A new rail link will connect Glasgow city center with Glasgow Airport. A scheme to build a tram-train link is one of two options being put forward for a new connection between Glasgow city center, 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 center 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 and is announced today. It will be put before councilors 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.
Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council, 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 center is essential for the thousands of tourists and business travelers 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.”
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 utilizing a bespoke system similar to that used at other airports.