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Radical transport vision maps out Glasgow Metro, HS2 terminus and airport link vision

April 29 2019

Radical transport vision maps out Glasgow Metro, HS2 terminus and airport link vision

A connectivity commission established by Glasgow City Council has followed up its call for a significant programme of streetscape improvements with a second set of recommendations to improve public transport across the city centre.

Chaired by professor David Begg the Glasgow Connectivity Commission was established in 2017 with a view to carrying out a broad brush reappraisal of the city’s infrastructure in favour of healthier living.

Leaving nothing off the table this report recommends a number of high-profile interventions including the creation of a Glasgow Metro, a tunnel between Central and Queen Street Stations, a revived Glasgow Airport rail link and extending Central Station south of the Clyde to accommodate HS2 services.

One of the first actions would be to establish a light rail spur from Paisley Gilmour Street to the airport by 2025, with further extensions to Renfrew, Braehead, the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and city centre taking place over the following decades.

On the ambition of the proposed investment Begg wrote: “It would be easy to baulk at their scale. But we were persuaded by the evidence that this could deliver a step-change in the performance of Scotland’s economic powerhouse, delivering a more prosperous, sustainable and inclusive city region at the heart of a thriving national economy.

“We need to raise Glasgow’s levels of ambition if such a transformation is to be achieved.”

Over the past decade rail passenger numbers in the city have increased exponentially’ while bus passengers have declined by the steepest amount of any UK city, sparking calls for the creation of bus priority lanes on the motorway network.

A rail link to Glasgow Airport has repeatedly failed to get off the ground
A rail link to Glasgow Airport has repeatedly failed to get off the ground
At the heart of the plan lie calls for expanded powers for the city region to make the vision a reality, a process which will require a 20-year funding package to pay for
At the heart of the plan lie calls for expanded powers for the city region to make the vision a reality, a process which will require a 20-year funding package to pay for


#1 Posted by Inahuf on 29 Apr 2019 at 18:41 PM
The QEUH was meant to have a fastlink service, but when it didn’t happen they built more parking, taking away much of the greenspace that had just been put in to help patients, families and staff get a bit of respite....
Now theres to be an elevated light rail? How would patients get down from that, or is the hospital to be replanned to have folk come in at 1st floor? The entrance overhang is already dismal, and another over-engineered structure with trains rattling overhead isn’t going to make arrival any more calming.
Progressive piecemeal decisions, waste money and make things worse for folk.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#2 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 29 Apr 2019 at 21:44 PM
Very poor document seemingly written by the committee of a particularly trendy bowling club -- fantasy land economics with some incredible analysis and a fairytale narrative.

GCC would have been better asking the Brothers Grimm for their thoughts.

And then there is the customary Glasgow Crossrail pit down now with bold text. Not sure the exact angle but the TS bureaucrats really don't seem to like this plan -- I wonder why? You would have thought that linking Ayrshire and the Tail o' the Bank to the rest of Scotland would have had its uses.

Consequently just another waste of paper and oxygen pushing a metro system that we cannot afford at the expense of spending 10 times less doing something rally useful.

Glasgow Airport = People mover from PGS.
PGS = Make it an interchange station.
GC is not the centre of Glasgow and not everyone wants to go there.
Glasgow Crossrail = Adds capacity / takes some of the pressure off GC / New station at Glasgow Cross / links the east to Glasgow Airport.

Oh I get it -- Glasgow Crossrail must die because it will help Glasgow Airport. All starting to make sense now.

Finally could someone please put a stake through the heart of the GC / GQS tunnel idea -- it is just a pipedream given life to waste time and effort from being spent on more realistic upgrades.

It would need to start in South lanarkshire and finish in Bishopbriggs -- bonkers and then some.
Neil C
#3 Posted by Neil C on 30 Apr 2019 at 17:10 PM
Mostly good ideas, but clearly this is the stuff of pipe dreams. The Scottish Government seems determined to resist any form of GARL, and the idea of a tunnel connecting Central and Queen St reminds me of the April Fool's story on UR about the cable car from Grassmarket to Edinburgh Castle.

