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					Glasgow Airport Rail Link
Integration, Development & Environment

         “The development of Scotland's transport
          infrastructure aims to promote economic
           growth, social inclusion and sustainable
           development via a safe, integrated, and
        efficient network of roads, rail, sea and air.”
                                      -The Scottish Executive,
                                     Department of Transport

                                                                 supplementary paper 3 of 3 proposed by

                                                                             thg RAIL

                                         as part of the GLASGOW          AIRPORT RAIL LINK
This paper has been prepared by thgRAIL in response to the consultation, conducted by the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive (SPT),
to their proposal to plan and develop a new direct rail link between Glasgow and Glasgow International Airport. It represents the final of three
supplementary papers to the main business plan proposal first presented in 1989 as a solution to the possibility of connecting Glasgow to its

These supplementary papers have been prepared to either expand on the points made in the original plans or to counter known elements of the
SPT proposal which appear to cross with known policies, plans or commitments and may therefore benefit from a wider approach to the
provision of this important rail facility. This particular paper has a central theme of reducing the overall cost of the project whilst delivering a
high quality service which will benefit commuters and airport travellers alike. To accommodate a greater understanding of the overall thgRAIL
proposal this paper should be read in conjunction with the other submissions on the subject. Similarly, it has been divided into the main points of
interest as follows:

This paper together with the previous thgRAIL papers; The Glasgow Airport Rail Link; The St. James Solution and Operational Considerations
will be presented to the SPT as part of their consultation process. They will also be presented to The Scottish Parliament during the initial 60 day
consultation period as formal objections to the SPT proposal should it be presented in its current form.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                        Page 2
                                                                                          Ground Transport
The SPT have taken a lead role in the design and implementation of the new Glasgow        Interchange Scoops
Airport Rail Link. There has been no explanation why they should have been given          Engineering Award
this important responsibility nor the process involved in being selected. Nevertheless
                                                                                          Manchester Airport's ground transport interchange,
they have been awarded this lead role and therefore have a duty to design a cost
                                                                                          The Station, which was officially opened last month
effective solution which takes account of all National and Local Government               by Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, has just
                                                                                          scooped the Institution of Civil Engineers' North West
transport and planning directives. Unfortunately, there appears little in the SPT
                                                                                          Merit Award.
proposal which indicates that they have been sensitive to some of those issues.
                                                                                          The Station, the first of its kind to be built in the UK,
In particular, the opportunity to have the Rail Link contribute to an integrated
                                                                                          combines bus, coach and rail services at the heart of
transport system appears to have been totally missed. Apart from the interchange with     the airport site. Manchester Airport Developments,
                                                                                          part of the Manchester Airports Group, led the
the Airport there is nothing in the proposal which embraces the idea of Integration or
                                                                                          design, procurement and construction of the £60
modal change – a strong requirement of government at all levels. This is all the more     million project.
surprising when the SPT is known to be the biggest operator of park and ride schemes
                                                                                          The Merit Award recognise schemes in the region for
in the conurbation and must be fully aware of the benefits of such schemes. Similarly     their innovation and engineering excellence and
there is no attempt to tie the scheme into the Glasgow Underground system yet the         MADL, along with construction partners Mott
                                                                                          MacDonald, AEDAS Ltd and Skanska Construction
new service will travel directly above West Street Underground Station – another          UK Ltd, was commended for its teamwork on The
SPT operated facility. Even within the Airport there is no suggestion of how the new      Station. The Station is a key piece of infrastructure
                                                                                          which will help Manchester Airport meet its public
station might integrate with other transport modes perhaps even expand into               transport commitments and grow the business in a
providing a multi-modal interchange such as The Station at Manchester Airport.            way that is more environmentally sustainable."

