Ayr- Stranraer line is Scotland’s first community rail partnership

D Cameron Southbound service near Cassilis  station, Minishant closed in 1954.
D Cameron Southbound service near Cassilis station, Minishant closed in 1954.

A community rail partnership which promotes the Ayr- Stranraer line has become Scotland’s first designated community rail partnership.

SAYLSA, the community rail partnership for Carrick and Wigtownshire were given the green light by Scottish Government Transport Minister Keith Brown MSP.

The news comes hot on the heels of figures showing the Ayr-Stranraer line was Scotland’s best performing rural rail line in 2012-13 seeing year on year growth of 10.7%, the only such line to achieve double digit increases in passenger numbers.

Chair of SAYLSA John McCutcheon said: “We are delighted to be the first designated CRP in Scotland and look forward to being a beacon of community participation in the Scottish Government’s community rail agenda. SAYLSA has some exciting projects in the pipeline, which we believe can fundamentally revolutionise the perception of this region.

Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Oattes who will serve on the new board said: “I am delighted to have been chosen by South Ayrshire Council to represent them on the first designated Community Rail Partnership established in Scotland and look forward to working with the SAYLSA Board in taking forward plans and ideas, which will enhance the Stranraer to Ayr Railway line for the benefit of the local community and for visitors to South West of Scotland.”

The organisation, which has a 60 strong membership from local councillors, community councils, community organisations and individual members is a Scottish charity and social enterprise and since 2007 has slowly increased its level of traded income. Its aims are to protect the environment and promote the culture and heritage of the districts through which the Stranraer to Ayr railway line runs whilst through community involvement, education and information, encourage rail in preference to road travel. It runs a small shop at Girvan station, staffed by volunteers as well as operates its own community transport service. SAYLSA also produce pocket sized rail timetables which are available across the area.