On my letter to rail. 

I thought there was something about the article, not sure what it was.

I appreciate that campaigners and a copy with a proposal can throw up ideas, but I have this nagging thought that heavy rail to Glasgow Airport isn’t the only answer.

My doubts?

GARL. The massive viaduct over the playing fields at the Racecourse. The Huge bridge spanning the motorway.

New GARL – elevated from St James station to the airport, crossing the M8 and the width of two Spurs from the Johnstone bypass. Equally big, maybe not quite as high, but is it justified?

Paths? Are there the paths for 4 trains an hour? In and out. Would the travellers currently using bus use it? Would it be an answer with Crossrail thrown in too?

I’m not sure, it’s not likely that GARL and Crossrail could both be funded out the city deal pot. I’m not sure on the grip stages for Network Rail approval or what timescales for Scottish Goverment or Parliament approval. 

A scheme would need some sort of paving bill as well as the worked up details from Transport Scotland

Acquisition of land or property is an issue too. 

If we are realistically talking about a window over the next five years, then why rush the matter.

The city deal is new, the first meetings of the politicians involved locally have only happened in past few months, the jobs for the project and overseeing  deal might only recently have been filled too, so how quickly can they assemble the current information and act.

Time helps on technology, the Sheffield tram/train project. The Class 399 units might be the answer, standard gauge, capable of 68 mph. Units are in three sections and can seat 88 with 150 standing. 

Line speed Paisley to Glasgow is 75 mph, so is there a huge issue with speed if the tram/trains call all stops and can be overtaken by units on the third central line? 

But it’s to be running in 2017 and that’s possibly not a helpful time frame.

Could heavy rail on its own be the answer? That means at least the four paths an hour calling through presumably Paisley Gilmour Street and onto Glasgow. 

Would the airport see different services? If Crossrail happens is there a chance of Edinburgh or Aberdeen services? 

Or is there a need to connect to Lanarkshire or elsewhere in the Strathclyde network?

If there must be a heavy rail connection then it makes sense to consider all options.

One must be to look at using the land either west or east of the airport boundaries as a corridor for a rail route, avoid the M8, the issues at the racecourse and come in at ground level without a viaduct or elevated section, but that would mean a bigger engineering task in bridging the Clyde and coming over from Dalmuir junction.

The obvious benefit of that is a routing as part of the North Clyde line and an ability to run via Partick and then either Glasgow Central or Queen Street low level with much greater connectivity. It gives limited benefits to Paisley and Renfrewshire although bridging the Clyde opens up a possibility to serve Erskine and with enough planning to try and figure a way of connecting to the inverclyde line around Bishopton.

That might be too radical, it certainly would be a transport investment and intervention.

Another way of bypassing Paisley Gilmour Street is to branch off the airport line at arkleston junction using an old track bed that once served Renfrew and that runs east of the White Cart Water, a bridge and route through an industrial estate would then access the airport at the eastern side of the terminal. 

The former Abercorn station near the Renfrew Road could reopen and it provides a station near the Paisley to Braehead bus route and would serve commuters from north side of Paisley. If a dedicated bus facility was provided at the station it could help change transport patterns. 

Again question is whether Renfrewshire politicians would accept that as a solution.

Putting together the Abercorn route with the tram/train approach from the west side is the most interesting solution. Bay platforms at the airport station for heavy rail and the direct link to Glasgow and through platforms for a tram train to run from Glasgow through Gilmour Street and St James to the airport and the back to Glasgow via Abercorn.

It’s a double link. Local benefit and the regional/national link too, but could that be too expensive?

Factor in city deal, possible European money, Scottish Government and Local Authority cash as well as something from airport owner.

The tram/train is desirable, it’s something that can bring people into heart of towns. It can be used to join up places in west central Scotland that are presently off the rail map.

If we say, well what else? I’ve seen reasoned proposals on forums for a grand scale London type project. The logic is to use a tunnel machine like London’s cross rail and go for it, connect the airport, the massive SGH hospital complex in govan and come out to connect with either the argyle or North Clyde lines before the city centre.

Huge expense? Maybe, but also a huge  fix of transport issues and the first new underground railway created in a long time. Genuinely innovative. 

Anyways that’s a lot of thoughts. 

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