COUNCIL leader Susan Aitken has branded hopes for a tram-train link from Central Station to Glasgow airport as “dead”, saying the plans fell apart under scrutiny.

A Personal Rapid Transit pod link between Glasgow Airport and Paisley Gilmour Street is now the most likely option, it was revealed in January.

Glasgow Labour leader Frank McAveety said that plan had been described as a “toy town solution” during a full council meeting.

He said:“When it was revealed that the new station for the airport rail link was actually an old station, Paisley Gilmour Street, it was described by the Chamber of Commerce as a ‘toy town’ solution.

“They’re not the only ones who were critical of the new developments in terms of the airport rail link and to make the case of an integrated rail link. Why are they wrong?”

But Ms Aitken said the pods would link into the existing rail network.

She said: “They’re wrong because this is an integrated rail link.

“The new outline business case was agreed at the airport access project executive steering group in January.

“It was agreed across all the partners to develop a revised outline business case, with a focus on systems such as those used across the UK and European airports. 

“Personal Rapid Transit encompass a whole range of different types of transportation, which will link the airport directly into our existing rail system, as is the norm for airport access links.

“That work is being carried out and whatever the final form of the new project and the new link, it will take place within the same timescale as the tram-train project.”

The council leader said that although some people still cling to the tram-train project, it had fallen apart “quickly under the first serious scrutiny it had”.

Ms Aitken, said:“There has been I believe, deliberately or otherwise, a mis-characterisation of what the potential new project will be.”

She also hit back at Mr McAveety’s support for the tram-train method.

She added: “I have to say to Councillor McAveety, I have tried to give him a dignified exit out of the support for the tram-train.

“I really, really wish he would take it because that project is now dead and I’m afraid that is rightly so.”

The tram-train link hit problems following a study that said it would impact negatively on other services in the West of Scotland and on Central Station, which is at capacity.

It was noted in a report by rail consultants Jacobs in a study for Transport Scotland that there would be a negative impact on journey times from Ayrshire, lanarkshire and Inverclyde to accommodate a direct rail link between Central Station and the Airport. capacity issues at Central Station were also said to be a barrier with no room for another four to six service and hour.

The Glasgow Chamber of Commerce was among those who were disappointed when it was decided to progress plans for a shuttle or pod system to Paisley instead.

It has been noted that fewer people could be attracted to the new system because it involves changing trains at Paisley.

The pod project is expected to be delivered for the same cost around £138m and in the same timescale, by 2025 as the tram train line would be.

It is also feared that the pod may not have as much of an impact on congestion on the M8 if fewer passenger choose to use it than a direct link.

A report last week to the City Region Cabinet found the number of passengers expected to use a shuttle top Paisley was 1.16m a year compared to 1.36m for tram train.