Plans for £144m direct rail link to Glasgow Airport unveiled

An artist's impression of trams arriving at Glasgow Airport. Picture: Contributed
An artist's impression of trams arriving at Glasgow Airport. Picture: Contributed
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Travellers could soon be arriving at Glasgow Airport on trams, if a new £144 million rail link project is given the green light.

The plans are part of the £1.13 billion Glasgow city deal announced in 2014.

A digitally-created image of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL), shelved in 2009. Picture: Contributed

A digitally-created image of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL), shelved in 2009. Picture: Contributed

Journeys to and from the airport would be transformed with a state-of-the-art system carrying passengers on specially-designed tram-trains, using both the existing railway network and a new light rail spur from Paisley to the airport.

It is currently estimated that more than 80 per cent of passengers and airport staff currently travel via road, adding to the congestion on the busy M8 motorway.

The project would see journey times to the airport cut to 16 and a half minutes, and would rule out a need to use the M8.

READ MORE - High-speed monorail plans to Glasgow Airport proposed

The airport, which processed 8.7 million passengers last year, currently brings in around £170 million to the local region every year.

The Scottish government shelved plans for a direct rail link between the city and airport - dubbed the Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) - in 2009, due to fears over the projected £210 million cost.

But in 2012, as revealed by the Scotland on Sunday newspaper, the plans were revived as the airport’s managing director Amanda McMillan bemoaned the lack of a ‘plan B’ after the GARL project was scrapped.

If the new plans are given the green light, the system could be up and running by 2025, with building work slated to begin in 2022.

Glasgow City Council leader Frank McAveety welcomed the plans, adding: ”We’ve long argued that a rail link between the airport and city centre is essential for the thousands of tourists and business travellers who fly into and out of Glasgow every day.

READ MORE - Business express support for Glasgow Airport rail link

“The airport already supports thousands of jobs but this new rail link - the single biggest element of our City Deal - will be the catalyst that takes us to a new level, vastly improving the customer experience and generating even more jobs and inward investment.”

The plans will be discussed by Renfrewshire and Glasgow city councils, before being passed to the Glasgow City Region Cabinet next month.