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Airport Access Project / Glasgow Metro

1. Purpose

1.1 The purpose of this report is to:

• provide the Cabinet with an update on developments in relation to the Airport Access Project which have taken place since April 2019; and

• to propose the next steps for the Project in light of wider developments in relation to Regional and National transport, including the Glasgow Connectivity Commission recommendations.

2. Background

2.1 As instructed by Cabinet in April 2019, the Airport Access Project (AAP) team has developed a revised Draft Outline Business Case (OBC) which showed a positive business case for a Cable Pulled Transit (CPT) System.

2.2 The proposed system would provide a shuttle system between Paisley Gilmour Street Station and Glasgow Airport, carrying circa 100 people in 2 cabs on a segregated track which would be elevated on its approaches to the Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street Station, and at ground level where it followed the line of a disused railway line between those points.

2.3 However, since the identification of this preferred option, a number of key developments have occurred in the transport landscape at a national, regional and local level which could potentially impact upon the current Outline Business Case, including the opportunity to link the AAP with a metro system for the Glasgow area.

3. Local Transport Strategy / Policy Framework

3.1 In April 2019, Glasgow City Council's Connectivity Commission made a recommendation that ‘a Glasgow metro system should be developed, with the first route to be constructed that between Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Airport, capable of being extended to Glasgow City Centre along the South Clyde Growth Corridor as a full Glasgow Metro line and that ‘it is developed as the first stage of a wider strategy to transform the fixed public transport network for the city and region as a whole.'

3.2 Glasgow City Council is currently updating its Local Transport Strategy (LTS) for the City using STAG principles. This Strategy, or Connectivity Plan, will set out a clear set of outcomes for the City in relation to transport up to 2030. It will contain a suite of policies and themes, and will be accompanied by a Delivery Plan identifying key interventions. The LTS will be published by the end of 2020 with the Delivery Plan to follow in 2021.

3.3 A feasibility study on the Metro will particularly inform the Delivery Plan, and it is important to demonstrate the case for an integrated public transport system in the City where bus, Metro, Subway and new forms of mobility can co-exist and offer effective alternatives to car journeys in the City, and, in particular, support the City's most vulnerable communities.

4. Regional Transport Strategy / Policy Framework

4.1 A new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) is currently under development and is at the ‘Issues and Objectives' stage which will identify the main transport issues needing addressed in the West of Scotland, and also seek to agree a vision, objectives and outcomes for the new Strategy.

4.2 The next phase of RTS development will focus on Options. This stage will seek to address identified issues and work towards the vision, objectives and outcomes. The interventions which form those Options will be developed through ongoing engagement with partners, using other development work completed in recent years, and will be appraised in line with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). The recommendations for interventions from the Connectivity Commission - including a “Metro” style network will be considered for inclusion in the RTS Options appraisal process.

5. National Transport Strategy / Policy Framework

5.1 In September 2019, the Scottish Government published its ‘Programme for Government 2019-2020'', setting out the actions it will take over the next year. It states ‘We welcome the Glasgow Connectivity Commission report and the ambitious vision it sets out for the Glasgow City Region for creating an inclusive, thriving and liveable city. We are committed to working with partners to consider the Commission's recommendations, and as part of the second Strategic Transport Projects Review, we will consider the potential for a Glasgow Metro, which builds on the planned City Region Deal investment to link Glasgow Airport and the new National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland to Paisley Gilmour Street'.

5.2 In February 2020, Transport Scotland published the National Transport Strategy (NTS2) which advocates a vision for Scotland's transport system which will help create great places, a sustainable, inclusive, safe and accessible transport system, helping deliver a healthier fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities businesses and visitors.

5.3 The second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) will inform transport investment in Scotland for the next 20 years. It will help to deliver the vision, priorities and outcomes set out in NTS2 and will align with other national plans such as the National Planning Framework (NPF4) and the Climate Change Plan.

5.4 STPR2 involves conducting an evidence-based review of the performance of Scotland's strategic transport network across all transport modes – walking, cycling, bus, rail and road to identify interventions required to support the delivery of Scotland's Economic Strategy. A draft Case for Change report for Glasgow City Region was published on 27 February 2020.

6. Proposal Next Steps for AAP

6.1 The statement from Government that they are committed to working with partners to consider the Connectivity Commission's recommendations and, as part of STPR2, will consider the potential for a Glasgow metro, building on the planned City Deal AAP investment, is to be welcomed. This has the potential to see the Airport Access Project incorporated within an ambitious, wider integrated, inclusive public transport system serving the needs of communities and businesses and maximising the potential benefits of the Project.