Likewise the existence of cycle routes, bus stops, taxi ranks and pedestrian crossing points along the new route have been totally ignored. Yet the
tag line used in SPT advertising is “JOINING UP JOURNEYS”!?                               15/02/2004

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                         Page 3
The proposal by thgRAIL attempts to recognise these modal change opportunities and highlights the potential for more adventurous possibilities
where proper forward planning at this stage could introduce new transport interchanges as the Rail Link matures.
Park and Ride
The SPT acknowledge pressure to expand the successful Park and Ride scheme at Johnstone, yet because they choose to run the Airport service
as a dedicated express the chance to alleviate some of that pressure by introducing a complimentary service at Paisley St. James is lost. The
acquisition of the land necessary to build the link will leave surplus property that on completion of the link could be used as Park and Ride
accommodation. The thgRAIL proposal acknowledges this and recommends the introduction of the facility at Paisley St. James Station. The
income generated from this will help either subsidise the annual running costs or the payback on the capital employed. Similar opportunities
exist at the Hillington Stations and by an expansion of the facility at West Street on completion of the M74 extension.
Of some concern is the fact that the SPT proposals (or lack of proposals) on Park and Ride appear to conflict with other established studies. In
2000 the government commissioned the M74 Corridor 2010 Plan (completed 2002) with a key contribution from the Central Scotland Transport
Corridor Studies (CSTCS). In the preparation of this plan there has been an assumption that a major Park and Ride initiative will feature as part
of the Airport Rail Link. It should be noted that the SPT’s lead consultant, Sinclair Knight Merz contributed to CSTCS.
Modal Change
At the city centre terminal the transport integration possibilities are tremendous. Interaction with taxi ranks, car parks, water taxis, walking
routes, bus stops and other rail networks presently all take place at and around Glasgow Central Station. The Airport Rail Link must take
maximum advantage of these opportunities and where possible better them. In particular the connection with the Argyle Line at Glasgow Central
Low Level must be made as seamless as possible. By making this connection fast and user friendly the Rail Link stands to benefit from feeding
into this important regional commuter route. The idea of a passenger from Lanark being able to travel to the Airport by train with only a short
weather protected transfer at Central offers great marketing possibilities and demonstrates the potential of the network gaining access to the

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                       Page 4
Similar opportunities exist with a new station at Ibrox. Bus routes in Paisley Road West and the Glasgow Cycle Networks within Bellahouston
Park are easily assimilated into the location to create a modal change station whilst an agreement could be put in place to allow commuters the
use of the nearby Albion Car Park for midweek Park and Ride possibilities.
By emphasising the importance of Paisley St. James the nearby cycle lanes can be diverted to call at the station. The opportunity to tie in with
the National Cycle Route 7 which passes to the south of Paisley Town Centre may be a similar initiative which the local Council may wish to
discuss with SUSTRANS the cycle, pedestrian and public transport charity.
At Glasgow International Airport Station we advocate locating this in a position as close as possible to the main terminal building. Ideally this
should be in the area to the rear of the new multi-storey car park where the remaining surface car parking can be adapted to take coaches and
public buses in the creation of a multi- modal interchange. The station can also use the existing sky bridge through the car park to allow
connection with the airport in a controlled environment.

