A community rail partnership group have unveiled a host of new policies designed to protect the Ayr-Stranraer railway line.
SAYLSA, the community rail partnership for Carrick and Wigtownshire are concerned that there is an option in the new Scotrail franchise which would see direct train services on the Stranraer line to Kilmarnock or Glasgow via Paisley withdrawn.
The group say the removal of a direct service would undermine the region’s economy and increase its isolation to visitors. The move if passed would also leave the South West of Scotland as the only area without direct services to the central belt.
SAYLSA are also hoping to improve rail services by pushing to allow passengers south of Girvan to access Ayr and Kilmarnock before 9am, as well as trying to get a direct service from Stranraer- Glasgow aimed at shoppers, a late afternoon service to attract day trippers to Wigtownshire, an improvement in Sunday services at Girvan, and the provision of a link with Kilmarnock and a return of ferry passengers to the line.
The partnership also wish to boost connectivity and information to promote walking and to improve road signage for those pedestrians and motorists who wish to access rail stations.
SAYLSA aim to improve cycling facilities, boost the integration between bus and rail services particularly at Barrhill and Stranraer and improve the car parking at Girvan, Barrhill and Stranraer stations.
Finally, SAYLSA hope to aid tourism and take advantage of the line’s unique heritage by restoring the appearance of Girvan and Stranraer stations, to list Barrhill station and renovate Maybole station to improve its setting. Improved access at both cross platforms at Girvan is sought as well as between the station and Bourtreehall.
Chair of SAYLSA John McCutcheon said: “We only have to look at the outcomes achieved by those supporting the Settle-Carlisle line to see what can be delivered.
“If we can increase our passenger carryings with a re-tweak of the timetable, improve connectivity, get the ferry passengers travelling by rail again and restore our stations we will have one of the best railways in the land. As the Americans say build it and they will come, our growth figures over the last few years show that these aspirations are not just a dream but can and do bring real benefits not only to the railway but the local economies as well.”