7. Feasibility Study of the Metro

7.1 Given the potential for the system to be extended to Glasgow City Centre along the South Clyde Growth Corridor as part of a full Glasgow Metro line, it is proposed that the work on the development of the current Preferred Option from the Revised OBC of a Cable Pulled Transit System is paused and a Feasibility Study for the wider Glasgow Metro scheme is instead progressed.

7.2 It would be prudent for this feasibility work to be completed in 2021 to align with the completion of STPR2, providing early information should a Glasgow Metro system be included as a ‘Project' in STPR2.

7.3 The analysis of spatial, environmental and economic data should play a key role in determining the nature and form of the Metro which can act, not only as an opportunity to support modal shift to public transport, but can also serve as a catalyst for reinforcing sustainable economic growth and the delivery of successful place making. The Feasibility Study will focus on technology, the operating model (commercial case) and the economic impacts (economic case), providing key information for any required revisions in the future to the Airport Access Project's Outline Business Case, as would be required by the City Deal Assurance Framework should the Metro present as a feasible alternative option to the existing Preferred Option. Should this be the case the approved city deal funding for the AAP would be allocated as a contribution to the Metro build costs from Paisley Gilmour Street to Glasgow Airport.

8. Governance

8.1 Under the Assurance Framework, the Airport Access Project is being delivered jointly by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council, with Renfrewshire Council as Lead Authority. Given the change in focus of the project, with the potential extension of the project into Glasgow City Centre along the South Clyde Growth Corridor as part of a full Glasgow Metro line, it is proposed that Glasgow City Council should assume the Lead Authority role in the completion of the feasibility study.

8.2 A multi-disciplinary team will be assembled, based within GCC, to oversee the development of the Feasibility Study, working closely with Transport Scotland who will provide direct access to their wealth of expertise and library of studies and reports.

8.3 The Project Steering Group will continue to be co-chaired by the Chief Executives of Glasgow and Renfrewshire. Progress report will shared with the City Region's Transport Portfolio group, the Chief Executives' Group and the Cabinet.

8.4 It is anticipated that development costs of the Feasibility Study can be contained within the existing AAP business case development costs previously agreed by Cabinet in December 20161. It is proposed that a paper outlining the scope, cost and timescale for the feasibility study along with the detailed governance arrangements will be submitted to the Chief Executives' Group in May 2020 for approval.

9. Recommendations

9.1 The Cabinet is invited to:

a) note the Scottish Government's commitment to consider a Glasgow Metro supporting existing City Deal projects in Glasgow and Renfrewshire, including the Airport Access Project; b) agree that work on further developing the option of the Cable Pulled Transit system for the AAP Project as developed in the revised Outline Business Case is paused to allow a feasibility study to be undertaken on an alternative Metro solution, which would incorporate access to Glasgow Airport via a link from Paisley Gilmour Street Station; c) agree the funds previously approved by Cabinet for business case development costs are used to support the completion of the feasibility study, with the outputs of this work informing any future revisions to the AAP Outline Business Case; d) agree that Glasgow City Council assumes the lead role in progressing the feasibility study as set out in the report; and e) agree that the Chief Executives' Group is given the delegated authority to approve the draw-down of funds required for the completion of the feasibility study, together with agreeing the costs, scope and timescale for the study.
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First bus to reduce passenger capacity on their buses by 75% to maintain social distancing. Lets hope the council's emergency active travel measures turn out to be good

FIRST Bus has revealed how it plans to keep passengers safe on its buses using social distancing.

The measures include a new passenger counting facility that will mean when the bus is at capacity the vehicle will display a "Sorry Bus Full" sign.

The restrictions will reduce the numbers buses can carry by 75 per cent but bosses said it is vital to make travel safe.
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director of First Bus in Scotland, said: “Our priority is and always has been ensuring passenger safety on our bus services.

"Social distancing measures are being introduced across our buses this week to ensure the safety of our colleagues and customers.
“Our buses will be operating at a reduced capacity with around one in four seats available, but thanks to passenger data monitoring, we will be in a position to provide double deck buses on the busiest journeys and have a limited number of duplicate buses ready to add to routes where appropriate to try and provide the best service possible for essential journeys."
Do you travel by bus? This is how First Bus plans to keep passengers safe
 

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Ridiculous
Airport Access Project / Glasgow Metro

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Ridiculous, just get a ruler out and draw joined up lines linking Paisley Gilmour Street, AMIDS, Renfrew town centre/Braeheid, QEUH, Govan Transport Interchange, Pacific Quay, IFSD, Glasgow City Station (centrally located underground station with travelators to Central, Queen/Buchanan Street) Strathclyde University, Glasgow Green, Gorbals and out a portal at West Street to run back along the Paisley line. Use the big bastard TMB, that was used for the sewer line a year or two ago and have Glasgow airport connected to every city in Scotland, the full regional Glasgow network and existing underground commuter network and HS2 lines running down to Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds.

