The Anonymous Widower

Architect Produces Longest Moving Walkway Alternative To Tram-Train Glasgow Airport Link

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in The Herald.

The world’s longest travelator would link a new station on the Inverclyde Line to the Airport.

This Google Map shows the Airport and the rail line.

The railway runs at right-angles to the runway alongside the M8 motorway. The station in the middle of the map is Paisley St. James station.

The article says the station will be built near the Ferguslie Park housing estate in Paisley. It is marked on the map to the West of Paisley St. James station.

These are my thoughts on the plan.

Ferguslie Park Station

This enlarged map shows Ferguslie Park, the complicted motorway junction and Paisley St. James station.

From the look of this map, it would appear that there used to be a triangular junction here. Where did that railway go?

The position will have to chosen with care, as it can’t be too near to Paisley St. James station and in a position that allowed an easy connection to a travelator to and from the Airport.

Frequency Of Trains

Airports around the UK have these numbers of trains in each hour.

  • Birmingham has upwards of eight trains in both directions.
  • Edinburgh has six trams.
  • Gatwick has four Express services and will have ten Thameslink services in both directions.
  • Heathrow has four Express services and will have at least four Crossrail service.
  • Luton has seven trains in both directions.
  • Manchester has nine trains and twelve trams.
  • Newcastle has at least four Metro trains.
  • Stansted has four Express services.

Surely, the service to Ferguslie Park must have a frequency of at least four trains per hour!

This would not be unobtainable, as the two termini of Gourock and Wemyss Bay stations have enough capacity.

The Long Travelator

I believe a long travelator would work, but I do think it would have to be designed carefully in sections for Health and Safety reasons.

My real reservations are that after my visit to Paisley St. James station, which I wrote about in Paisley St. James Station, I do wonder how passengers will like a travelator link.

  • The area is fairly bleak, for a wait of up to fifteen minutes.
  • Inside a tram would be more comfortable.
  • There would need to be a step-free bridge at the new station.

In my view it would like a cheap option, that would be difficult to expand.

Using A Tram-Train

Since the travelator plan was published in the Herald, Stadler have launched tram-trains with a battery capability for the South Wales Metro.

These could do the following as a minimum.

  • Run between Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street stations using the 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Run a frequency of four tram-trains per hour on a bi-directional single-track spur without electrification to a single platform at the Airport.
  • Run between Paisley St. James station and the Airport on batteries, that would be charged between Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street stations.
  • Stop at Paisley Gilmour Street station to change power source.
  • Handle 230 passengers in each tram-train.

The system could also be expanded if needed.

  • The tram-trains could work in pairs.
  • The spur could be double track.
  • A second platform could be built at the Airport.

This could handle up to eight tram-trains per hour.

Is Glasgow A World City?

Probably not yet!


  • Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
  • Glasgow hosted the European Games in 2018.
  • It has the facilities to handle World Championships in many sports.
  • It has two football teams, that regularly play in European competitions.
  • Hampden Park has hosted six European football finals.

At least on the wider sporting front, it can be considered an important city, that is on a par with Manchester in England.

And I think it will soon be recognised as a World City!

For this reason alone, the Airport needs a proper rail service, rather than a travelator to a bleak station.

Other Airports

The following Airports in the UK need a decent rail link.

  • Bristol
  • East Midlands
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool

A similar tram-train link could be provided in a similar manner at these airports and probably many others around Europe and the rest of the World.


I will be very surprised, if Glasgow Airport doesn’t get a tram-train link, that uses batteries.

September 8, 2018 - Posted by | Transport | ,

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