IMPROVEMENTS to the A82 along Loch Lomondside and shorter journey times on the West Highland rail line via Helensburgh Upper are among a series of key transport priorities identified by Argyll and Bute Council.

A report for the local authority's Argyll Islands Strategic Group says there is a need to further improve the section of the A82 between Tarbet to Inverarnan – last upgraded in 2014 – because of the trunk road's status as a "key economic driver for the West Highlands".

And the report, by the council's executive director of development and infrastructure, Pippa Milne, says the council should lobby ScotRail and the Scottish Goverment to streamline the time taken to travel by train between Oban and Glasgow.

Ms Milne's report, which lists the 'Top Transport Priorities for Argyll and Bute', as agreed by the authority's environment, development and infrastructure committee, also says there is a need to lobby either for a new railway halt at Shandon, to serve personnel based at nearby Faslane as the Royal Navy's Clyde base expands, or to enhance the existing public bus service between Helensburgh and the base.

Improved transport links to the naval base are currently under consideration by the council and the Ministry of Defence as part of the expansion of the base, which will be home to the UK's entire submarine fleet by 2020.

READ MORE: Helensburgh set to swell under £1.3bn Navy expansion

The report states: “Transport Scotland are undertaking a review of the National Transport Strategy and associated Strategic Transport Projects Review and this will include a wide programme of engagement across Scotland.

“As part of this process, Argyll and Bute Council will lobby Transport Scotland for increased investment in key local transport infrastructure and services.

“In support of this, this council has developed a list of key transport priorities for the region.

“Argyll and Bute Council will also lobby and pursue support from the Scottish Government for increased transport investment via a proposed Rural Growth Deal for the region.

READ MORE: Upgrade to 'vital' A82 – in 2014

“As part of this process Transport Scotland supported by their consultants will deliver a wide programme of engagement across Scotland to ensure that transport users have an opportunity to feed into the process.

“In Argyll and Bute this will include targeted stakeholder workshops and a member’s seminar. There will also be a wider public consultation undertaken on behalf of Transport Scotland.

“Officers from Argyll and Bute Council have been working with Transport Scotland and their consultants to compile a portfolio of evidence in support of additional funding being directed towards critical transport infrastructure and services.”

The idea of new stations at Rhu, Shandon or both, to serve the villages themselves as well as improving links to the naval base, is not new, though residents of Rhu and Shandon gave a lukewarm response to the idea when it was floated by the Scottish Green Party in 2018, suggesting that access to the sites of the two villages' old stations would limit the prospect of new facilities at the same locations.

READ MORE: Green MSP holds talks on Rhu 'pop-up station' idea

Ms Milne’s report also says that a draft of the National Transport Strategy is expected later in 2019.

The strategic group is due to meet in Lochgilphead on Tuesday, May 28.