Jobs a good'un, spend $10Bn on that and you then have the spine of a truly integrated metro network for Glasgow that can then be added to using surface metro/light rail/trackless trams, this allows the whole concurrent loop of the new metro loop and the existing one to be designated high density living for future population expansion taking Glasgow Metro region beyond 2 million people over the next 50 years and have an IFSD that is connected to the whole fo the UK, Europe and beyond...

IT. IS. NOT. THAT. DIFFICULT.
 

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Ridiculous


Ridiculous, just get a ruler out and draw joined up lines linking Paisley Gilmour Street, AMIDS, Renfrew town centre/Braeheid, QEUH, Govan Transport Interchange, Pacific Quay, IFSD, Glasgow City Station (centrally located underground station with travelators to Central, Queen/Buchanan Street) Strathclyde University, Glasgow Green, Gorbals and out a portal at West Street to run back along the Paisley line. Use the big bastard TMB, that was used for the sewer line a year or two ago and have Glasgow airport connected to every city in Scotland, the full regional Glasgow network and existing underground commuter network and HS2 lines running down to Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds.

Jobs a good'un, spend $10Bn on that and you then have the spine of a truly integrated metro network for Glasgow that can then be added to using surface metro/light rail/trackless trams, this allows the whole concurrent loop of the new metro loop and the existing one to be designated high density living for future population expansion taking Glasgow Metro region beyond 2 million people over the next 50 years and have an IFSD that is connected to the whole fo the UK, Europe and beyond...

IT. IS. NOT. THAT. DIFFICULT.
It'll be a tram, which isn't a problem.

If you're going to build a metro it's best to spend some time thinking about it first. Yes, this thinking should have started a long time ago. However, that doesn't mean we should rush the plans. If we want to get anything done quickly, then sorting out the buses and active transport is the fastest and most impactful thing we can do.
 

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If it is a tram it will take a hour to weave through the streets of Renfrew, Govan to the city centre, hardly convenient when the bus will take 20 mins on the M8 at non peak times
 

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If it is a tram it will take a hour to weave through the streets of Renfrew, Govan to the city centre, hardly convenient when the bus will take 20 mins on the M8 at non peak times
No it won't. Also, it's not about being a fast way to the airport. It's about being a useful transport system. Fast links to airports aren't actually as useful as you think they are. Once the Elizabeth line opens, Heathrow Express expects to lose most of its customers even though every Elizabeth line train to the airport will be overtaken by a HEx service. That's because even the sorts of expense-account city workers who currently use HEx to get to the airport will find the slower but more direct route on the Elizabeth line more convenient. A taxi plus a train isn't as good as just getting one train all the way from your office, which is likely some distance away from Paddington but within a short walk of an Elizabeth line station.

Tram technology doesn't mean you have to share road space and wait with other traffic. You can make tram (& bus)-only lanes and have signal priority measures so trams run as fast as possible. Things like this cost orders of magnitude less than tunnels but deliver pretty much the same sort of journey times. That motorway which makes it so fast to drive to the airport also means there's only local traffic to worry about on the streets of Govan so traffic priority measures are quite easy. If necessary, you can even completely separate the tram from the road and run it on its own grass verge like a railway with lots of level crossings.
 

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Glasgow Metro
171888


Light Rail system in the same vein as the Manchester Metrolink.
4 lines with 75 stations on 55 miles of route.
Various interchanges with Subway and Scotrail.
Use of disused Tunnels (Bridgeton, London Road).
Conversion of existing Heavy Rail Lines (Crossrail, Springburn Branch, Cathcart Circle, Maryhill and Paisley Canal).
Conversion of Fastlink route.
Use of Boulevards (Great Western Road and Edinburgh Road).
On road sections in and around city centre.

Discuss?
 

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Glasgow Metro
View attachment 171888

Light Rail system in the same vein as the Manchester Metrolink.
4 lines with 75 stations on 55 miles of route.
Various interchanges with Subway and Scotrail.
Use of disused Tunnels (Bridgeton, London Road).
Conversion of existing Heavy Rail Lines (Crossrail, Springburn Branch, Cathcart Circle, Maryhill and Paisley Canal).
Conversion of Fastlink route.
Use of Boulevards (Great Western Road and Edinburgh Road).
On road sections in and around city centre.

Discuss?
The most important improvement (imo) would be to extend the light blue line to Paisley Gilmour Street station. That would allow an interchange between the inverclyde rail lines and the light rail.

