DEMAND for a historic town to have its own train station is building a head of steam.

Calls for Renfrew to get its own stop on the national rail network were first aired when the Scottish Government's cabinet met in Renfrew recently.

Transport Minister Keith Brown was questioned on the issue at a public session and he responded by saying councils should lead the way in submitting bids for new stations.

Now SNP MSP Derek Mackay, who is from Renfrew, and the leader of Renfrewshire Council, Labour's Mark Macmillan, are to meet to discuss how to make the plan for Renfrew a reality.

Mr Mackay hopes the council will take advantage of a Scottish Government fund of £30million created to bring forward bids for new stations.

He said: "Renfrewshire will benefit from massive investment in rail upgrades in the west of Scotland, and now a further opportunity is presented locally.

"Renfrew is the largest town in Scotland without a train station, and a route still exists at Braehead, where rail freight lines are still intact.

"I firmly believe that there is an opportunity to take forward the prospect of rail to Renfrew.

"With the government fund, potential private sector contributions and council support we can do this.

"We must develop alternatives to the reliance on the M8 and the road network, which is hard-pushed to cope with demand, particularly at peak times, so with rail now becoming possible once again we should seize the opportunity.

"What I'm suggesting is the route that would go from Braehead to Glasgow, as this would involve minimal disruption.

"I would work enthusiastically with the council to pull a bid together. Party politics should not get in the way."

Responding to the call, Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan, said: "In recent years, Renfrewshire has had a 'rail deficit' from the Scottish Government – the Glasgow Airport Rail Link was cancelled.

"Currently, the council is campaigning with other Renfrewshire organisations to change the Government's mind on downgrading rail services from Paisley.

"We will continue to make the case for Renfrewshire's transport and economic needs."