It's screamingly obvious Glasgow Airport needs a rail or metro link, as it has done for decades. Not sure why it's taken two years for GCC to basically rehash schemes which have been floating around in one form or another for as long as I can remember.
#4 Posted by Fraser on 30 Apr 2019 at 21:50 PM
This is the first attempt I have seen which tries to have any semblance of ambition for the public transportation network in Glasgow. Understandably it may seem a little far-fetched in places, but what cannot be denied is the dire situation of public transportation in and around Glasgow - and at the very leasr this may start a long overdue conversation about infrastructure projects in Glasgow. The lack of GARL is an embarrassing affair which seems to be never ending. Every time I fly into Glasgow to visit family I cannot fathom the naysayers pov or the council's stance that a rail link is too "high risk". If Glasgow wants to remain economically competitive, large scale and ambitious public transit infrastructure is a necessity.
Gandalf the Pink
#5 Posted by Gandalf the Pink on 1 May 2019 at 08:32 AM
#4 - Could not agree more.
#6 Posted by parkguy on 1 May 2019 at 11:16 AM
I agree that an underground tunnel (described as a shuttle) between GQS and GC is probably unecessary, especially given the distance involved and it would preclude passers through and visitors from enjoying the delights (and spending their cash) in Buchanan Street unless it was a subnade f the kind which links Japanese stations, essentially an underground arcade. But enough of fantasy.

The crying need s for fast efficient links to the peripheral estates especially Castlemilk/ Pollok to stop reliance on bus links run by private companies to offer work opportunities for people. Drumchapel and Easterhouse too could benefit from something more than one station miles from some of the houses.

The Glasgow Airport link rumbles on. Wasn't that part of the City Deal? Like Edinburgh the question would be who would use it when there is a bus that goes every 15 minutes and passes every major hotel in the city centre in a loop (better than being dumped at Central)

Sadly I feel that this will become another shelf adornment.

Or is it being sent in as part of the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland call for Evidence which closes this week? Infrastructure review for 2050
Fat Bloke on Tour
#7 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 1 May 2019 at 11:21 AM
Main gripe with the report is the un-worldly vibe running all the way through it. Too many ideas put forward so that everything will need to be discussed and nothing will get done.

Then there is the financial aspect -- having a laugh would be the most charitable way to describe it.

Totally agree that things need to change -- just a case that we need to be more realistic and work to a much tighter timetable.

Buses -- Backbone of the system.

Issues with the quality of the road surface and the street furniture / civic realm.
Then there is the bunching, the Hope Street canyon and the lack of direct routes through the city centre.
Then there is the age of the fleet in use today and the emissions standards of the oldest buses.

Change is required quickly.

Money should be spent on BEV units with opportunistic charging / series hybrid buses ASAP.
5 years should be enough time to get things up and running.
Most of the stuff is off the shelf and I am sure the uni's would love a bit of research cash to fill in the gaps.
Even if the timeline stretches a bit we can use the time to totally upgrade the road surfaces in the city centre to improve the quality of the bus experience.

We have faffed around with Fastlink and made a fool of ourselves -- pie in the sky nonsense with a cost that would choke a horse will not make things better.

Fat Bloke on Tour
#8 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 1 May 2019 at 12:02 PM
Same with trains -- un-wordly dreaming and then some.

GARL as heavy rail is just wrapping tartan around a TS HEX style ego trip -- rails to nowhere using up lots of capacity between PGS and GC.

Airport link should be a Doppelmeyr people mover from PGS or if it can be done at half the cost a T5 POD system.

Regarding quick wins regarding trains -- make the most of the two cross city routes north of the Clyde and upgrade a station every year. Turnbacks have been talked about before and would help before some serious work is done west of Partick.

Other quick win would be increasing the hours of the subway -- waiting until the new trains is a cop out -- plus there is always the option of making it free to increase the usage. Need to control buses to make this happen / keep the lawyers of the case.

Bigger stuff -- Crossrail and three new stations plus the Royston road curve is a must.
Works for the airport and Ayrshire / Central belt links.
Start with 4 trains per hour -- 2 Ayr / 2 Gourock -- to all places in the east. Could include Stirling / Auld Reekie / Cumbernauld.

Interchange at PGS / West Street / Bellgrove.
Choice of Glasgow destinations -- GC vs High Street.

Then there is the train / train angle on the Southside and northern loop out of GQS.

Plus the connection between the WCML and Crossrail and a flyover north of Springburn onto the GE mainline.

Loads of opportunities at the multi million level rather than the multi billion level. Stuff that can get done rather than dreamed about.

Derek Wilson
#9 Posted by Derek Wilson on 2 May 2019 at 09:14 AM
For those that haven't read it, this is a great piece of work. Much of what is proposed has been around for a while (Cathcart light rail) but we now have people running Glasgow who are not in it for their self gain. Shifting the route of GARL to include the Tradeston-Linthouse corridor, the hospital and Braehead is a much better option than running it through the Cardonald line which was proved to be a waste of money. Crosslink and HS2 at the High St have similarly been proven to be fantasy returns on investment whereas the reasoned alternatives make sense. This is the only forum Ive seen negativity. Not surprised.
Fat Bloke on Tour
#10 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 2 May 2019 at 11:54 AM
Fair point about some of the better ideas that the report has put forward -- however there were not enough of them and they cost too much.