I'm not overly familiar with the rail situation in Glasgow, but I feel that having light and heavy rail mixing between High Street and Bellgrove stations will not end well. It's another flat junction in an already very busy part of the network.

West of Anniesland, I've always thought that Great Western Road is ideal for a tram line due to the large median after Crow Road, so I'm fully behind that part.
 

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Glasgow Metro
View attachment 171888

Light Rail system in the same vein as the Manchester Metrolink.
4 lines with 75 stations on 55 miles of route.
Various interchanges with Subway and Scotrail.
Use of disused Tunnels (Bridgeton, London Road).
Conversion of existing Heavy Rail Lines (Crossrail, Springburn Branch, Cathcart Circle, Maryhill and Paisley Canal).
Conversion of Fastlink route.
Use of Boulevards (Great Western Road and Edinburgh Road).
On road sections in and around city centre.

Discuss?
I do not think the City Union line will be used for the Glasgow Metro. It isn't justifiable for heavy rail services, even though it's the only route available north-south across the city right now. When the point of trams is to make it possible to run on the streets and get very, very close to the places where people want to go (rather than where the railway company found convenient to build tracks) it doesn't make a lot of sense to put them on a viaduct that bypasses the actual city centre transport hubs and attractions.

Remember that the Metrolink model involved taking suburban trains that previously skirted or stopped short of Manchester city centre and putting them onto tram tracks that ran right through the middle. It's acceptable to walk some distance from your home in the suburbs or exurbs to get onto the train into town. It isn't acceptable to then have to walk a long distance to get from the station in the city to where you actually want to go.

The Springburn branch isn't a natural fit for the city's transport needs. It needs to exist to provide the cross-city connection, even just for non-passenger services. Its electrification is also now necessary given that most rail services around Glasgow are now electric - the City Union electrification is worthwhile for the same reason. The fact that it didn't even have a Sunday service until a few years ago tells you that it isn't actually a vital part of the North Clyde electrics service. It's just a place to put some trains which had carried passengers through Partick but now don't have a place to go. When those extra trains don't exist, there's no need to run anything up the branch.

I don't see the branch being removed from passenger services completely unless the flat crossing there became a real problem for timetabling trains running through to Airdrie and beyond. It would have some use if it were decided to extend North Clyde electrics services up to Cumbernauld again, but that's a use which might well die away after any cross-city tunnel is built.

The Metro conversion of the Cathcart and Maryhill lines are a given, I believe. One of the points raised in the report - which I had predicted - is that new branches could be built off the Cathcart network to places not well served by the current rail service. Newton Mearns and Castlemilk were the two branches shown in the report. The four branches (Newton, Newton Mearns, Neilston, Castlemilk) and the circular service together could easily saturate a north-south tram line (5tph each = 30tph total). It's fine to turn some of the trams back at the edge of the city centre but there'd be an opportunity to send them to places north of the city, between roughly 10 o'clock and 3 o'clock. 5tph seems about right for the Maryhill service given that it would need to be a tram-train one sharing an hourly path or two for WHL passenger and freight. That frequency cap means I don't think we'll see these trams go beyond Anniesland. I think it could be a good idea to add another branch to run up Springburn Road to Bishopbriggs. That could help to relieve the ScotRail commuting demand and allow more train capacity for commuting destinations further out.

The Strathclyde Tram proposal is a good starting point for any fresh street-running tram network that doesn't depend on converted rail lines. It's possible to run both a Metrolink-style high-floor ex-heavy rail and a low-floor urban tram system in the same city, if they're not going to share platforms or routes. That proposal was for an east-west line from Maryhill to the city centre via the Botanics, then to Easterhouse via Edinburgh Road. It included possible extensions along Great Western Road.

The Paisley-Airport-Renfrew-Braehead-Govan-City Centre line seems easy to get started with. I think it'd be a low-floor tram and it could well be built with a simple terminus at the city centre. It can get extended through and to the east of the city later. London Road seems like a sensible option.
 

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I do not think the City Union line will be used for the Glasgow Metro. It isn't justifiable for heavy rail services, even though it's the only route available north-south across the city right now. When the point of trams is to make it possible to run on the streets and get very, very close to the places where people want to go (rather than where the railway company found convenient to build tracks) it doesn't make a lot of sense to put them on a viaduct that bypasses the actual city centre transport hubs and attractions.

Remember that the Metrolink model involved taking suburban trains that previously skirted or stopped short of Manchester city centre and putting them onto tram tracks that ran right through the middle. It's acceptable to walk some distance from your home in the suburbs or exurbs to get onto the train into town. It isn't acceptable to then have to walk a long distance to get from the station in the city to where you actually want to go.

