The proposed Glasgow Airport rail link could be a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system that runs from a relocated Paisley St James station, if a scheme by Junction 29 (Scotland) Ltd is chosen as the preferred option.
Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet is currently considering two options for a rail link to Glasgow Airport – a PRT option and a tram-train option.
The tram-train option would involve carriages running from Glasgow Central to the airport via Paisley, is estimated to cost £144m and would offer a 16.5 minute direct journey from Glasgow city centre to the airport, with an estimated completion date of 2025.
The alternative PRT option would run from a relocated Paisley St James station and would come off the existing main rail line which goes through Paisley Gilmour Street station. This system offers:
- Reduced cost to deliver – £70-£80m
- Fast journey time – 1.1miles from the airport, taking just 4 minutes
- Speed of completion – construction could be within 12 months
- Less disruption – can be built alongside existing network
Junction 29 (Scotland) Ltd owns a 40-acre site next to Glasgow Airport at Junction 29 of the M8. The site is large enough to provide a park and ride at this new station plus additional land for a mixed-use development. The PRT option uses proven technology and features small automated vehicles, which can be different sizes, operating on a network of specially built lightweight guideways.
The proposed Glasgow Airport rail link is the flagship project of the City Deal. The main purposes of the City Deal are to give the Region a permanent uplift in its GVA of £2.2billion per annum (4.4%); generate 15,000 jobs during the construction period and 28,000 permanent additional jobs once works are complete; and to unlock £3.3billion of private sector investment.
A decision on which becomes the preferred option for the proposed Glasgow Airport rail link will be made by Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet in December.
Paul Kelly, Managing Director of Junction 29 Ltd explained: “The PRT option offers reduced costs, a faster journey time, can be delivered within 12 months and would significantly ease congestion on the M8 corridor between the airport and the city centre. Our PRT solution is very similar to what is already in place at London Heathrow Terminal 5, which is very reliable and has high levels of customer satisfaction.
“Passengers would travel on the Glasgow Central – Gourock/Wemyss Bay line and disembark at a relocated Paisley St James station. They would then join the PRT system and four minutes later, arrive at the airport.”
Mark Chestney, Head of Rail at Heathrow Airport said: “The proposed PRT system for Glasgow Airport is very similar to the system at Heathrow Terminal 5 which went into full service in May 2011, taking passengers on the five-minute journey between the terminal and a 1275 space car park. Since the service began, the system has carried around two million passengers, has an excellent safety record and availability has been approximately 99.5%. The system has removed 70,000 annual bus journeys from the busy Heathrow road system, saving over 100 tonnes of C02 emissions every year. The PRT system is also quiet, comfortable, on demand, and one of the most popular systems for passengers around the airport.”
Tom Johnston, chairman of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce added: “Improved surface access to and from Glasgow Airport is vital not only for the continued success of the airport but for Renfrewshire’s economy. In my opinion, a rail link would deliver significant benefits for Renfrewshire, which would give the area’s businesses a fantastic boost and could potentially bring more jobs to the area. Renfrewshire is expanding both commercially and residentially, so improved access and connectivity is vital. Anything that will reduce traffic on the M8 corridor would be welcome.”