GARL goes tram-train

Image: Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow’s much-anticipated rail link with the city’s airport could be back on after a stop-start-stop history.

The Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL), intended to link Glasgow city centre with the local airport and to be in operation by 2013, was cancelled in 2009 with public spending cuts the cited reason.

A couple of other proposals didn’t get anywhere over the next few years, but the whole idea may be resurrected as a tram-train project.

Council leaders have now tabled a proposal to build a direct rail link between Glasgow Airport, Paisley and the city centre.

Named the Glasgow Airport Access Project, the proposal is to use tram-trains to carry passengers on the existing railway to Paisley and then on a light-rail spur to the airport.

The £144 million plan is likely to be endorsed by the Glasgow City Region Cabinet in December, following discussions involving Renfrewshire and Glasgow City councils. If approved, the new route could be operational by 2025 after three years of construction.

The proposal is for up to four tram-trains per hour, running in each direction between Glasgow Central Station, Paisley Gilmour Street and the airport. The interchange point at Paisley Gilmour Street would enable passengers from the Paisley area and from destinations on the Ayrshire and Inverclyde train lines to access the service to the airport without having to travel via the city centre.

Journeys across the length of the route would take 16.5 minutes – a dramatic improvement for people travelling to and from the airport by public transport.

Welcoming the announcement, head of planning and development for Glasgow Airport Ross Nimmo said: “Not only is it a significant milestone in the Glasgow Airport Access Project, it is the culmination of rigorous planning over several years. It has a very strong business case, with conservative estimates suggesting the airport is set to become one of the busiest train stations in Scotland.

“This is great news for travellers, and whether they choose the train, the bus or the car, Glasgow Airport will be easier to get to than ever before.”

Report by Nigel Wordsworth


  1. Would be beneficial to the people of Paisley, who have had to endure a decade if not more of scandalous Renfrewshire Council negligence on developing Paisley, to actually be given more information on the project such as routes, disturbance to roads and buildings, excpected completion date!


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