In addition to the integration of transport systems and modes the SPT should also integrate or assimilate with other parties to work with them in
an effort to maximise the benefit of the new investment. Along the route of the new rail link there are at least four major developments proposed
where there is no evidence of any interaction with the SPT in relation to possible working arrangements.
M74 Extension
It has to be assumed that there has been some contact with the M74 development team particularly when the
section of the rail line affected by the new road is totally without comment in the SPT proposal. It may be that
there is a conflict of interest with the SPT losing (at least temporarily) the use of the West Street Park and
Ride and the possibility of an acquisition of part of the Scotland Street Park and Ride. However there will be
aspects of track possession, Train Operating Companies (TOC) compensation, signalling and coordination
which may benefit from a joint approach or at least good communications between two of Scotland’s biggest
infrastructure projects being carried out at approximately the same time.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                    Page 5
Ibrox Stadium Conference Centre
The new proposal for a hotel, casino and conference centre at Ibrox Stadium is currently before Glasgow City Council for consideration by the
Planning Department. The Design Development support information for this scheme shows that a new station at Broomloan Road was
considered by the developer. It was abandoned before formal submission yet there was no evidence of any discussions with SPT or Network Rail
which would suggest there was any opposition to this. thgRAIL have made representation to the Council that should permission be granted for
the new conference centre then a planning agreement encouraging the developer to contribute to the station build costs should be entered into.
The SPT should follow this lead.
Braehead Expansion
The proposal to build a new international indoor skiing centre as part of the Braehead expansion will create an additional traffic generator to this
already busy retail and leisure scheme. Whilst it is possible to directly connect the proposals to the rail network by completing the Airport Loop
(see below), realistically this would be some time in the future. However representations should be made to acknowledge this possibility perhaps
by leaving the line of the route clear of development for say ten years. It is interesting to note that similar provisions have been made to secure
the possible future expansion of the Airport with some 200 acres being set aside to ensure that development possibilities are not suppressed. In
the immediate term the developer should be encouraged to provide a free shuttle bus connection between Braehead and Hillington/Cardonald
Stations as part of their commitment to sustainable development.
Hunterston Expansion
Previous papers touch upon the studies being undertaken by Clydeport to create a new international container base at Hunterston Ocean
Terminal. Whilst this is generally supported by thgRAIL, that support is given without knowledge of the logistics studies being carried out and
the impact that the new proposals will have on the existing rail network. There is the serious possibility that the track upgrade proposed by the
SPT should be funded at least in part by Clydeport/Peel Holdings. As a matter of some urgency this point should be addressed by meeting with
the Hunterston development team and planning areas of mutuality in terms of the impact on the rail network.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                      Page 6
In addition to these areas of known development activity there still appears to be other bodies that could offer assistance but still remain without
mention in the SPT proposal. In particular it is known that Network Rail have been given clear responsibility for timetable planning – an area
which appears to be missed in the SPT scheme. Also, as part of the West Coast Main Line upgrade the signalling at Glasgow Central Station will
be overhauled and upgraded within the next few years. Again this could have important implications for the new service as it will be platformed
at Central. Coordination and planning at this stage on timetable and signalling could remove the need or at least delay/reduce the requirement for
a new platform at the mainline station with a saving to the overall scheme of some 10.0% of the total cost as a result.
There must be a liaison with CSTCS (see above) if only to establish how the exclusion of Park and Ride from the Airport Rail Link will affect
other studies and plans.
The two local authorities of Glasgow and Renfrewshire have a contribution to make. Renfrewshire is acknowledged as being in discussion with
the SPT on the matter of crossing the St. James Playing Fields and whilst this is obviously important there are perhaps greater planning issues to
be considered as a result of the new rail link (see Paper 1 – The St. James Solution). The Council are known to have requested a commentary on
a ten year plan for the Airport from BAA. It is important that aspects of that plan are taken into account when finalising the Airport Rail Link
project. The projected increase in airport passenger traffic which has been used to justify the need for the Link would bring Glasgow almost to a
position where Manchester Airport is today. Manchester discovered the need to conduct a radical overhaul of its ground transportation systems
within five years of opening its Airport Station. The ten year plan is therefore of vital importance. Meanwhile Glasgow City Council have
successfully completed the excellent upgrade of the Glasgow Green Football Centre – the perfect template for St. James Playing Fields. Glasgow
City Council are surely best placed for giving advice on this matter as they created a multi agency response to what was a seriously neglected
BAA appears to have taken no formal profile on the airport rail link. Indeed the SPT proposal stops as it enters the Airport grounds with no
suggestion of a preferred location for the station. There is also the matter of financial responsibility for the creation and construction of the new
rail terminus which must surely be the responsibility of BAA and thereby reduce the overall cost of the scheme.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                       Page 7
The SPT have made a noticeable effort in ensuring what little information they have made available is accessible by all sectors of the population.
It is regrettable that they only announced their interpretation of the impact of the Rail Link on St. James Playing Fields one month after their
final public meeting. Even more so is the fact that they published their plans for the Link three days after the last public meeting – thereby
denying any public scrutiny of the actual preferred route. However, the public meetings were always accessible and their (limited) public
material available in a range of formats. It is hoped that this accessibility will be carried into the detailed designs of the scheme and the actual
construction. In addition to considering the requirements of the disabled and disadvantaged it is recommended that discussions are put in place
with charities such as SUSTRANS who would have a particular input in the integration of the new railway with cyclists, pedestrians and public
We would also have expected to see greater consultation with the private sector on some important aspects of the new investment. The premise
for the new rail link is an anticipated doubling of the airport passenger traffic over the next fifteen years. A doubling of traffic suggests that there
will be a doubling of flights. They will all need fuel and due to the proximity of the existing BP fuel farm to the new rail installation it may be
opportune to consult with the supplier in case the new rail link prevents an expansion of this important facility. The thgRAIL proposal locates
the railway line between the fuel farm and the M8 thereby leaving the possibility for extending the fuel storage and transfer facility. The angle at
which the SPT proposal enters the Airport suggests that their route will go beyond the fuel farm and limit any future expansion of this important
facility. As an alternative, we have suggested that BP may wish to use the railway line to provide another means of supplying the airport rather
than by road tanker. A meeting with BP is urgently required.
Inter City House in Osbourne Street provides an excellent opportunity to expand the support facilities required at Glasgow Central Station. In the
past the owners have been responsive to such ideas – the uncertainty of the Rail Link ever happening being the only negative aspect in this
respect. There remains an opportunity to encourage this owner to develop their building in support of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link at no cost to
the project.
Finally, thgRAIL have been a long standing promoter and supporter of the Airport Rail Link yet there has never been an attempted meeting or
discussion with either the SPT or The Scottish Executive. In the past we have been invited to meet with the Department of Transport in London

