Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 12:13 UK

'Forgotten' rail line seeks boost

Ayr to Stranraer railway line
The report sets out ways to regenerate the Ayr to Stranraer railway line and deliver economic benefits

A new report has been published setting out plans to breathe new life into "Scotland's forgotten rail line".

The Ayr to Stranraer route is seen as having potential to deliver economic benefits throughout Galloway and Ayrshire by increasing visitor numbers.

Sustainable transport group Transform Scotland said the rail line had "great potential" and was "undervalued".

Among the report's key recommendations is a proposal for three fast, daily services between Glasgow and Stranraer.

The line through to Stranraer harbour was opened in 1877, with the main aim of linking Northern Ireland ferries to Glasgow.

There is a significant potential day-trip market from Glasgow and across the central belt which could be tapped into should a satisfactory timetable be put in place
David Spaven
Report author

Visitor attractions near the route include the likes of Glenluce Abbey, Culzean Castle, Logan Botanic Gardens, Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, the Southern Upland Way and Carrick Way.

It also boasts Britain's oldest working harbour station at Stranraer and Scotland's last traditional rural station with a staffed signal box at Barrhill.

In addition, Girvan has Scotland's only surviving Art Deco style station building, dating from 1951 after a fire destroyed the previous structure.

It is this potential which Transform Scotland, who published the report, wants to develop.

Chairman Paul Tetlaw said the Ayr to Stranraer route was the nation's "forgotten rail line".

"It has great potential but is currently greatly undervalued and underutilised," he said.

"The railway has for too long been seen as only serving ferries when it should also be providing a service for local residents, for day-trip visitors and for tourists from overseas.

"The area requires better connectivity to Glasgow, and the Ayr to Stranraer line has the potential to provide journey times competitive with the car."

Complex timetable

He said there needed to be "concerted and long-term efforts to market the line".

Among the key concerns is a timetable described as the "most complex and irregular in Scotland".

The report's author, David Spaven of Deltix Transport Consulting, said the route had major "tourism potential".

"There is a significant potential day-trip market from Glasgow and across the central belt which could be tapped into should a satisfactory timetable be put in place," he said.

He added that it was also worth considering bringing freight trains back onto the route.



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