Glasgow Airport Rail Link – a letter to Rail Magazine.

Rail 733 Feature Glasgow Infrastructure


With regard to Andrew Mourant’s feature on Glasgow Airport and Glasgow Crossrail, I felt it was missing a plan detailing the RailQwest proposal routing from Paisley St James station to the Airport.

I have an interest as a local commuter from Paisley and I have never seen online the details of this proposed route.

My understanding from the article is that the elevated section would cross a section of the M8 motorway with four main lanes as well as an additional two feeder lanes for the Johnstone Bypass. 

It would then cross the St James’ playing fields which are known locally as a former burial ground and also reputed to have issues in terms of the depth of supports needed to hit firm ground. (Locals joked about investing in a concrete company for the original GARL proposal) 

The route would then cross another dual carriageway, the A726, and connect west of Paisley St James station.

Described in those terms, it is not that dissimilar to the original GARL proposal and still has some of the original issues in terms of the crossing of eight carriageways of the M8 and A726 and would still plough through the playing fields. 

In the Scotsman last year (14 March 2014, article by Alistair Dalton) the considered tram/train route was shown and it takes a much more sympathetic route to the Airport and even takes advantage of running alongside and under elevated sections of motorway. 

For RailQwest to describe the tram/train route as ‘convoluted’ and 

claim their proposal brings ‘community benefits to North Paisley’, I am, to say the least, somewhat surprised. 

The Scottish Government’s transport guidance (STPR) raises Metro/LRT in the West of Scotland Strategic Rail Enhancement Intervention. The option of Tram/Train is well covered in the Glasgow Airport Strategic Transport Appraisal. 

Additionally both the Renfrewshire and Glasgow Councils are looking to extend the Fastlink BRT scheme towards Renfrew.

A demand for a heavy rail link to Glasgow Airport that can be done quickly and cheaply is one thing, but the route must be properly considered and rushing to a ‘out the box’ proposal might not be best answer for a transport issue that is local, regional and national.(in the Scottish Context)

For me, a solution might be to use the route (also described in the Scotsman article as another option) off Arkleston Junction and through the former Abercorn station approaching the airport from the east for heavy rail from either Glasgow or using a ‘Glasgow Crossrail’, whilst progressing a tram/train link from St James’ Railway station from the west and giving an innovative answer to those that want an express link between city and airport and a link that also serves Paisley and Renfrewshire. 

(The Tram/Trains could even operate on a circular basis from Glasgow to Paisley Gilmour Street, St James, Airport and a new Abercorn halt) 

Yours sincerely 

we’ll see if I get published or not, but worth a copy and paste here. 



First plan shows in red possible tram/train route.

Second plan the alternative via former Abercorn Station and

Third plan is old layout showing Renfrew Paisley Railway Andre spur for Abercorn. 


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