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                        Page 8
and British Rail (prior to privatisation). Our proposals have known merit and certainly would not have cost the £3.0 million granted by the
Executive to the SPT for the purpose of basically replicating our work. We have also been able to assemble some of the required sites needed for
the rail link. To not even attempt a discussion is at best conceited and at worst a clear misuse of public money.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                   Page 9

The ongoing or future development of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link has been considered at this stage as there are decisions to be made which
could have a bearing on the future possibilities. Forward planning at this stage is as important as the construction of the new link.
Many calls for the building of the St. John’s Link (at High Street east of Glasgow Queen Street Station) and the subsequent creation of the
CrossRail (allowing the north and south Glasgow suburban lines to be connected to the respective networks) scheme have been made over the
past few years. These repeated calls appeared to be repeatedly ignored and CrossRail stands ready to be consigned to the pile of more frivolous
unattainable transport projects (Glasgow Central – Queen Street Tunnel; Central Scotland Airport; Glasgow Metro/Tram System; etc.). This
would be unfortunate as CrossRail offers tremendous opportunities to improve the transport system in and around Glasgow. However as it
continues to be talked about it becomes harder to achieve. Recent developments (particularly residential) in the area of the former High Street
Goods Station will increase the cost of CrossRail and lead to the project being less likely to be implemented.
By linking CrossRail firmly to the Glasgow Airport Rail Link however the possibility of creating an ongoing development plan for rail services
in Glasgow / West Central Scotland exists. An important part of this would be the removal of the contradiction between whether the Airport Rail
Link requires platform alterations at Glasgow Central if CrossRail proceeds. The saving of £10 - £15 million by avoiding the Central works
would go some way to paying for the St. John’s Link and the creation of CrossRail. Similarly, by including provision in the Airport Rail Link
proposal for the future creation of the West Street Interchange this can also be seen as supporting CrossRail.
Airport Loop
The thgRAIL proposal for the Glasgow Airport Rail Link was borne from an earlier plan to create a circular route serving the then proposed
Braehead Regional Shopping Centre, Renfrew Ferry, Renfrew Town and the Airport. Known as the Airport Loop this proposal was first
presented in 1990 – and laughed at by Renfrew Council Planning Department then of the opinion that Braehead would never happen. The
possibility for the Loop being created remains. The owners of Braehead Shopping Centre have apparently asked for a rail connection; the second