The Springburn branch isn't a natural fit for the city's transport needs. It needs to exist to provide the cross-city connection, even just for non-passenger services. Its electrification is also now necessary given that most rail services around Glasgow are now electric - the City Union electrification is worthwhile for the same reason. The fact that it didn't even have a Sunday service until a few years ago tells you that it isn't actually a vital part of the North Clyde electrics service. It's just a place to put some trains which had carried passengers through Partick but now don't have a place to go. When those extra trains don't exist, there's no need to run anything up the branch.

I don't see the branch being removed from passenger services completely unless the flat crossing there became a real problem for timetabling trains running through to Airdrie and beyond. It would have some use if it were decided to extend North Clyde electrics services up to Cumbernauld again, but that's a use which might well die away after any cross-city tunnel is built.

The Metro conversion of the Cathcart and Maryhill lines are a given, I believe. One of the points raised in the report - which I had predicted - is that new branches could be built off the Cathcart network to places not well served by the current rail service. Newton Mearns and Castlemilk were the two branches shown in the report. The four branches (Newton, Newton Mearns, Neilston, Castlemilk) and the circular service together could easily saturate a north-south tram line (5tph each = 30tph total). It's fine to turn some of the trams back at the edge of the city centre but there'd be an opportunity to send them to places north of the city, between roughly 10 o'clock and 3 o'clock. 5tph seems about right for the Maryhill service given that it would need to be a tram-train one sharing an hourly path or two for WHL passenger and freight. That frequency cap means I don't think we'll see these trams go beyond Anniesland. I think it could be a good idea to add another branch to run up Springburn Road to Bishopbriggs. That could help to relieve the ScotRail commuting demand and allow more train capacity for commuting destinations further out.

The Strathclyde Tram proposal is a good starting point for any fresh street-running tram network that doesn't depend on converted rail lines. It's possible to run both a Metrolink-style high-floor ex-heavy rail and a low-floor urban tram system in the same city, if they're not going to share platforms or routes. That proposal was for an east-west line from Maryhill to the city centre via the Botanics, then to Easterhouse via Edinburgh Road. It included possible extensions along Great Western Road.

The Paisley-Airport-Renfrew-Braehead-Govan-City Centre line seems easy to get started with. I think it'd be a low-floor tram and it could well be built with a simple terminus at the city centre. It can get extended through and to the east of the city later. London Road seems like a sensible option.
Quite a lot to go through here. The above plan was what I thought was realistic rather than what was optimum. I think with regards to the Crossrail, it certainly isn't ideal and I'd be open to utilising routes through Tradeston into the city centre. However Crossrail does provide an option that gives an East-West/North-South axis with minimum disruption at street level. I guess you could utilise both.

As someone from the Southside I would be very surprised if they branch out to Castlemilk or Newton Mearns. There are very few points on the existing lines that make sense with regards to technical feasibility and the avoidance of CPOs (fine when its a £50k flat in Dalmarnock, but not so easy when it's a $400k bungalow or golf course land). If these branches don't exist then it solves some of the issues of capacity.

Could you explain why the 5tph cap would mean that an extension from Anniesland along Great Western Road would be unlikely?

I agree with having a line that runs up Springburn Road, although it would make sense to just run this direct from the city centre.

An interesting factor in the original Strathclyde Tram proposal was the preference of Kelvin Way street running over the Kelvingrove Tunnel. This was due to the complexity of exiting the Southern Tunnel portal. I've never been a fan of utilising those tunnels with the eventual destination at Maryhill Tesco. At the northern part of the route in Kelvndale, they have built modernish flats on the old line so for me this is a non starter.

Do you have any thoughts on the integration of the Paisley Canal line?

I think whatever they come up with, two other aspects should be considered;

1. Priority over other traffic on street running sections (Otherwise the Crossrail might start looking like the "quick option").
2. Through services. If you have satisfied point 1, then this should be possible at no tangible expense of speed through the city centre.
 

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Quite a lot to go through here. The above plan was what I thought was realistic rather than what was optimum. I think with regards to the Crossrail, it certainly isn't ideal and I'd be open to utilising routes through Tradeston into the city centre. However Crossrail does provide an option that gives an East-West/North-South axis with minimum disruption at street level. I guess you could utilise both.

As someone from the Southside I would be very surprised if they branch out to Castlemilk or Newton Mearns. There are very few points on the existing lines that make sense with regards to technical feasibility and the avoidance of CPOs (fine when its a £50k flat in Dalmarnock, but not so easy when it's a $400k bungalow or golf course land). If these branches don't exist then it solves some of the issues of capacity.

Could you explain why the 5tph cap would mean that an extension from Anniesland along Great Western Road would be unlikely?

I agree with having a line that runs up Springburn Road, although it would make sense to just run this direct from the city centre.

