Budget set for the Glasgow Airport tram-train link

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UK: Glasgow Council leaders have set out plans to build a direct rail link between Glasgow Airport, Paisley and the city centre.

The £144m Glasgow Airport Access Project will transform journeys to and from the airport as a state-of-the-art system will carry passengers on specially designed tram-trains using both the existing railway network and a new light rail spur from Paisley to the airport.

The plans are set to be endorsed by the Glasgow City Region Cabinet in December after being discussed by Renfrewshire and Glasgow City councils in the coming weeks. If approved the system would be operational by 2025, with construction due to begin three years earlier.

Airport tram train

Councillor Frank McAveety, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet, said:
"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.

"This announcement represents a significant milestone in the journey we've been on for many years. We are committed to delivering this tram-train link and, best of all, the money to pay for it is already in the bank."

Ross Nimmo, Head of planning and development for Glasgow Airport, said:
"We welcome the identification of tram train as the preferred option. Not only is it a significant milestone in the Glasgow Airport Access Project, it is the culmination of rigorous planning over several years. It has a very strong business case, with conservative estimates suggesting the airport is set to become one of the busiest train stations in Scotland. This is great news for travellers, and whether they choose the train, the bus or the car, Glasgow Airport will be easier to get to than ever before."

A survey of businesses in the Glasgow City Region conducted earlier this year revealed three quarters of respondents view Glasgow Airport as either 'important' or 'very important' to their operations.

The proposals would see up to four tram-trains per hour running in each direction taking passengers between Glasgow Central Station, Paisley Gilmour Street and the airport.

The interchange point at Paisley Gilmour Street would enable passengers from the Paisley area and from destinations on the Ayrshire and Inverclyde train lines to access the service to the airport without having to travel via the city centre.

Journeys across the length of the route would take 16.5 minutes, meaning a dramatic improvement for people travelling to and from the airport by public transport.

Currently, over 80% of passengers and staff travel to and from the airport by road, with the M8 already suffering from repeated and worsening congestion during peak times.

The tram-train model was chosen as the preferred option after an appraisal established it offered the greatest opportunity of encouraging people to travel to and from the airport via public transport.