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November 26, 2015

Light rail and tram-train options proposed for Glasgow airport link

Glasgow City Council in Scotland has proposed two options to provide a rail link between the city centre and the airport.

Glasgow City Council in Scotland has proposed two options to provide a rail link between the city centre and the airport.

Options of either a tram-train or a light rail link have been put forward, and a business case for both has been developed jointly by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council.

The schemes will soon go to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet for approval.

The project, which will see a rail connection between Glasgow city centre, Paisley and Glasgow Airport, is part of the £1.13bn Glasgow and Clyde Valley city deal, a funding agreement between the UK and Scottish Governments, eight local authorities across Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.

"This new connection will contribute a great deal to the success of the city region."

Renfrewshire councillor Mark Macmillan 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."

The tram-train link would see vehicles run on the existing heavy rail network between Glasgow Central Station and Paisley Gilmour Street before joining a new light rail alignment running between Paisley and the front of the airport terminal building.

The £144.3m tram-train link project will also include rolling stock, inflation, contingencies and land acquisition.

Construction is scheduled to start in 2021 and the rail line is expected to open in 2021 providing a 16.5min direct journey between the city centre and the airport.

The other £102m option would see a new light rail personal rapid transit system between Paisley Gilmour Street and the airport.

The personal rapid transit option would involve a mix of the existing heavy rail network and a new light railway connecting from heavy rail.

If approved by the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet, further work would be done to develop more detail on both of these options before a final, preferred choice is made next year.

According to studies, tram-train would be the best performing option, offering the best value for money, and it would result in more people using the service and better journey times for people travelling to and from the airport.

It is reported that the tram-train 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.

Glasgow City Council councillor Frank McAveety said: "Glasgow and the Clyde Valley is the economic powerhouse of Scotland and Glasgow Airport plays a crucial role in the continued growth of the region.

"We’ve long argued that a new rail link between the airport and the city centre is essential for the thousands of tourists and business travellers who fly into and out of Glasgow every day.

"The airport already supports thousands of jobs but this new rail link, which is the single biggest element of our City Deal, will be the catalyst that takes us to a new level, vastly improving the customer experience and generating even more jobs and inward investment."

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