An interesting factor in the original Strathclyde Tram proposal was the preference of Kelvin Way street running over the Kelvingrove Tunnel. This was due to the complexity of exiting the Southern Tunnel portal. I've never been a fan of utilising those tunnels with the eventual destination at Maryhill Tesco. At the northern part of the route in Kelvndale, they have built modernish flats on the old line so for me this is a non starter.

Do you have any thoughts on the integration of the Paisley Canal line?

I think whatever they come up with, two other aspects should be considered;

1. Priority over other traffic on street running sections (Otherwise the Crossrail might start looking like the "quick option").
2. Through services. If you have satisfied point 1, then this should be possible at no tangible expense of speed through the city centre.
Realism is a network which would wash its face economically, not one which you could set up possibly on a shoestring. Even then, the cost of setting up new stations with lifts/escalators etc on the City Union line would be non-trivial, given that they never existed in the first place (other than at St Enoch).

With a tram-train network it's easy to divert or branch off the heavy rail alignment and back onto tram-standard tracks. These can go on streets and make sharp turns and vertical gradients. That's absolutely crucial for serving lower-density surburbs where there's no rail alignment ready and waiting. Newton Mearns, for instance, would be served by branching off just before Whitecraigs station and running tram-style along Ayr Road. The current rail service just isn't suitable for Newton Mearns. A tram line through the middle and out to a P&R site on the M77 would be ideal. Almost all the town would be within a few minutes' walk of the highest quality public transport.

CPOs aren't a problem when the buildings or sites aren't listed. The cost of doing pretty much any sort of infrastructure at all wildly exceeds the value of any normal home. The Victorians had no qualms about knocking down all sorts of things to build the infrastructure we see today. Most big grand train stations are in their second or third iteration.

If you want to run a tram service along Great Western Road the Botanics option seems to be more likely. Then you can easily run as many trams as you want to meet demands and serve other branches (e.g. to Drumchapel). There's nothing wrong with having multiple lines end up reaching the same spot. The big justification for the Maryhill WHL line Metro-ification is just so that you can remove 2tph from Queen Street station, and use them for more important services instead. The real meat and potatoes of transport provision in the north west might still come from new purpose-built tram lines. Lines with doglegs start to become a bit useless and someone in Anniesland would never normally pick a line going via Ashfield to get into the city centre rather than one via the West End. I think in the long term we could even see the Botanics tram line to Maryhill (Tesco) being extended up to Bearsden. The Anniesland/Maryhill tram-train would then have a minor radial route purpose to get people from the west to the north without going via the city centre.

There are multiple independent tunnels on the former rail line to the Botanics. The proposal was to reuse the tunnel under Great Western Road but not the tunnel under Kelvingrove Park. Using tunnels can be useful but it can also be problematic. In favour of using the tunnel is the fact that it's just short enough that you wouldn't need to build any intermediate station inside it. The level difference at the Kelvinbridge end is also pretty serious. I'd expect the tunnel would surface within the Botanics so that it could have a junction and split towards Maryhill (Tesco) and Great Western Road.

I think we'll probably see the Paisley Canal line integrated into the initial network if at all possible. This is especially useful if the intention is to remove trains from Central station so that it can be rebuilt for modern requirements. Some sort of connection from the Paisley Canal line to the tram part of the Cathcart network seems possible by re-using the non-passenger lines and then having a curve near Eglinton Toll.

One of the ideas that may be worth revisiting for the Paisley Canal line is extending it back through to Elderslie and possibly back up to Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm. That would require it going back to heavy rail. The nice thing about Metrolink-style tram-trains is that they don't prevent a return to heavy rail if required, as they still use high platforms. Depending on what happens with a cross-city tunnel the capacity constraint on Paisley Canal and Gilmour Street services might go away, so more heavy rail frequency may be viable.
 

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Realism is a network which would wash its face economically, not one which you could set up possibly on a shoestring. Even then, the cost of setting up new stations with lifts/escalators etc on the City Union line would be non-trivial, given that they never existed in the first place (other than at St Enoch).

With a tram-train network it's easy to divert or branch off the heavy rail alignment and back onto tram-standard tracks. These can go on streets and make sharp turns and vertical gradients. That's absolutely crucial for serving lower-density surburbs where there's no rail alignment ready and waiting. Newton Mearns, for instance, would be served by branching off just before Whitecraigs station and running tram-style along Ayr Road. The current rail service just isn't suitable for Newton Mearns. A tram line through the middle and out to a P&R site on the M77 would be ideal. Almost all the town would be within a few minutes' walk of the highest quality public transport.

