IT would appear that those with time on their hands and taxpayers cash to play with are intent on banging away at the idea of creating a “white elephant” to connect Glasgow Airport to Glasgow Central Station (“Tram-train airport link ‘in 10 years’”, The Herald, November 26). Current proposals focus on utilising the existing rail line between Glasgow and Paisley. a strategy which from the outset places constraints on the number and frequency of a new service simply to accommodate existing traffic on that line and congestion at the terminus.

Any journey taken on a new airport rail link would in most cases simply be part of a chain of journeys for which a link already exists. Apart from the apparent imperative to make Glasgow Airport part of an elite group with rail links to major cities the justification for the project seems to be principally to facilitate the journeys of business travellers, despite the fact that existing taxi and dedicated bus services have transit times to central Glasgow of 20 minutes or less, a scenario that many major airports could only dream of.

I’m sure if I was travelling on an expense account I would choose to jump into a cab rather than wait to jostle with sweaty oiks in bubble-pods or a tram especially as unlike the new proposals the taxi leaves now and can take me directly to my hotel rather than on an impromptu tour of the less than scenic post-industrial greater Glasgow. What casual traveller being dropped off for or being picked up from a flight would do so at Central Station rather than the front door of the airport? Who would feed and clothe the redundant taxi-drivers’ children?

In any plan it should be factored into the equation that situated between central Glasgow and at or near the airport lie the new mega-hospital on the Southern General site, the Braehead Shopping Complex, the town of Renfrew and nearby Erskine, none of which have access to the rail network and would benefit greatly from having same. Perhaps it is time that planners thought “outside the box” and stopped looking simply at the airport, especially if public money is to be used solely to promote the services provided by a private company.

David J Crawford,

Flat 3/3 131 Shuna Street, Glasgow.

AS a long-term supporter of a heavy rail connection to Glasgow Airport it was no great surprise to read of plans for a tram-train link now being promoted to provide that link.

The heavy rail link has been deliberately and quite cynically excluded from the consideration process for a number of years now. As we have learned (or perhaps not learned) from the Edinburgh trams debacle, when such major projects become the obsession of those operating a political rather than commercial agenda then normal reasoning is soon dispensed with. Fastlink (should it be Farcelink?) may well be a further example of this.

As things stand the heavy rail connection, if properly planned and managed, offers the best value for money of all schemes but the Scottish Government simply does not want it to happen. Having cancelled the scheme in 2009 there is no way that this particular administration would admit the errors of its ways so close to the election next year but equally so, it knows that the heavy rail link to Glasgow Airport would be the final nail in the coffin of its own pet airport project.

When the City Deal funding was announced, those of us supporting the heavy rail link thought that, at last, we would get a fair hearing. The reality was somewhat different – despite contacting the City Deal team and every council leader within the partnership we received not one single response. This despite the overture being made that the heavy rail link offers the potential of actually costing nothing or certainly much less than the competing proposals. When such considerations are being deliberately avoided then the business case promoting the alternative must be suspect to say the least.

Of course, we should not forget that whilst City Deal offers the financing solution to providing the rail link it also introduces a new party to the proceedings – that of the UK taxpayer. Perhaps the UK Treasury might take a different view on how robust the tram-train case truly is.

William Forbes,

23 Greenlees Park, Cambuslang.