FRESH calls have been made to put railway expansion in Renfrewshire back on track, amid fears a new housing development could kill the idea for good.

As previously reported by The Gazette, a planning application has been submitted to Renfrewshire Council by L&S Homes to build 39 houses next to Station Road, in Bridge of Weir.

The homes would be built on the cycle track of the Paisley and Clyde Railway Path, currently owned by Sustrans, meaning it would have to be relocated.

READ MORE: Bridge of Weir rallies round coal yard as plan for homes on it stirs protest

However, campaigners believe doing so would be the final nail in the coffin to hopes the railway could return to the likes of Bridge of Weir, Kilmacolm and Elderslie.

Brian Turner, convener of the Paisley and Gryffe Transport Forum, told The Gazette: “If this plan goes ahead, it will kill any chance of the railway coming back forever more.

“We have been campaigning for the railway to come back to Bridge of Weir and onto Kilmacolm for a number of years.”

The last train left Bridge of Weir station in 1983 amid a major restructuring of the railway system.

The Gazette: Plans submitted to Renfrewshire Council show the proposed developmentPlans submitted to Renfrewshire Council show the proposed development

However, in the last decade, a number of lines have been brought back to life, including the Airdrie to Bathgate service, and Mr Turner believes there is no reason the same can’t be done in Renfrewshire.

He added: “They said the Airdrie to Bathgate line would never reopen but that was brought back in 2012 and has revolutionised access to transport there.”

Councillor Colin McCulloch, who represents Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank, wants the Scottish Government to consider setting up a committee to look into bringing redundant rail lines back to life.

The Labour man said: “I’ve been wanting to bring the railway back to Bridge of Weir and onto Kilmacolm and beyond long since before I was a councillor and I am sure it’s something I’ll be hoping for long after my time in office is over.

“It would be a massive boost to the villages and would help to alleviate so many of the issues commuters are facing.

“Public transport is worse now than it was 100 years ago.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring the railway meets future growth needs and are willing to consider proposals for new stations, or reopening existing ones." 

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