The final introduction of all 40 new Juniper electric trains in December after lengthy teething troubles has improved reliability and comfort on the Gourock, Largs and Wemyss Bay lines.
Junipers also serve the Helensburgh line, which enjoys a few limited stop services that reduce journey times.
The south Glasgow routes are also likely to benefit from the completion of the planned Glasgow Airport rail link. The scheme is expected to include extra tracks between Paisley and Glasgow, enabling more frequent services to run.
Station: Greenock Central
Journey time: 35 minutes
Peak trains per hour: 3
Monthly season ticket: 92.90
Another beneficiary of the Clyde’s industrial heyday, this large town 23 miles west of Glasgow is home to the Greenock museum and art gallery which celebrates the work of James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine. Industries have declined, and many of the town’s residents are now commuters. Certainly, their leisure time in the fresh air is well catered for in Greenock, with the waterfront and quay, Battery Park and a 27-hole golf course. The 100 square mile Clyde Muirshiel country park stretches inland over hilly moorland country, providing woodland nature walks, bird watching and water sports on Castle Semple Loch; ideal for an active family based in Greenock.
AVERAGE PRICES: One-bedroom flats sell for 30,000, a three-bedroom family home for 75,000 and four/five-bedroom detached houses in the region of 175,000
Journey time: 45 minutes
Peak trains per hour: 3-4
Monthly season ticket: 102.90
Half resort, half port, the small coastal town of Gourock is a characterful, if rather tired, seaside town with marvellous views over the Clyde to the Cowal Peninsula. With its thriving yachting centre, Gourock is an ideal location for a sailor taken into the city by work, but longing to spend all weekend on the water and enjoying some peace and quiet to counteract Glasgow’s hustle and bustle. A golf course and walking on Barnhill, which rises 150metres above the town, add to the opportunities for fresh air and exercise for a commuter feeling stifled by the city. With terraces of solid stone-built mansions overlooking the river, Gourock was once considered nearby Greenock’s fashionable adjunct.
AVERAGE PRICES: One-bedroom flats start at 30-40,000, three-bedroom family homes sell for 80,000 and four/five-bedroomed detached houses in the region of 180,000
Journey time: 64 minutes
Peak trains per hour: 1-2
Monthly season ticket: 131
Largs has the air of an old-fashioned holiday retreat. With a bright and airy prospect and bustling streets, this little town offers lots to see and do: a museum, National Sports Training Centre, swimming pool, golf courses, a marina and Kelburn Country Park. Ideal for a family with older children, who are reluctant to embrace big city living, Largs is a delightful home base for commuters into Glasgow.
AVERAGE PRICES: One-bedroom flats sell for 45,000, three-bedroom family homes for 90,000 and four/five-bedroom detached houses for 200,000
Station: Helensburgh Central
Journey time: 1 hour 11 minutes
Peak trains per hour: 2
Monthly season ticket: 90.20
Perhaps most famous for its association with Charles Rennie Mackintosh, whose Hill House can still be visited on Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh was developed to serve Glasgow’s wealthy holiday makers. Charming late 19th-century Italianate villas, enjoying sweeping views over the Clyde Estuary, line the hillside in terraces and Helensburgh remains primarily the preserve of Glasgow’s more well-heeled commuters. With Loch Lomond so close, there is some tourist pressure on the area particularly in the summer months, but the Loch’s water sports and scenery also provide a draw for those considering permanent residence.
AVERAGE PRICES: One-bedroom flats sell for 45,000, three-bedroom family homes 110,000 and four/five-bedroomed detached houses for 250,000
Journey time: 54 minutes
Peak trains per hour: 1-2
Monthly season ticket: 110.20
This coastal village on the Firth of Clyde, 31 miles west of Glasgow, has grown from a settlement that was originally part of the Kelly estate. Popular as a late 19th-century holiday resort, and popular in part by virtue of its railway station, Wemyss Bay remains a convenient commute into the city. Property here is in demand, but those wishing to base themselves here are in search of tranquillity and coastal life rather than rock-bottom prices.
AVERAGE PRICES: One-bedroom flats sell for 40,000, three-bedroom family homes for 75,000 and four/five-bedroom detached houses for 120,000