South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Connectivity and Transport Colin Smyth has written to the Chief Executive of the ScotRail Alliance Alex Hynes urging ScotRail and Network Rail to continue to develop contingency plans for an alternative to Ayr Station for rail services between Ayr and Stranraer.
Last week a limited rail service between the two towns was reintroduced for the first time since South Ayrshire council enforced an exclusion zone at Ayr station due to the unsafe condition of the former Ayr Station Hotel.
However, Colin Smyth fears that when more work is required on the former Ayr Station Hotel, it could lead to the line being closed again in the future and the local MSP wants every effort to be made to avoid any disruption to services.
He has therefore urged rail bosses not only to re-introduce the full service between Ayr and Stranraer again as quickly as possible, but continue to develop the alternative of running services from a temporary station south of Ayr at the Townhead Depot for use if Ayr Station is closed again.
Colin Smyth said, “Whilst it is welcome news that a limited services has been reintroduced between Stranraer and Ayr we need to see all services back up and running as soon as possible. If it is safe to run a limited number of trains through Ayr Station then commuters will rightly be asking why it is not safe to run all services”.
“Now that we have some services back up and running, it is also vital that rail bosses do all they can to avoid future closures. It is likely that work will need to be carried out on the former Ayr Station in the months and even years ahead and that could lead to further disruption.”
“That’s why I have written to Alex Hynes, the Chief Executive of the ScotRail Alliance urging both ScotRail and Network rail to continue to develop the plans for a contingency services running form the Townhead Depot south of Ayr and Stranraer so this could be used should platform 4 at Ayr Station need to close again. The problems at the Station Hotel are not going to go away anytime soon, so the rail companies need to be prepared for whatever scenarios arise.”