Rail link to Glasgow Airport to be operational by 2025
NOV 27, 2015: A rail link between Glasgow city centre and Glasgow Airport has taken a major step forward. A scheme to build a tram-train link is one of two options being put forward for a new connection between Glasgow city centre, Paisley and Glasgow Airport as the flagship project in the £1.13bn Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal.
Tram-train carriages would operate on the heavy rail network between Glasgow Central Station and Paisley Gilmour Street before moving on to new tram rails running between Paisley and the front of the airport terminal building. This would offer a 16.5-minute direct journey between the city centre and the front door of the airport.
A light rail personal rapid transit system 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.
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. This would result in more people using the service and better journey times for people travelling to and from the airport. It would come in at less than half the cost of a new heavy rail solution, which would cost an estimated £317m and is being ruled out as being too expensive.
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. It will be put before councillors in both authorities before going to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet for approval.
If approved, further work would be done to develop more detail on both of these options before a final, preferred choice is made next year.
It comes just weeks after Glasgow announced it had emerged as one of the strongest performing airports in Europe.
Councillor 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 £51million to the Glasgow Airport Investment Area where further infrastructure developments will create a business location offering unparalleled air, sea and land connectivity. The airport and Renfrewshire will be fully integrated into the Region’s transport network and play a pivotal role in its thriving economic future.”
The estimated cost of a tram-train link is £144.3m, which includes construction, rolling stock, inflation, contingency and land purchase. Construction could start in 2021 and it could be operational by 2025.
The personal rapid transit option would cost £102m and would involve a mix of the existing heavy rail network and a new light railway connecting from heavy rail at Paisley to the airport utilising a bespoke system similar to that used at other airports.