The last few months have seen yet another attempt to nibble at the infrastructure of our former railway line. This one, at the site of the old Bridge of Weir railway  station, flies against the current accepted trend  to promote rail, the most environmentally friendly  means of maintaining and improving “connectivity”  against the growing threats  of climate change, environmental pollution and traffic congestion on our roads.  It is truly amazing that Renfrewshire  Council has taken  so long to take the positive action to throw out the Planning Application  behind this move.

The Scottish Government, by its previous policy gestures has shown that it is not adverse to promoting  rail developments  elsewhere, and finance is now available under the Greater Glasgow City Deal Plan.  Exciting new technological developments mean that battery and hydrogen cell propelled trains are even now available which would be eminentally  suitable for use on the Gryffe Valley line. We in this group have been fighting for the restoration of this line for over twenty years, and now, as never before, is the time to get this project off the ground. Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Councils have access to this finance but they seem to be more interested  in using it to support Glasgow Airport’s ill-conceived  and rejected schemes to promote the Airport’s connectivity with Glasgow’s City Centre.

Yes, we need more houses, but houses of a sociably acceptable  nature suitable  for “starter families”, not large houses generating  multi-car households which only add to the congestion on our already  overcrowded local and urban roads. Those houses are to be welcomed, and should be built on sites adjacent  to the railway  but not on it, minimising the need for car use, and not encouraging  it.  It  is further  recognised that “Park  and Ride” facilities need also to be provided  adjacent  to the railway, to cater for existing householders  remote from the railway, making it attractive to get them to tap into the railway system.

Many residents,  particularly those who do not think  about the long-term future  of their environment, have come to like the quiet rural cycle track and walkway which the old railway track  has become, but there is no suggestion that this facility need be sacrificed. There are many examples of where a double track  railway solum  can support a single track railway and a rural  pathway  existing side-by side. Occasional “pinch-points” where passing loops and stations need to be re-created  can be dealt with on an individual  basis, and trees and wild-life sanctuaries can soon be restored.

As long as this issue is not addressed,  would-be developers will continue to attack  the integrity  of this railway solum, and sooner or later they may well succeed, thus destroying this valuable “connectivity  artery” for all future generations. So, if you recognise the sensibility of our arguments,  please signify your support, and be prepared to sustain it against the inevitable bureaucratic inertia, hopefully by joining us.

We think  the time has come to establish a formal Committee,  made up of people with drive and conviction who share our views, one which is prepared  to meet regularly  and  push matters  forward  into “the citadels of power”.   The Beaton Brothers are prepared to offer us meeting-place accommodation, the need for which is always an issue.  Let us all get together  to help make the Gryffe Valley a more congenial area to live in.

If you are prepared  to support  us, and even more usefully, help us actively to achieve our aims, please give your name and e-mail address  to PGTF,  c/o Ian Beaton, 1 Station Rd., Bridge of Weir, PAl13LH.  We will then contact you.

Brian Turner,

(Hon. Convener, PGTF.).