CPOs aren't a problem when the buildings or sites aren't listed. The cost of doing pretty much any sort of infrastructure at all wildly exceeds the value of any normal home. The Victorians had no qualms about knocking down all sorts of things to build the infrastructure we see today. Most big grand train stations are in their second or third iteration.

If you want to run a tram service along Great Western Road the Botanics option seems to be more likely. Then you can easily run as many trams as you want to meet demands and serve other branches (e.g. to Drumchapel). There's nothing wrong with having multiple lines end up reaching the same spot. The big justification for the Maryhill WHL line Metro-ification is just so that you can remove 2tph from Queen Street station, and use them for more important services instead. The real meat and potatoes of transport provision in the north west might still come from new purpose-built tram lines. Lines with doglegs start to become a bit useless and someone in Anniesland would never normally pick a line going via Ashfield to get into the city centre rather than one via the West End. I think in the long term we could even see the Botanics tram line to Maryhill (Tesco) being extended up to Bearsden. The Anniesland/Maryhill tram-train would then have a minor radial route purpose to get people from the west to the north without going via the city centre.

There are multiple independent tunnels on the former rail line to the Botanics. The proposal was to reuse the tunnel under Great Western Road but not the tunnel under Kelvingrove Park. Using tunnels can be useful but it can also be problematic. In favour of using the tunnel is the fact that it's just short enough that you wouldn't need to build any intermediate station inside it. The level difference at the Kelvinbridge end is also pretty serious. I'd expect the tunnel would surface within the Botanics so that it could have a junction and split towards Maryhill (Tesco) and Great Western Road.

I think we'll probably see the Paisley Canal line integrated into the initial network if at all possible. This is especially useful if the intention is to remove trains from Central station so that it can be rebuilt for modern requirements. Some sort of connection from the Paisley Canal line to the tram part of the Cathcart network seems possible by re-using the non-passenger lines and then having a curve near Eglinton Toll.

One of the ideas that may be worth revisiting for the Paisley Canal line is extending it back through to Elderslie and possibly back up to Bridge of Weir and Kilmacolm. That would require it going back to heavy rail. The nice thing about Metrolink-style tram-trains is that they don't prevent a return to heavy rail if required, as they still use high platforms. Depending on what happens with a cross-city tunnel the capacity constraint on Paisley Canal and Gilmour Street services might go away, so more heavy rail frequency may be viable.
On CPOs I'm just making the argument that they have never been applied evenly in Modern Glasgow. Can you imagine getting CPOs to demolish the £1million homes in Whitecraigs to get the Newton Mearns Branch vs potential CPOs in say Bridgeton. The political dimension cannot be ignored as it's not the Victorian era anymore.

I had considered using the GWR tunnel with resurfacing just north of the Botanics via cut and cover. I like the idea of two branches; one towards Anniesland and one towards Maryhill, but I cannot see bulldozing a large section of leafy Kelvindale ever happening for the latter, if using the historical rail alignments. I guess it could run on road and through the existing allotments to Maryhill Tesco.

Fair point regarding the existing Maryhill heavy rail line in the context of North West portion of the network.
 

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On CPOs I'm just making the argument that they have never been applied evenly in Modern Glasgow. Can you imagine getting CPOs to demolish the £1million homes in Whitecraigs to get the Newton Mearns Branch vs potential CPOs in say Bridgeton. The political dimension cannot be ignored as it's not the Victorian era anymore.

I had considered using the GWR tunnel with resurfacing just north of the Botanics via cut and cover. I like the idea of two branches; one towards Anniesland and one towards Maryhill, but I cannot see bulldozing a large section of leafy Kelvindale ever happening for the latter, if using the historical rail alignments. I guess it could run on road and through the existing allotments to Maryhill Tesco.

Fair point regarding the existing Maryhill heavy rail line in the context of North West portion of the network.
There's really nothing of great architectural value that would need CPOed to get a tram line up onto Ayr Road at Whitecraigs station. If it's an unremarkable building then CPOs become a business transaction thing.

The Strathclyde Tram proposal had the tram in cutting/tunnel to about the Ha'penny Bridge, then street running on Addison Road, then using the old railway alignment across the river and under Tesco. I think we'd see the terminus come up onto the surface and take over a bit of Tesco's car park. The GWR branch indicated on the 'future extensions' map seems to branch off at Ford Road and would go down Kirklee Road before turning towards Anniesland. That would avoid the need for a disruptive tunnel portal inside the Botanics. Once on GWR, the rest of the tram line would be as easy as you can possibly get.
 

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For me the Strathclyde proposal are simply the first iteration, to not use the Kelvingrove tunnels as well and have the north west fo the city joined up with the SEC Campus/Finnieston, IFSD, Glasgow Central and then out towards the south east would be an absolute crime, as you would be joining all major centres of employment, investment and entertainment and that part of the city to the national train network also.

