Hovercraft trials take place on the Clyde

03 Oct 2008

Clydefast is to trial a 12 passenger hovercraft on the River Clyde in Glasgow starting on Monday 10th March. 

The 3 day trial - which involves a Griffon 2000TD hovercraft - will allow Clydeport Harbourmaster the chance to assess the impact, if any, that a regular operation may have on other river users. It will also give interested investors and local authorities the chance to experience for themselves what a hovercraft can offer in terms of alternative transport. The main benefit is that Hovercraft offer a fast service and minimal 'wash' at speed.

2 round trips per day will run during the trial period between the SECC pontoon in Glasgow, Braehead, East India Harbour in Greenock and Dunoon.

Alistair Macleod, Chief Executive of Clydefast, said: "We are very excited about the test and indebted to Glasgow City Council, Riverside Inverclyde and Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) for making the trial possible. It will hopefully demonstrate the potential for a permanent hovercraft operation to be brought to the Clyde. The service will be fast - for example a service from Dunoon to Glasgow will reach the city centre in 52 minutes, over 20 minutes quicker than the present journey time of an hour and a quarter (by train and ferry). Rothesay will be included in a permanent operation which would add a further 15 minutes to the journey."

He added: "another bonus in using the hovercraft would be its ability to navigate through bridges which don't open. Some of the current Clyde bridges restrict catamaran ferries getting directly to the city centre, particularly at the Broomielaw."

A permanent service would operate to and from Glasgow Broomielaw, Braehead, Greenock, Dunoon and Rothesay and could carry up to 130 passengers. The craft can travel in the open seas at speeds of up to 40 knots but the river speed would be reduced to a level acceptable to the Harbourmaster. Hovercraft were last seen in regular use on the Clyde in the late 1960s.

Councillor George Ryan of Glasgow City Council said he "welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate how the river can be utilised for regular passenger services. The Council are very interested in finding the results of the hovercraft trials, and on considering these results we will judge how such a service can fit into wider plans to develop traffic on the Clyde and its estuary."

Bill Nicol, Chief Executive of Riverside Inverclyde said: "Riverside Inverclyde is delighted to support the Clydefast hovercraft trials since this could be a step towards providing an exciting and effective way of linking Inverclyde with the wider metropolitan region. For me, it is a positive demonstration of not only assisting a local businessman, Alistair Macleod, but cross organisational working with colleagues at SPT and Glasgow City Council."

Ron Culley Chief Executive SPT added: "We're delighted to support this trial. Development of the Clyde as an additional transport channel helps the ongoing regeneration of the area. By encouraging varied and fun ways to travel along the River, we can continue to make Glasgow a vibrant location for people to visit."                                                                 

More information and pictures available from Clydefast Ltd.  Alistair Macleod T 01475 540331 m 0780 1053 567 am@clydefast.co.uk

  • Hovercraft at Pacific Quay supplied by Clydefast Ltd