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                      Page 10
phase proposals for Braehead are currently being considered; despite recent road alterations at Hillington road traffic problems still remain at the
M8; Renfrew is still the biggest town in Strathclyde without a rail connection and the Glasgow Airport Rail Link looks like proceeding. Forward
planning at this stage is essential if there is to be any likelihood of the Loop being created. Foremost is the decision on where the Airport Station
should be located. Wherever it is located, provision should be planned that it can thereafter exit through the Airport and continue through to
Renfrew. In the period since first presenting the proposal there have been a number of changes in the built environment which legislate against
the Loop or at least make it more expensive to create. A residential development has been built on the line in Renfrew Town and the Airport
Cargo Centre has been built east of the main terminal between Abbotsinch Road and the White Cart Water. On the positive front, the new
owners of the Babcock Works have, in the past, suggested their support for the scheme.
The move from talking about this possibility to actually making it happen may be helped if the Airport Rail Link proposal is presented in a
positive manner and seen to support the Loop idea. In addition to the location of the Airport Station and the marketing possibilities a true cost
benefit analysis of the proposal to upgrade the Paisley to Shields Junction may help. There is little doubt that the Loop would remove
congestion, increase viability and improve capacity (if done in conjunction with suggested timetable management) on the Paisley line. The
question would be whether the savings in proposed track upgrades would be enough to pay for the Loop. Perhaps not; but they would certainly
make a substantial contribution to the Loop – Braehead, Clydeport and the Babcock Works may help by contributing their share.
West Street Interchange
The creation of a full transport interchange or so called super station at West Street will ultimately depend on the creation of CrossRail and the
through routing of services other than those using Glasgow Central Station. In the immediate term however there is a fear that rather than
increasing the importance of this station it may actually suffer as a result of the M74 extension. In the short term there will be the loss of the Park
and Ride facility however there appears to be no publicised proposal of how this will be replaced. It is perhaps significant that, with recent staff
shortages during the Christmas period, the SPT chose to close this station. Perhaps this signifies the degree of importance this station carries
within the SPT. In thgRAIL plan, West Street holds a significant position. Not only does it offer the only feasible interface between the
Underground and heavy rail on the south side of the Clyde, its proximity to perhaps the major motorway interchange (M74/M8) in Scotland

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                       Page 11
makes it strategically important for anticipated long term growth in the local area. Needless to say, in the event that CrossRail happens, West
Street will be in a position to become a full transport interchange with the opportunity to introduce modal change for rail routes coming from
East of Glasgow and beyond.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                    Page 12

Environmental considerations in connection with the thgRAIL proposal for an Airport Rail Link have been assessed on two fronts – the Built
Environment and the Natural Environment. Whilst no detailed environmental surveys have been undertaken our desk top studies suggest that
there are no major environmental issues which would adversely affect the decision to construct the rail link. There are issues which have been
identified and appropriate provisions should be made at the planning stage to resolve particular problems.
The Built Environment
Beyond the expected disruption produced with any major infrastructure project during the construction phase, there are some six main issues
identified which will require specific provisions.
Airport Station
The suggestion of locating the Airport Station at the front of the main terminal car park will make it visible to all passengers either entering or
exiting the Airport. Such a prominent location may well help establish the new service and certainly keep it in the public eye. It would also place
an obligation on the developers to create a suitable design for what could in effect be a new face of the Airport. Anticipated additional costs have
been allowed in the thgRAIL scheme for the creation of an aesthetically pleasing Glasgow International Airport Station. It may be also be
appropriate that this project is presented as a separate architectural competition to bring a wider exposure to the overall scheme.
The suggestion of the introduction of floodlighting to the new St. James Football Centre will have an impact on M8 traffic; aircraft calling at the
Airport and local residents living with this intrusion. Light pollution is difficult to define but with proper planning and management provisions
can be made at an early stage to show that reasonable steps have been taken to mitigate any potential future problems. For motorway traffic it is
expected that the provision of some light diffusing netting on the northern boundary of the St. James Football Centre will prevent problems with
drivers suddenly being blinded by glare as they pass the new railway embankment (travelling west). There is a cost provision for providing high
boundary fencing to keep stray balls within the centre and the exercise of adding anti-glare netting is therefore quite simple, at least until trees

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                       Page 13
are grown to provide a stronger light barrier. The remainder of the road network rises away from the football pitches and no further problems are
anticipated as a result.
The flight path of aircraft using Glasgow International Airport appears to be further to the north of the new football facility and therefore no
particular problems are expected. A direct consultation with the airport will confirm this.
The local residents will experience a different kind of light than at present. The motorway at this point has street lamps and the Airport also
produces a permanent yellow/orange glow however the playing surface floodlights will produce an arguably brighter white light which some
will feel more intrusive. The use of a railway embankment through St. James Park may actually help those residents living in Greenock Road as
this will provide a screen to the light. This will be more so if the embankment receives an appropriate landscaping treatment with hedging
against the railway fencing. Residents, particularly of the upper floors in the terraces of St. James Avenue closest to the Greenhill Road corner
may find this more of a problem. Again an initial use of light diffusing netting on the boundary fences (pending a suitable tree growth) at this
point will assist, however greater control may be better achieved by a planning agreement which limits the hours of operation of the new centre.
In such a situation the floodlighting may be limited to use up until 10.00 pm each night. Outwith such an agreement the use of proper controls
through photo-electric switches and timers will also help.
Listed Buildings
Along the entire route of the new rail link there are a variety of building types and structures. An initial study suggests that, with the exception of
Glasgow Central Station, there are only three buildings of any suggested architectural merit which could be affected by the new railway.
The buildings at the corners of Cook Street/West Street and also at Scotland Street/Paterson Street are listed buildings close to the West Street
Station. Both are more affected by the M74 extension proposals and it is understood that specific action is planned as a result.
The multi-storey warehouse at Greenhill Road / Clark Street known as Dobies Court is Category B Listed and considered a building of
architectural interest being also listed as part of the collection of the National Monuments Record of Scotland. The degree of importance this
building may actually hold can be legitimately questioned in that it does show signs of fabric deterioration and the Local Authority have seen fit
to approve its adoration with advertising hoardings and mobile telephone masts; however the fact remains that it is Listed. The thgRAIL

