PLANS to create a new ‘light metro’ railway connecting East Renfrewshire to Glasgow have been welcomed.

The ambitious proposals are included in a Scottish Government blueprint to revolutionise transport over the next two decades.

Some details of the new Clyde Metro system, which would improve links between Glasgow and outlying areas, have yet to be finalised.

However, Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer said there are plans for it to reach as far as Barrhead, Giffnock and Newton Mearns.

“This strategy really is fantastic news for Barrhead and Newton Mearns,” said Mr Greer, who represents East Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit.

“It will open up new options for local commuters, improve the frequency and reliability of existing local rail services and help reduce the number of cars on the road by giving people attractive alternatives.

“That, in turn, will improve local air quality and make our roads safer. And, of course, it will also create thousands of quality jobs through the planning, construction and operation of all these new rail lines.

“The devil will now be in the detail and I look forward to enthusiastically making the case for the improvements to be designed to best serve residents in Barrhead and Newton Mearns.”

Plans for the Clyde Metro were announced by Transport Secretary Michael Matheson as part of the Scottish Government’s second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2).

It is thought that as much as £15billion worth of investment will be needed and the entire project could take up to 30 years to finish.

The STPR2 document stresses that a metro system from Glasgow city centre extending outwards by 15 kilometres would “target areas where connections are currently poor” and include places “where there is deprivation.”

It adds: “Metro transport systems include one of or a combination of bus rapid transit, light rail and metro rail.

“These options would complement the service provided by traditional railways and may include the conversion from existing railways to light rail or metro rail.”

Concerns have been raised over a lack of detail in the timescale for the project, as well as how the huge costs will be met.

However, Mr Matheson has pledged that officials will now “put in place the programme work which will be necessary” to develop the Clyde Metro.
He added: “That involves us working with all the local authorities involved…to look at how we can take this forward as a strategic investment programme over a number of years.”