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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-20915: Stuart McMillan (Greenock and Inverclyde)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 17 January 2019

To ask the Scottish Government what the impact of the proposed rail link between Glasgow Airport and Glasgow city centre will be on the number of daily rail journeys to and from Inverclyde, and what the economic impact of this will be on Inverclyde.

Answered by: Michael Matheson 6 February 2019

Transport Scotland and Network Rail are continuing to work collaboratively with the Glasgow Airport Access Project team as they reconsider the evidence base and transport appraisal work to address comments raised in an independent audit of the Outline Business Case. The audit highlighted concerns around the potential impact of a Tram / Train option on services using Glasgow Central Station and its approaches, including those to and from Inverclyde and Ayrshire.

It has been clear for some time that introducing a Tram / Train type solution to the very busy heavy rail network south of Glasgow Central Station would be challenging. The recent South Glasgow Timetable Capacity Study, commissioned by Transport Scotland at Ministers request, has concluded that while it may be possible to introduce a Tram /Train service to Glasgow Airport, this would have a detrimental effect on performance of existing and future services using Glasgow Central Station, including those on the busy Inverclyde, Ayrshire, Shotts and East Kilbride lines, and require:

(i) the reduction of current rail services, and/or

(ii) the deferral of future service enhancements, and/or

(iii) significant and high cost infrastructure enhancement at Glasgow Central and on approaches which are currently not funded.

On 30 January I Chaired the Glasgow Airport Access Executive Steering Group which includes the Leaders of both Glasgow City and Renfrewshire Councils and representatives from Glasgow Airport and Network Rail. At this meeting the group heard updates on the progress of the audit close out work including how the significant concerns over the Tram / Train impact, costs and deliverability have been considered and how the other options for improving connectivity to the Airport have been developed. The project team now intend to a present Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) connection to Paisley Gilmour Street within the updated Outline Business Case to the Glasgow City Deal Cabinet in due course.