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                       Page 14
proposal has been designed to recognise that fact and give a suitable clearance to this important building and it is expected that on completion of
the works the setting will be improved as a result. Before and after condition surveys will be commissioned to ensure the integrity of this
structure is unaffected by the
new works. An area of land
initially required for the
construction process can be given
back to this property to improve
circulation and access to the rear

        Dobies Court
 Importance of this building
 may be called to question
 with the additions of
 advertisements and phone
 masts. Perhaps there is a
 case for demolition?

There is some concern in that the
proposal by the SPT appears to
suggest that the new line would
pass within 5 – 10 metres of the
rear elevation thereby requiring
partial if not total demolition.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                    Page 15
The proposals for Glasgow Central Station require detailed discussion with Glasgow
City Council Planning and Conservation Department and ultimately an application for
Listed Building Consent. The basic proposal is to open up two existing arches to allow
connection to Inter City House. Whilst detailed designs have not been prepared there
will be no visible change to the exterior of the station building whilst the physical
connection can be finished in glass and stone taken from the newly opened arches.
Noise Abatement
The very real problem of night time working on the rail line during the construction
process is considered a management problem to be resolved by the contractor. Beyond
this there is the recognition that there will be an increase in rail traffic and as a result
noise which will affect the occupiers of houses which abut the Paisley line. Whilst
noise abatement measures such as screening and baffles can be used again we must
advocate that proper responsibility for this and adopt “The Polluter Pays” policy. The
Airport Rail Link cannot be expected to shoulder the entire cost of this if, as suspected,
                                                                                               Possible connection to Inter City House from Platform 13
there already is an increased use of the line by goods traffic (Greenburn Light Railway)
and an anticipated further increase (Scottish Coal and Hunterston).
Electro-Magnetic Interference
As the proximity of the dwelling houses in the Pennilee and Hillington Districts to the rail line and heavy duty switchgear will not change under
the thgRAIL proposal we do not consider that popular public health fears of electro-magnetic radiation will be any more justified than at
present. However, the proximity of the new link to the telephone masts on the building of Dobies Court (see above) may cause interference to
the microwave transmitters and it will be necessary to raise the heights of the masts – promoting further debate on how far this Listed Building
can be compromised with modern “frills” of this type.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                           Page 16
Railway Embankments
The thgRAIL design allows for the new railway embankment
from Paisley St. James Station to the M8 to be constructed of the
reclaimed material from the currently redundant embankment at
Ferguslie Park Avenue / Greenhill Road. Whilst no detailed soil
investigation has been carried out it is expected that the former
railway solum will contain contaminants usually associated with
heavy rail, particularly during the steam age. With a suitable
containment exercise being employed during the extraction
process and a policy of encapsulation whilst creating the new
embankment no insurmountable difficulties are expected. Top
soil from St. James Park can be used to finish the embankment.
This is a manageable exercised and a worthwhile undertaking for
the massive environmental benefits it stands to offer the overall
project. There will be a saving on mineral extraction, lorry trips
                                                                                  Bridge at Blackstoun Road set within former embankment
from the quarry and cost of material whilst the removal of the
redundant embankment opens up a landlocked area for new development and removes a potential health and safety problem with the dismantling
of the dilapidated bridges set within the embankment.
From a construction viewpoint, it is known that parts of the M8 required deep piling. Indeed, the SPT proposal negated the possibility of a tunnel
connection to the Airport as a result. By using a preloading embankment solution we feel that this would offer the most cost effective solution to
the question of how the actual link is constructed.

