We last heard news on the plan for a tram-train service to link Glasgow City Centre and Glasgow Airport back at the end of 2016 but now it has been reported that the Scottish Government have decided to abandon the plans as they consider it would detrimentally affect other rail services in the area. The last we had heard was that local councils were in favour of the plan but they have now been told there will be no support from the government bringing an end to hopes for improved transport to the airport.
It had long been a desire of Glasgow City Council to have a direct rail link from the city centre to airport and various ideas have been floated and then shelved over the years with this latest version due to have seen tram-trains run on conventional rail lines between the airport and Paisley Gilmour Street with on-street track then constructed from there to the city centre. The Glasgow Airport Access Project was set to be part of a £1.13b Glasgow city region funding deal and it had been hoped that construction would start in 2022 with services starting in 2025.
Michael Matheson MSP, Transport Secretary, has been reported as saying that leading figures in the City Region Deal will soon be asked to come up with an alternative plan to improve airport access. One suggestion being floated is a shuttle pod system between the airport and Paisley Gilmour Street.
The news has been greeted with major disappointment with both Labour and Conservative MSPs voiced their disapproval about the SNP led government decision. Colin Smyth, Labour MSP, commented: “This is the second time the SNP have axed plans for a rail link to Glasgow Airport, and yet another betrayal of the people of Glasgow and the West of Scotland. The city of Glasgow continues to grow, Glasgow Airport continues to grow, but so too does the utter lack of ambition by this SNP Government and the SNP leadership in Glasgow and Renfrewshire councils.”
In response to these complaints Michael Mathieson said: “Analysis has shown that to accommodate tram/train services at the airport, performance on the wider rail network would be negatively impacted and require either the reduction of current rail services to and from Ayrshire and Inverclyde, or the deferral of future service enhancements, and/or significant high-cost infrastructure in and around Glasgow Central. We cannot ignore the fact that a tram/train option would have a detrimental impact on the network and has many real and potentially insurmountable challenges.”