SNP MSP John Mason has called for the electrification of a railway line running through Glasgow city centre, as well as a new station that would "take pressure off" Queen Street station and Central station. 

The MSP says a new station at Glasgow Cross would allow trains to run directly from Ayr to Edinburgh and stop in Glasgow en route but not at either of the city's two main train stations. Over the decades, many innovative ideas have been suggested or implemented in the field of transport in Scotland.

The Bennie Railplane was meant to herald the start of a new age in transport. A futuristic sight - a cross between an aeroplane and a monorail - George Bennie's Railplane was unveiled on July 8, 1930, at a VIP test run on a 400-ft track in Milngavie, near Glasgow.

The elegant, streamlined, cigar-shaped carriage was the height of luxury, with stained glass, carpets, armchairs and individual table lamps. Sliding doors allowed people on and off the trains at elevated stations.

The Railplane was suspended from a rail and powered by electric propellers on both ends. Beneath the train, suspended 16 feet above the ground, were wheels which rested on another rail and helped stabilise the carriage.

The Herald: George Bennie's ambitious but short-lived RailplaneGeorge Bennie's ambitious but short-lived Railplane (Image: Newsquest)

The Railplane, however, was destined to go no further than its test track, over disused LNER sidings at the Burnbrae Dye Works. Bennie, 39 at the time of the launch, went bankrupt and died 24 years later. "It never really left him", John Messner, curator of transport and technology at Riverside Museum in Glasgow, told The Herald in 2020. "He thought it could be the future for passengers and for freight".

Had it been a success, there were plans to run the Railplane from Glasgow to Edinburgh and even to London.

Various attempts have been made to launch a hovercraft service across the Clyde, including the one seen here, the Airgo service, pictured in 1974.

The Herald: Airgo Hovercraft on the River Clyde, 1974Airgo Hovercraft on the River Clyde, 1974 (Image: Newsquest)

Despite various services being trialled across Scotland, the hovercraft never managed to become a viable method of public transport.

An ambitious hovercraft service was launched on the Clyde in 1965, but lasted only five months, with the operators blaming teething troubles on their two 38-seat craft and exceptionally bad winter weather.

The Clyde Hovercraft service was described prior to its launch as the first in the world for all-year-round operation, running between Tarbert, Helensburgh, Gourock and Dunoon. The two craft, operating at an average speed of between 30 and 40 knots, would be two to three times faster than the traditional steamers.

Trams were a familiar daily sight in many Scottish towns and cities, but were gradually phased out. Much publicity attended the final run of the trams in Glasgow, in 1962. As a means of transport, however, trams are still proving popular - in Edinburgh and elsewhere.

The Herald: A tram in Princes Street, EdinburghA tram in Princes Street, Edinburgh (Image: Newsquest)

The first driverless bus in the UK has begun transporting passengers across the Forth Road Bridge. 

Autonomous buses could be the public transport of the future if they are met with positive feedback from the general public.

The vehicles have two members of staff – a safety driver who can take control of the vehicle in an emergency and a “captain” to sell tickets and provide customer service.

The Stagecoach service, from Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park Transport Interchange, will operate on a trial basis until 2025 as part of the CAVForth project.

The Clyde Tunnels, opened in 1963 and 1964, were viewed at the time as a key part in a road redevelopment scheme that would gradually transform Glasgow, Scotland's largest city. The pedestrian walkway at the tunnel has been described as "possibly the longest and scariest walk in Glasgow".

In the mid-1980s, hopes were expressed in Glasgow that the advent of the Channel Tunnel, which opened in 1994, could herald a new era for the Clyde. It was predicted that the tunnel, by providing a continuous route between the Clyde and the Continent, could turn the west of Scotland's peripheral position in Europe into an asset.

The COP26 climate conference held in Glasgow in 2021 encouraged hopes among some railway enthusiasts that disused rail stations across Glasgow, including that at Finnieston, could be reopened and pressed into service.

Railfuture Scotland, an independent group that represents passengers, studied the stations and lines that could be reopened across the country after being shuttered in the 1960s, and reported that there were 50 that were seriously viable. 

I know we still haven’t really got to the bottom of the whole campervan thing yet, but I have other transport-related news: a new railway station is taking shape in Scotland and it could, I think, be a model for the future.

Network Rail recently released pictures of the work that’s being done to restore Leven station in Fife, which effectively disappeared off the face of the earth in the 1960s. 

What was seen as Scotland’s answer to the New York Highline was unveiled at Bowling Harbour in West Dunbartonshire in 2021. A disused railway viaduct was painstakingly turned into a state-of-the-art linear park and walking, wheeling and cycling route at the western gateway to the Lowland canals.