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                       Page 17
The Natural Environment

Final policies on how the new development may affect the Natural Environment on and around the area of the new works will be subjected to a
detailed Environmental Impact Study at a later date. Our provisional studies have identified possible areas of concern which will need to be
addressed in more detail at a later stage.
There are known flooding problems elsewhere in Paisley, notably at the White Cart Water and Clyde confluence. There is no known problem in
the particular area of the new line. However, the design method suggested by thgRAIL does create a lower lying saucer at St. James Football
Centre with it being bounded by the raised embankments of the new rail line, the M8 and the A726. A well designed drainage solution will be
required here particularly as the remainder of the former St. James Park (to the north of the M8) shows signs of typical wetlands.
Flora and Fauna
Renfrewshire Council have an established Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP),
published in conjunction with the neighbouring authorities of Inverclyde and East
Renfrewshire in April 2004. This policy serves as an excellent reference point to
commence investigations into the affect which the proposed development could
have on the local flora and fauna. Whilst there are no known instances of any of the
recognised priority species identified by the LBAP being present in the area of the
proposed works, the proximity to the nature conservation at Paisley Moss and to the
Site of Special Scientific Interest of Black Cart calls for a cautious approach to this
matter. Similarly, the removal of the redundant embankment will disrupt the local
biodiversity and a detailed study of this requires to be taken prior to any of the
works commencing. It is part of the thgRAIL proposal to involve local schools in              Redundant Embankment – Ferguslie/Greenhill Road

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                     Page 18
this project where their assistance in monitoring the area before during and after the works will not only provide them with a valuable
educational experience but will offer the project a suitable exposure to its future users. Consequently, the new embankment across the St. James
Playing Fields will be laid out to encourage a rapid growth which will not only camouflage the new rail line but also encourage a naturally
established environment for the local ecosystem.
As highlighted above there is an anticipation of some contamination within the old railway solum within the redundant embankment. Whilst
containment and encapsulation methods will be used to prevent any spread of this contamination the survey areas will be extended around the
embankment to establish if there is any run off of the contamination into the adjacent areas. The lack of natural growth in the area between the
road and the embankment warrants further investigation in this respect. If such suspicions are justified the decontamination exercise can be
extended to suit and thereby clear up a problem brownfield site, beyond that of the embankment, to the advantage of the local community.
The main area of the new construction over St. James Playing Fields has historically been wetlands and the presence of the playing fields will
not have improved this much. The historic suggestion of the land being also used as a burial ground seems to be unsubstantiated. There is no
record of any such problem when the construction of the motorway took place and likewise new works currently under way to the west of the
A726 appear to be unaffected. The preloading of the site with an embankment would “squeeze” the moisture from the built area and, as
highlighted above, an improved drainage system as part of the St. James Football Centre proposal would alleviate this particular problem.
Similarly, the embankment solution would offer the least disruption to any ancient burial grounds or substrata difficulties whilst causing the
minimum disruption to the natural environment.

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The Scottish Executive’s web site introduces its Department of Transport with the following statement:

“The development of Scotland's transport infrastructure aims to promote economic growth, social inclusion and
sustainable development via a safe, integrated, and efficient network of roads, rail, sea and air.”

In explaining this further they go on to expand their thinking of what an integrated transport system means:

“The Executive is committed to delivering an integrated transport system which meets economic and social needs
but does not threaten the environment.

The aim is to tackle congestion, to promote better public transport, and to deliver vital missing links in the transport

The background to this policy or mission statement comes from various sources but is best summarised in the report “Travel Choices for
Scotland” where the following was said about integrated transport: “We see an integrated transport policy encompassing:
        • integration within and between different modes of transport - so that each contributes its full potential and people and goods can move
        easily between them;
        • integration of transport with the environment - so that our transport choices support a better environment;
        • integration between transport and land-use planning - at the Scotland and local level, so that the two work together to support more
        sustainable travel choices and reduce the need to travel;
        • integration of transport and our policies for education, health and wealth creation - to make a fairer, more inclusive society.”

