South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the news that work is underway on a new staff accommodation block at Ayr Station, but said the work is long overdue.
This is the first phase of a £1.3m programme of work at the station, however, Colin Smyth and the local branch of the RMT Union have long been campaigning for improvements to be made at the site.
The installation of a new modular block to the east of the station; opposite platform four, will provide staff with a fully functioning base, independent of the original station building. It will serve as a booking-on point for drivers and host general welfare facilities for all station-based staff.
In addition to the installation of the staff accommodation, Network Rail will deliver a package of works to make the station operate more efficiently in the short term – upgrading access and walking routes, expanding circulation space as well as improving the general aesthetic appearance of the facility.
This work is required in the short-term to improve the situation for both staff and passengers using the station and is separate from any discussions around the future of the former Station Hotel. A Task-Force is currently set-up looking at the long-term plan for the former hotel/ station building.
Colin Smyth said: “For far too long the conditions for both staff and passengers at Ayr Station have been completely unacceptable.
“I have been working closely with the local branch of the RMT Union to address the many problems and we’ve had several meetings and discussions with ScotRail and Network Rail about the issues at the station.
“Since early 2019, staff have been forced to work from a number of temporary portacabins in the main station car park, after their previous facilities deteriorated to the point they were no longer habitable. No-one should have had to work for so long in temporary accommodation like this.
“While I am happy that we are finally seeing some action with work underway on a new staff accommodation block, and I’m sure those working at the station will be pleased to finally see some progress, this is long overdue, and I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure there are no more delays.
“Ultimately we also need a long-term solution for the station and in my view that includes a plan to restore the former Ayr Station Hotel building as part of the development of a station that is fit for purpose.”