inflation, contingency and land purchase. It was stated that construction could start in 2021 and it could be operational by 2025. 

The strategic business case will be put to councillors for approval on the following dates: 

  • 2 December: Renfrewshire Council Leadership Board
  • 10 December: Glasgow City Council's Executive Committee
  • 15 December: Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet


Nonsuchmike   28/11/2015 at 15:49

At long last the people of Glasgow and Clydeside generally should have something to look forward to. For too long the promise of decent City to Airport rail links has been broken or plans kicked into the long grass. Can you imagine the users of Gatwick Airport having to change and stand around on the platform @ Redhill or those using Heathrow cluttering up Ealing Broadway? No, of course not. Why should the Scots have any less a service than the equivalent of a Gatwick or Heathrow Express straight to the heart of Britain's Second City Central? A service fit for those who use it should the criterion, not whether a few millions can be pinched here and there. Tram/Train is best so that both can use the route each way and give flexibility to those entering or leaving the zone.

G.T.Hocking   08/12/2015 at 16:57

Will it ever really go ahead, the car journeys it would save me if only one could connect by train from the city . Collecting & dropping off visitors so often is time wasted.

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