A CALL has been made for a new platform at Port Glasgow Railway Station to introduce a shuttle service with Wemyss Bay and cope with increasing demand.

Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan and Port councillor Chris Curley are pushing for an extra train service on the line, which only runs once an hour at present, but rail bosses say there is no spare capacity to accommodate it.

The pair have now brought forward suggestions about how to overcome the geographical and infrastructure constraints on the line.

They say that a way round the problem would be a supplementary shuttle between Wemyss Bay and the Port to connect to the Gourock-Glasgow line, doubling the existing service.

Their proposal would require infrastructure improvements to enable the trains to ‘turn around’ in Port Glasgow, with an extra platform at the station mooted as a solution.

Mr McMillan said: “The undisputable fact is that we need an extra capacity on the Wemyss Bay line.

"I have previously had discussions with both Transport Scotland and ScotRail about this and 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 important to find a solution that will increase the service on the Wemyss Bay line which enhances local connectivity and is not 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."

The MSP says it is vital that extra capacity is found due to a series of major developments in the south west of Inverclyde.

He said: "With over 1,000 new homes proposed in Ravenscraig, Spango Valley and Inverkip, we need to take the pressure off of the road network.

"Roadworks last weekend on Eldon Street, Inverkip Road and Cloch Road all at the same time showed how congested our network is.

"We need to increase the use of public transport.

"This is a viable option and something worth considering."

Cllr Curley added: “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 train frequency.

"If we do not address the need to an enhanced rail service on the 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, PICTURED, 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 sidings may be required, but this is not insurmountable."

The SNP duo believe that the public transport project could be funded from central government cash.

Scottish Government money has been available since 2018 for local agencies to bid for assistance with the costs of appraisals and business cases with a rail-connectivity aspect.

Cllr Curley said: "As it is a local enhancement to the rail network, I think this should be able to be funded through the Scottish Government, either through Strathclyde Partnership for Transport or Inverclyde Council directly."

Mr Curley now intends to formally table his proposal at a meeting of the local authority's environment and regeneration committee.

He said: "Inverclyde needs investment but it also has great potential.

"This proposal could form part of a suite of projects that could be developed to improve the district."