HS2 inspired IC terminal -- using the redundant piers on the Clyde is a big step forward. Less can deliver more if it is well managed -- a hard lesson that we are struggling to learn as our efforts to deliver new ferries shows.

However the transformation of GARL from a point to point express route -- Tartan HEX -- to an ever expanding tour of SW Glasgow is a wind up designed to deliver more ET front pages rather than a real transport proposal.

GLA access -- people mover to PGS is the only real game in town.
The wiggly bus / tram / train through the southside has merit but not as the main public transport route to a potentially transformation transport asset.

And that leads nicely onto to the ongoing saga that is Glasgow CrossRail -- pretty simple upgrade that will transform our rail system, transform the city centre and transform GLA.

The idea has been around for years and it had for a long time a lot of support. Suddenly it is persona non grata and people with links to the transport establishment are queuing up to put the boot in.

The reports and consultations get bigger.
The money involved balloons to unimaginable levels but the CrossRail idea is now nowhere to be seen -- you have to wonder why?

Auld Reekie game playing would be my main culprit

Finally there is the GC / GQS tunnel -- Elon Musk on Twitter at 4am on a Sunday morning couldn't come up with a plan as stupid as this.

Just how big would it need to be?
It has to get under the Clyde with a high capacity station underground somewhere in the vicinity of St Vincent Street and then climb out of this great depth to make daylight somewhere in south Bishopbriggs.

Then there is the traffic it would carry -- regional / commuter // IC express !?! -- and the areas it would cover? Ayrshire and Lanarkshire -- two southern portals?

The whole thing can be done more simple and a lot cheaper by integrating the WCML into CrossRail and building a flyover in Springburn.
Bernie Hennin
#11 Posted by Bernie Hennin on 3 May 2019 at 14:01 PM
The maglev looks a bit contraversial mega expensive and destructive in an urban area!
#12 Posted by Gorgu on 4 May 2019 at 01:48 AM
FBOT the people mover is the dumbest idea ever, creating the need for people to change at Central and then PGS is they are coming from England or anywhere outside of Glasgow that runs to QS, if you understood the nature of agglomeration, you would understand that linking HS2, QS GC, the Airport and PGS all together as well as Braehead, the QEUH and new manufacturing zone makes absolute sense and is economically viable, you are effectively connecting the North of England, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and The ENTIRE Glasgow City region to a one transfer multimodal access to Glasgow Airport, that is somewhere in the region of 15 - 20 million people for about 5 billion. Lastly you scoff at the inclines to make this workable, there are many examples of this being achieved at far great inclines than this is suggestion so your objections are spurious at best.......
Fat Bloke on Tour
#13 Posted by Fat Bloke on Tour on 4 May 2019 at 23:28 PM
Have to disagree with your analysis at just about every level.

A Doppelmayr style people mover is a simple local transport system which is an aid to cover short distances at no cost. In fact these types of systems can be used within airports -- they are one step up from lifts and moving walkways regarding user engagement.

A system from PGS to GLA has the potential to turn PGS into Terminal 3 and allow the town centre to directly benefit from the airport's clientel.

The South Side Wiggly Train does have merit as a standalone local system but it is not a credible system to access GLA -- the timings @ 40 minutes will be shocking / the passenger mix will be problematic -- so no matter where it ends up it cannot be credibly put forward as the main public transport route to the airport.

However something needs to be done as the current GLA bus is just a form of stealth taxation on the vistors to the city. All part of a big game no doubt -- the reduction of the bus shuttle to PGS was just another piece of corporate welfare / public realm vandalism that happens all to often.

As for the much talked about GC / GQS tunnel -- total and utter joke put forward by people with who are good at spending other people's money. It just doesn't stack up at any level:

Just how big would it need to be -- southside to Bishopbriggs?
Straight / simple South to North axis or should it include Ayrshire / Inverclyde?
Service mix -- IC expresses / regionals / commuter services? -- so how do you fit them all in given the differing user groups and the need to manage station dwell times?
Station integration -- One central underground station supporting two surface terminii 800M apart -- LU sized passenger walks coming up?
Might need a peoplemover to speed things up ?!?
Service splits -- what services go where?
Eg. -- Would all Lenzie trains use the new station or stay at GQS, then what about Croy?

Finally dreaming does not help the here and now.

A £10Bill spend over 20 years for part of West Central Scotland is not going to happen -- even if the money could be found then what about the rest of the country?

Glasgow CrossRail is the way forward -- it would provide the connections you want plus it would link GLA / Ayrshire / Inverclyde to much of central Scotland.
Strarting with 4 trains an hour -- you then could reach Stirling / Perth and Edinburgh.

All for a lot less money than the tunnel even if you need to add in the Royston connection and the Springburn flyover.

And then there would be the WCML dimension ...

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