Moves to fast-track plans for a new Barrhead train station have been welcomed.

The Auchenback station, near Balgraystone Road, on the outskirts of town, was first mooted as part of the Glasgow City Region Deal that will see millions of pounds pumped into major projects across the west of Scotland.

However, under those proposals, the new stop wasn’t expected to open until at least 2021.

Now, as part of fresh plans to boost public transport, work on the ‘pop-up’ station is expected to be under way by April 2019.

A total of £2million has been made available to help pay for new train stations as part of a budget deal agreed by the Scottish Greens and the SNP minority government.

But the message to passengers who could soon be hopping on board at the Auchenback stop is: “Use it or lose it.”

This is because the new station is being opened on a temporary basis, with plans to make it a permanent fixture if it proves popular.

Councillor Angela Convery, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor, said: “I strongly believe the proposal for the Auchenback train station will be a huge asset to the residents of Barrhead.

“The line will provide a much-needed transport link from Barrhead to the rest of the authority and will also provide an additional link between Barrhead and Neilston.

“I would hope this is something that people in the area give their full support to.”

Residents in Auchenback currently face a walk of up to 40 minutes to Barrhead’s existing train station in the north side of town.

Plans for the Auchenback station include a new bus terminal, as well as car parking for commuters.

Scottish Greens’ MSP Ross Greer added: “People in Auchenback are well aware of the benefit that would come from having access to the rail network, as well as the economic opportunities a new train station can bring.”

A spokeswoman for East Renfrewshire Council said: “We are progressing with plans to deliver a railway station at Barrhead South in conjunction with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport, Transport Scotland and Network Rail.”