Decision to axe Glasgow Airport rail link a ‘betrayal’, Labour claim

An artist's impression of the proposed rail link that would have connected Glasgow Airport and the city centre. Picture: Contributed
An artist's impression of the proposed rail link that would have connected Glasgow Airport and the city centre. Picture: Contributed
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The decision to axe plans for a direct rail link between Glasgow city centre and Glasgow Airport has been described as a “betrayal for the city”.

Glasgow Labour leader Frank McAveety made the comments after alternative proposals were announced last week for a shuttle pod system built to run between the airport and Paisley Gilmour Street instead.

A direct rail link to Glasgow was announced as part of the £1.13 billion Glasgow City Region deal agreed in 2014 and was expected to be operational by 2025.

After several delays and concerns over rail capacity at Glasgow Central station, it was indicated different options would be explored.

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

Mr McAveety, former chairman of the City Region Cabinet, which progressed the plans, said the SNP should stop “dragging their feet” over construction of an airport link.

“What has Glasgow done to deserve this?” Mr McAveety asked.

“This is the second time that Glasgow has had its rail link project axed by the SNP.

READ MORE: Council bosses back £144m Glasgow Airport direct rail link

“Glasgow is one of few cities of its size that does not have a dedicated rail link to its airport.

“This is a betrayal for the city. The Glasgow Airport Rail Link project has undergone review after review.

“Our city is growing year-on-year and continues to be the powerhouse of the Scottish economy.

“It’s time the SNP stopped dragging their feet, put the Glasgow Airport Rail Link project back on track and invested in the railway network that our city needs.”

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said she would continue to listen to concerns raised by transport professionals over the viability of a rail link.

“Improving connectivity to Glasgow Airport is a key priority and one I’m absolutely committed to,” she said.

“However, serious doubts remain about the viability of the option Mr McAveety continues to champion, about major detrimental impacts upon the daily running of the country’s biggest railway station and whether tram-train financially stacks up.

“Councillor McAveety would prefer that I give up on finding a workable solution, close my ears to the repeated concerns from transport professionals and take a massive risk with valuable public finances and our wider transport network. That’s not leadership and I won’t take that risk.

“Scotland has recent examples of major projects which were not properly costed with disastrous consequences.

“I therefore want to see business cases for both the tram-train and PRT (passenger rail transport) solutions so we can make a fully informed choice about which option is best for our city.”