Decision due in December
PRT link for airport ‘cheaper and quicker to build’
Plan similar to Heathrow T5
Backers of a rapid transit link between Glasgow airport and the city centre say it could be built more cheaply and quicker than a second option.
It would be similar to the link at London Heathrow Terminal 5 which has carried two million passengers and has removed 70,000 annual bus journeys from the busy road system.
Glasgow and Clyde Valley Cabinet is currently considering two schemes – a tram-train link and a personal rapid transit (PRT) system.
The tram-train option would link Glasgow Central to the airport via Paisley at an estimated cost of £144 million. It would be a direct 16 and half minute direct journey with a planned 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.
It would cost £70-£80m, involve a journey time of just four minutes and could be built within 12 months. There would also be less disruption as it can be built alongside the existing network.
Junction 29 (Scotland), which is backing this alternative, owns a 40-acre site next to Glasgow Airport and nearby the St James Junction of the M8.
The site is large enough to provide a park and ride at this new station with 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, said: “The PRT option…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.
“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,
“Anything that will reduce traffic on the M8 corridor would be welcome.”