Rail 793 – Glasgow Crossrail / Smartcard Thoughts.

Glasgow Crossrail.

I read through the article again at the weekend and looked at what was being said and the various cases made for it.

There was debunking quick answers from RailQwest campaigner and a number of interesting points made, especially in supporting regeneration, access to the merchant city and other stuff.

But I’m sat here on a train from Paisley Gilmour Street, I have the choice already of a ‘fast’ at platform 3 to Glasgow Central or a ‘slow’ stopper from platform 1.

The information screen is as usual on the page 4 safety notice, but I know my 0858 from my 0859.

I want a seat on a less busy train. I can accept the three stops as it gets in 3 minutes after the ‘fast’. A train that is busier and has more people getting on at Paisley.

What would a Glasgow Crossrail offer me? 

The ‘fasts’ from Ayrshire would presumably stop at West Street, Gorbals and Glasgow Cross before joining the North Clyde Line and going to the east.

I’d guess at a slower progress over the City Union line and with two stops before Glasgow Cross, that it’d be a journey of possibly 25 minutes from Paisley and that’s before I walk to work.

It’s a balance I suppose, as people wouldn’t want the services that already stop at the Hillington stations and Cardonald to also use Crossrail as well and make even more stops.

This may be inevitable with West Street as an interchange and a stop a couple of minutes out of Glasgow Central might seem absurd to the passenger getting the service from Central but not to someone using the Glasgow Subway from Buchanan Street or Byres Road to interchange.

For me, if I found myself headed for work and the train went the Crossrail  route, I’d bale out at West Street and use my Zonecard’s ability to ride on the Subway to get to Buchanan Street. Time wise It’d be similar to getting into Central and walking.

I wanted to add to this post by looking into the early 1970’s Clyderail proposals, sadly I couldn’t find anything that confirms my thoughts that the other proposal within it were services like Airdrie to Inverclyde and the like. 

The Crossrail proposal has been around a long time and when I consider, as a commuter how it might affect me in future, i can understand why it hasn’t come to fruition.

The Rail magazine article made good points on the cost benefit analysis that it had back in the mid 2000’s and I see the point in the connection between the north and south electric networks, especially as more of Scotland will be electrified as the rolling programme continues.

Obviously with the Tram Train proposal under the Clyde Valley city deal, the heavy rail to airport and Crossrail to the east stuff has risen again. 

I just wonder if tourists and business types could handle an airport to city service that didn’t terminate at the main station though.

Any additional stops on the Paisley  corridor would affect me too and it’s noticeable that quite an area has been cleared around Ibrox area, I know there was a station there in the past and it’s been proposed a number of times too. 

I guess two additional stops on my ‘slow’ train would change my thinking as a commuter and adding that into a potential mix of services bypassing Central Station could make choosing how to get to work a lot more complex in future.

I’m more intrigued by a proposal I’ve seen on the railway forums and that is for a ‘London’ solution. 

A genuine  cross city bored tunnel connecting from after Arkleston junction heading for the New  Southern General Hospital or QUEH and running between Queen Street and Central (linking to both) before connecting up with the Lines to north and east. Radical solution and interesting, but expensive.

Smartcards 

Obviously in future, I want an integrated smart card to do that, my zonecard has an SPT ‘bramble’ card stuck behind my photo card, I can get it topped up at Subway counters, but my main travel ticket is paper to go in and through the Scotrail barrier system.

We’re told progress will be made, but in the Q and A for the Scotrail Smartcard and its ‘big bang’ across the network,  having a zonecard is a ‘not yet, but we hope to introduce soon’.

Modal change and the ability to jump on and off modes is important, it’s even more so if a step change is made to routes and services. 

But for the minute, I want an oyster type card to work on buses trains and other LRT just like the Oyster Card does. 

The tech is there with the barriers and touch out panels at stations (outside the initial Smartcard routes) and it seems to have been there before the franchise changed hands. 

SPT changed my zonecard to include their version of the Smartcard about 2 years ago.

What I have noticed is the difficulty that conductors have at times in checking Smartcards on train and that seems to involve the    same machine that’s used for bank card payments. 

Much of the time I use train, there’s the staffed gate line at Paisley as well as barriers at Glasgow Central, so an on train check isn’t really necessay.

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