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Railway Line Support Group Formed

A SUPPPORT group has been launched in a bid to ensure the future wellbeing of the Ayr to Stranraer rail line.

The move follows concern about the line, particularly the section south of Girvan, once Stena relocates its ferry services to Cairnryan.

This is now expected to happen in Spring, 2009.

The Stranraer to Ayr Line Support Association (SAYLSA) held its inaugural meeting at Girvan’s Royal Hotel last week (September 12), attended by 14 people, several of whom are regular users of train services on the line.

Those present at the meeting agreed the draft constitution and officers were elected.

The Chairman of SAYLSA, Richard Carr said that despite plans to rebuild Stranraer Station and assurances that the line between Girvan and Stranraer will not close in the foreseeable future, big questions remain with First Scot Rail continuing to suggest that bus services between Cairnryan and Girvan Rail Station still present the best option for ferry passengers after Stena relocate.

Mr Carr said: “We’ve got to start looking at what happens once the ferry goes. After all, the ferry is the raison d'etre for this route.”

SAYLSA also want to see hourly services between Girvan and Ayr and improved timetabling for the whole route to ensure better connections at all points between Stranraer, Glasgow and Newcastle.

At present, extremely few onward connections are possible for passengers using services from Stranraer to Ayr without significant waiting times.

Like Rail User Groups and the Community Partnerships, which exist predominantly south of the Border, SAYLSA will also seek improved facilities at stations including floral decorations and facilities for the disabled in partnership with community groups and Network Rail.

Other committee members are: honorary president, Dr Percy Walker; secretary, Kay Siddell; treasurer, Mike Woolgar and membership secretary Irene Climie.

Mr Carr said: “We would invite anyone who wishes to ensure improved services, facilities and indeed the future of services between Stranraer and Ayr to join us.”

Contact membership secretary Irene Climie on 01465 714642 at evenings and weekends."

Plans to run steam trains between Ayr and Stranraer are being put forward by a separate group The Wigtownshire Tourist Trains Project (WTTP).

This is meeting with officials from Scottish Enterprise and Dumfries and Galloway Council early next week to discuss the proposals.

WTTP hope that by running tourist trains on this scenic route, more visitors will come to Wigtownshire, boosting the local economy.

Anyone interested in supporting WTTP should phone 01671 403875.

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