Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan and Port Glasgow Councillor Chris Curley have renewed their calls for an extra train service on the Glasgow to Wemyss Bay line.
The service currently only runs once an hour, compared with the four trains an hour along the Gourock line. Stuart and Chris have brought forward suggestions about how to improve connectivity and overcome some of the geographical and infrastructure constraints on the line.
They are calling for an additional shuttle train to run between Wemyss Bay and Port Glasgow to increase the train service to twice hourly between Wemyss Bay and Port Glasgow. This service would supplement the existing train service on the Wemyss Bay line to and from Glasgow, not replace it. Network Rail are also installing a lift at Port Glasgow Station which improves accessibility at the station for passengers.
This proposal would require improvements to enable the trains to ‘turn around’ in Port Glasgow.
Scottish Government funding has been available since 2018 for local promoters, such as Regional Transport Partnerships and others, to bid for assistance with the costs of preparing appraisals and business cases which have a rail-connectivity aspect.
Speaking about the proposal, Stuart said:
“The indisputable fact is that we need extra capacity on the Wemyss Bay line. I have previously had discussions with both Transport Scotland and ScotRail about this. Both were clear that timetabling at Glasgow Central would make it impossible for an extra train an hour between Wemyss Bay and Glasgow.
“It’s therefore important to find a solution that will increase the service on the Wemyss Bay line, which enhances local connectivity and not be detrimental to the service on the Gourock line. This proposal provides that additional service to and from Glasgow, enhances local capacity and also provides the opportunity to reduce car journeys locally.
“With over 1000 new homes proposed in Ravenscraig, Spango Valley and Inverkip, we need to take the pressure off of the road network. Road works last weekend on Eldon Street, Inverkip Road and Cloch Road all at the same time showed how congested our road network is and why we need to increase the use of public transport. This is a viable option and something worth considering.”
Commenting, Chris said:
“The more I researched the capacity issues on the Wemyss Bay line, the more I could see the merits in an Inverclyde solution to increasing the train frequency along the line.
“In order to enable us to live sustainability we need to give people travel options. My concern is that if we do not address the need to an enhanced rail service on the Wemyss Bay line now, communities along the A78 and A8 will suffer greatly with increased road traffic when the proposed housing is built in Wemyss Bay and Spango Valley.
“Many people may remember that there used to be an additional platform at Port Glasgow Station which enabled people to transfer between Gourock and Wemyss Bay trains. This is one option for providing a shuttle service but we could also look at infrastructure improvements in the area of Clune Park in Port Glasgow and Woodhall Station, possibly in combination with other improvements along the Wemyss Bay line.
“This proposal should also complement the proposed new footbridge and platform access improvements at Port Glasgow Station.
“Additional signalling and/or sidings may be required but this is not insurmountable and, as it is a local enhancement to the rail network, I think this should be able to be funded through the Scottish Government Funding either through SPT or Inverclyde Council Directly. Accordingly, I will be raising this proposal for consideration at the next meeting of the Environment & Regeneration Committee.
“Inverclyde needs investment but Inverclyde also has great potential. This proposal could form part of a suite of projects that could be developed to improve Inverclyde, and the outcomes for the people of Inverclyde.”