Airport Access Project

As many of my readers on Transport matter know, I am greatly interested in the Glasgow Airport Tram/Train proposal.

Significant step with the Glasgow City Region ‘cabinet’ approving further spending on project, effectively £14 million on further initial works.

http://www.glasgowcityregion.co.uk/article/8600/Glasgow-City-Region-Cabinet-approves-plans-for-direct-rail-link-between-Glasgow-Airport-Paisley-and-the-city-centre

That’s the link and it’s positive and good stuff.

Within the report was this plan and whilst I had assumed the red dotted route was most likely to deliver a 16 minute journey, the other options are all possible.

Looking at taking a street running route or using the former Abercorn/Renfrew spur, shows some interesting thinking and knowledge of the capabilities of tram/trains and particularly the Karlsruhe Model of operations.

The blue route comes off the main line passing Gilmour Street station’s Old Sneddon Street entrance and routing part of the Paisley one way system and along Love Street and Inchinnan Road much like the unloved 757 bus.

 (I recently overheard that service described as taking ages to go through the arse end of Paisley – charming )

I think there’s issues in Street running and particularly using part of the wide streets as the Paisley one way system is chaotic enough and drivers race between the traffic lights, making the addition of a tramway look unlikely.

The green coloured Abercorn spur that formerly linked to Renfrew would reuse an old alignment before crossing the White Cart.

 It would bypass Gilmour Street completely and I can’t see Renfrewshire Council being happy with that routing, although it may have attractions operationally and in journey time. 

As I’ve blogged before, it might more desirable in conjunction with the red or purple routes in order that the airport is on the end of a larger loop and certain journeys are direct and others are via Paisley.

Mention is made in the report of the vehicles intended to be used in the Sheffield to Rotherham trial and whilst the vehicles will very much be of interest, it’s very difficult to see that there’s much to learn from a delayed project in terms of the physical infrastructure.

There may be other vehicles suitable and developments in recent English railway franchise awards have seen Stadler on Greater Anglia and CAF in terms of Northern and Transpennine offer differ railway rolling stock to the market. Stadler have taken over the manufacturer of the Sheffield tram trains in any case.

In terms of the noise about it not being ‘heavy rail’route, first point is route. A ‘heavy’ alignments like GARL decimates St James’s Park, itself a former burial ground and which is known to have soft subsoil. 

Next is crossing the M8, the GARL bridge proposed crossing  at a wide point, possibly above the A737 connecting roads too. It was quite a mad proposal despite the groovy visuals of a SPT 334 soaring over the motorway. 

Without the Glasgow Crossrail or an alternative, where would a heavy route go? Glasgow Central and to me, that doesn’t fit with the regional plan or the STPR. 

This tram/train if successfully delivered may lead to other things.

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