A retired engineer who helped design the Channel Tunnel has unveiled proposals for a £300 million monorail linking the city centre with Glasgow Airport.
Under the plans, the seven-and-a-half mile ‘Clyde Monorail’ would include stops at Renfrew, Braehead shopping centre, the Queen Elizabeth University hospital in Goven, the Riverside transport museum and SECC en route to Glasgow Central.
The design would allow passengers to travel the entire route in 18 minutes, at speeds of up to 50mph.
Jim Beckett, 78, the design director responsible for electrical and instrumentation systems on the UK half of the Channel Tunnel, and his brother John, 77, claim the route would ease the city’s traffic congestion.
The brothers have spent the last seven months researching the project and hope transport officials will look into their plans as an alternative to a tram-train link. They claim the added bonus would be to non-airport passengers such as commuters.
Jim Beckett told The Herald: “It’s heralded as the flagship project for the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal, but our contention is that that does nothing for the wider transport infrastructure because you’re limiting it to the passengers that are generated by the airport.
“If you ran it north and picked up places like Renfrew, the Braehead shopping centre, the Queen Elizabeth hospital, the transport museum, and the SECC, then you are going to generate an awful lot more business for it.
“People coming from the centre of Glasgow to the Queen Elizabeth hospital can jump on the monorail.
“If someone is going from Glasgow Airport to the BBC, they can jump on the monorail, get off at the SECC, cross the bridge and they’re at Pacific Quay – or the Science Centre, the STV studios, the Armadillo.”
He added: “There is much more traffic generated by this proposal than would ever be generated by the tram-train airport link.”
The hybrid scheme, backed by Glasgow and Renfrewshire councils, and expected to cost £144m, would see tramcars running from the airport terminal on a newly-constructed light rail line into Paisley, where it would join the existing heavy rail infrastructure and continue direct to Glasgow Central.
It was recommended by independent consultants in 2014 as the best surface access solution for the airport, which can currently only be reached by road.
It followed the axing of the heavy rail GARL project in 2009.
Mr Beckett, from Brookfield, near Bridge of Weir, said one of the other major advantages of the monorail was that it would be elevated up to 40 metres (130ft) at some sections.
This would mean it could be routed along the centre of existing roads with minimal disruption to traffic during construction.
Also, much of the proposed route follows the River Cart and River Clyde and would be constructed over riverbeds and unused land.
This would limit the need for compulsory purchase orders.
Scottish Construction Now article: http://www.scottishconstructionnow.com/12626/plans-muted-for-300m-high-speed-monorail-to-glasgow-airport/