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Unfortunately, either through a failure to fully publish its plan
                                                                                Enormous benefits of Glasgow Airport rail link
during the public consultation process or a simple inability to                 Your Letters                                               November 18 2004
interpret the Scottish Executive’s aims to develop an integrated,
                                                                                AS a nation, we are sometimes accused of not thinking big. In the
safe and sustainable transport infrastructure, the SPT have                     Victorian age our forefathers literally built this country. Virtually all of
failed to fully deliver an acceptable plan for the Glasgow                      our surviving rail network dates back to that era. So do our stations
                                                                                and many of our libraries, hospitals, homes and civic buildings. The
Airport Rail Link which meets the government’s established                      Victorians had vision.
criteria. Our reports and papers have shown that the                            Where has that vision gone when the focus of a multi-million-pound,
                                                                                nationally important, infrastructure project closes down to four, five, six,
opportunities are there – the SPT have not embraced them,                       seven or eight football pitches? …………………………………………….
indeed at times they appear to deny them.                                       ……………..
                                                                                SPT's preferred route has a lot of benefits over the other routes
As it presently stands, the SPT plan                                            proposed. The tracks between Paisley Gilmour Street and Central
    i)      fails to capitalise on modal integration;                           Station are at capacity. Adding another track will increase capacity and
                                                                                improve services to Ayrshire and Inverclyde. This does not happen
    ii)     is short on environmental integration;                              with any of the other routes that have been considered.
    iii)    does nothing to exploit advantages in land use                      There are huge advantages to a rail link. Airlines operating from an
                                                                                airport with a rail link enjoy a competitive advantage. Passengers get a
            planning as a result of the Link, and                               safer, more reliable, less stressful way to get to the airport. There is an
    iv)     literally drives an express train through those areas               increase in off-peak patronage on the trains. There is a reduction is
                                                                                congestion. The link to London City Airport is forecast to remove half a
            along the route which could stand to gain most from                 million car journeys a year. Heathrow Express forecasts that it will
            a socially inclusive approach.                                      reduce traffic on Heathrow's roads by 3000 vehicles a day!
                                                                                We have the opportunity to really improve the rail network in the west
                                                                                of Scotland at a strategic level. We need to take a leaf out of our
Worryingly, the SPT appear to hold the opinion that their plan                  Victorian forefathers' book and look at the bigger picture if we are to
                                                                                enjoy the enormous benefits a rail link offers.
is adventurous if not visionary. Cllr Alistair Watson has                       Councillor Alistair Watson, chair, Strathclyde Passenger Transport
                                                                                Authority, 12 West George Street, Glasgow.
recently been quoted expounding this suggestion in the national
press. The concentration remains on the question of the future                  Excerpt from Letters Page – 18th January 2005
                                                                                The Herald

Integration, Development, Environment – part of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link                                                             Page 21
of the football pitches at St. James Playing Fields – there are no signs of the bigger picture suggested in this letter; any of the SPT publications or
the GARL web site.
The thgRAIL proposal has been developed over a longer period and whilst we have not thought of everything our plan is certainly more wide
ranging than the SPT proposal. We aim to use the new investment to

                 get commuters off the M8;
                 spread the airport’s economic hinterland into Paisley, Hillington and beyond;
                 introduce modal change with the private car, other rail systems, the Clyde Ferry traffic; the Underground, buses, pedestrians,
                 cycles and aeroplanes;
                 make other parts of the rail network more attractive to existing and new users;
                 maximise development opportunities along the route – working with known proposals and encouraging new schemes;
                 work with established and proposed new freight carriers;
                 enhance the built environment both at the Airport and adjacent to the B Listed Building at Paisley St. James Station.
                 create an environmentally efficient development, removing redundant brownfield sites;
                 establish a local educational interest in the new development, through instruction and competition;
                 mitigate health concerns by minimising working in areas where the public are close to the railway, especially at nights;
                 allow for future expansion and the creation of an integrated plan for Glasgow’s suburban rail system;
                 create a fast, clean, efficient rail link to Glasgow International Airport serving its passengers and staff, and
                 substantially save on the suggested cost of the new investment through design, planning, partnership and co-operation.

We recommend that the SPT proposal be set aside and the thgRAIL plan adopted as the basis of the application to The Scottish Executive to
establish a Private Bill as the statutory instrument for creation of The Glasgow Airport Rail Link.

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