PLANS for a £300 million monorail linking Glasgow city centre with the international airport at Renfrew have been unveiled by a retired engineer who helped design the Channel Tunnel.
The proposal for a seven-and-a-half mile monorail has been drawn up by Jim Beckett, 78, and his brother John, 77.
The pair claim the route, which would include stations at Renfrew, Braehead shopping centre, the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Govan, the Riverside Museum and SECC en route to Glasgow Central, would ease the city’s traffic congestion.
They have spent the last seven months researching the project and they hope transport bosses will look into their plans as an alternative to a tram-train link.
The design, called Clyde Monorail, would allow passengers to travel the entire route in 18 minutes at speeds of up to 50mph.
The brothers claim the route would benefit commuters as well as airport-bound passengers.
Jim Beckett, the design director responsible for electrical and instrumentation systems on the UK half of the Channel Tunnel, said the favoured tram-train link “doesn’t add anything” to the region’s transport infrastructure.
He told The Herald: “It’s heralded as the flagship project for the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal, but our contention is that that does nothing for the wider transport infrastructure because you’re limiting it to the passengers that are generated by the airport.
“If you ran it north and picked up places like Renfrew, the Braehead shopping centre, the Queen Elizabeth hospital, the transport museum, and the SECC, then you are going to generate an awful lot more business for it.
“People coming from the centre of Glasgow to the Queen Elizabeth hospital can jump on the monorail.
“If someone is going from Glasgow Airport to the BBC, they can jump on the monorail, get off at the SECC, cross the bridge and they’re at Pacific Quay - or the Science Centre, the STV studios, the Armadillo.”
He added: “There is much more traffic generated by this proposal than would ever be generated by the tram-train airport link.”
The hybrid scheme, backed by Glasgow and Renfrewshire councils, and expected to cost £144m, would see tramcars running from the airport terminal on a newly-constructed light rail line into Paisley, where it would join the existing heavy rail infrastructure and continue direct to Glasgow Central.
It was recommended by independent consultants in 2014 as the best surface access solution for the airport, which can currently only be reached by road.
It followed the controversial axing of the heavy rail GARL project in 2009.
Mr Beckett, from Brookfield, near Bridge of Weir, said one of the other major advantages of the monorail was that it would be elevated up to 40 metres (130ft) at some sections, causing minimal traffic disruption during construction and limiting the need for compulsory purchase orders.