If you were not to utilise Kelvingrove tunnels initially and only do the north city centre route then instead of going straight along St Vincent Street and through George Square, I would have thought ensuring Glasgow central was a stop would be preferable, meaning running along St Vincent, and weaving through Gordon street and back onto West George from Buchanan Street, we have to have joined up thinking when looking to the existing terminuses and where we can add new infrastructure.
 

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One option, supported by the Connectivity Commission, is to convert the Argyle Line to LRT, either automatic metro or tram. What would happen to existing heavy rail services on the Argyle Line isn’t set out in the Commission’s report but one possibility would be to build the ‘Bridgeton Link’ and reroute Lanarkshire services via Queen Street Low Level. You could have Rail/metro interchanges at Partick and Bridgeton for connectivity to IFSD, SEC/Pacific Quay, QEUH, AMIDS and Airport. You’d probably also want reopen Finnieston Station.
 

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For me the Strathclyde proposal are simply the first iteration, to not use the Kelvingrove tunnels as well and have the north west fo the city joined up with the SEC Campus/Finnieston, IFSD, Glasgow Central and then out towards the south east would be an absolute crime, as you would be joining all major centres of employment, investment and entertainment and that part of the city to the national train network also.

If you were not to utilise Kelvingrove tunnels initially and only do the north city centre route then instead of going straight along St Vincent Street and through George Square, I would have thought ensuring Glasgow central was a stop would be preferable, meaning running along St Vincent, and weaving through Gordon street and back onto West George from Buchanan Street, we have to have joined up thinking when looking to the existing terminuses and where we can add new infrastructure.
We're in a very different world now where getting rid of cars from the city centre is very much on the agenda. That should give a lot more flexibility to route any tram lines through the city centre grid. The branches out of the city centre are probably the more interesting thing, given that this is where the demand will come from.

Do remember though that it's not like every single line has to do every single thing. People will walk from the city centre tram stops to get to where they need to go, within reason. That includes getting to/from train stations for interchange. It may well be optimal for some or all of the east-west lines to cross the city centre somewhere between Central and Queen Street.

The reason not to use the Kelvingrove tunnels is that it's then too hard to join up with any of the rest of the tram network. The tunnels go to the platforms at Exhibition Centre station. Changing that so they end up on the surface would be extremely expensive and generally much worse than just going along Kelvin Way.

One option, supported by the Connectivity Commission, is to convert the Argyle Line to LRT, either automatic metro or tram. What would happen to existing heavy rail services on the Argyle Line isn’t set out in the Commission’s report but one possibility would be to build the ‘Bridgeton Link’ and reroute Lanarkshire services via Queen Street Low Level. You could have Rail/metro interchanges at Partick and Bridgeton for connectivity to IFSD, SEC/Pacific Quay, QEUH, AMIDS and Airport. You’d probably also want reopen Finnieston Station.
I'm quite unconvinced by this idea. It looks like a great way to spend a lot of money to then not deliver an awful lot of value without you spending even more money on top. Removing the grade-separation at Finneston and replacing it with an extremely constrained flat junction at High Street won't do much for reliability if you want to run the same number of train services, or more. I think much of this idea is coming from the notion that the Glasgow Metro won't end up just being a glorified tram (possibly including new grade-separated sections like in Nottingham or Edinburgh). Building some tram lines atop Argyle Street is probably less expensive and gives you a lot more flexibility.
 

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There's really nothing of great architectural value that would need CPOed to get a tram line up onto Ayr Road at Whitecraigs station. If it's an unremarkable building then CPOs become a business transaction thing.
I actually had a look at the proposed spur location yesterday on my bike, and yeh you could ramp up off the existing train line without any real obstruction. No residential property in the way.

The Strathclyde Tram proposal had the tram in cutting/tunnel to about the Ha'penny Bridge, then street running on Addison Road, then using the old railway alignment across the river and under Tesco. I think we'd see the terminus come up onto the surface and take over a bit of Tesco's car park. The GWR branch indicated on the 'future extensions' map seems to branch off at Ford Road and would go down Kirklee Road before turning towards Anniesland. That would avoid the need for a disruptive tunnel portal inside the Botanics. Once on GWR, the rest of the tram line would be as easy as you can possibly get.
One thing about the original Strathclyde Tram Proposals was that they came off Kelvinway across the river and into a new tunnel entrance in Kelvingrove park - see below:

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Unfortunately I don't think this alignment is now possible due to the new school being in the way. It would need a different approach to Kelvinbridge and the GWR tunnel but not sure the best way to do that. Woodlands Road maybe (Not Ideal)?
 
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