Save Our Railway - Stranraer

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Jinx

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Just over 2 years ago the possibility of Stranraer Station closure was discussed by local MPs, Scotrail and the SAPT concluding that Stena's move out of Stranraer would increase the likelihood of closure.

Stena have moved. Stena are currently transferring foot passengers by bus into Ayrshire (Girvan)to make rail connections.

SWestrans are readying to make a public statement in the next couple of weeks and without the help of the local community this statement is most likely going to announce the demise of Stranraer Station with the tender up for renewal in 2014.

Please help Save Our Railway by showing your support here and/or clicking "Like" on our facebook page

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MidnightFlyer

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I fully back its retention, it is an absolutely stunning line south of Ayr, if nothing it could be sold on scenery alone. I won't like the Facebook page, none of my friends know I like trains ;), but I'll support your campaign all the way.
 

Ivo

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I fully agree with what Matt said.

In addition, Stranraer itself is not that easy to get to (OK, so it has a primary road, but it's not exactly the best in the country) and at that kind of distance I personally would much rather travel by train than car. If the station could be resited nearer the town there would be more interest in the service provided as well.

Could the current station be maintained under this proposal? Probably not sadly - but I would it could be maintained for heritage/special services.
 
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Just over 2 years ago the possibility of Stranraer Station closure was discussed by local MPs, Scotrail and the SAPT concluding that Stena's move out of Stranraer would increase the likelihood of closure.

Stena have moved. Stena are currently transferring foot passengers by bus into Ayrshire (Girvan)to make rail connections.

SWestrans are readying to make a public statement in the next couple of weeks and without the help of the local community this statement is most likely going to announce the demise of Stranraer Station with the tender up for renewal in 2014.

Please help Save Our Railway by showing your support here and/or clicking "Like" on our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/saveourrailway
Having been to Stranraer (Easter 2012), I wish you every success, with your campaign. Your big problem is that the station is too far out of town.
 

yorksrob

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It would certainly be a dreadful step backwards to have a major closure of this sort in this day and age.

Is the plan to close the whole route from Ayr to Stranrear ? In which case, I'd be surprised if local residents would stand for it.
 

MidnightFlyer

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Personally I think Ayr-Girvan would survive, however I fear for south of there. It would be a unspeakably sad if it went; I think if you gave Stranraer a station in the town, its old route back into Glasgow back (via Paisley, it was changed to via Kilmarnock to enable a half-hourly service between there and Glasgow), and an actual decent, well-timed service, even if only to Ayr half the time, it will pull itself through. I will say this for it too - behind the West Highland line, I think it's the most scenic in Britain, ahead of the Kyle line I think. That could well turn out to be its saviour.
 

yorksrob

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Indeed. Surely sense will prevail and they will at least try and route it into the old Stranrear Town station.
 

John55

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Just over 2 years ago the possibility of Stranraer Station closure was discussed by local MPs, Scotrail and the SAPT concluding that Stena's move out of Stranraer would increase the likelihood of closure.

Stena have moved. Stena are currently transferring foot passengers by bus into Ayrshire (Girvan)to make rail connections.

SWestrans are readying to make a public statement in the next couple of weeks and without the help of the local community this statement is most likely going to announce the demise of Stranraer Station with the tender up for renewal in 2014.

Please help Save Our Railway by showing your support here and/or clicking "Like" on our facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/saveourrailway
What is actually expected to happen? Is the station to be shut and a new one provided? Is the line south of Girvan to shut?

A quick look on the web doesn't have any of the usual newspaper articles suggesting doom and gloom. So some further explanation might be helpful.
 

PaxVobiscum

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Here's another view of the situation:

http://www.saylsa.org.uk/saylsa_news.html
A battle is looming over the future of Stranraer’s historic harbour station between The Regional Transport Partnership SWestrans on the on side and local groups including the Wigtownshire Chamber, SAYLSA and the Stranraer, Antrim and Belmont Community Hub on the other.

SWestrans want to see a new station built a couple of hundred metres nearer the A77 but the local community and business groups do not agree and feel this could actually hasten the demise of the railway already reeling from the loss of 60,000 ferry passengers who had until last November used the railway to travel towards the Central Belt.

“To destroy the station would be extremely insensitive and bring no benefit whatsoever,” says Community Hub spokesperson John McCutcheon".

This is echoed by Wigtownshire Chambers President Peter Jeal who along with the local Community Rail Partnership SAYLSA, have campaigned to see the former harbour station safeguarded.

“SAYLSA have a vision for the station that would see it as a beacon building for Stranraer at the heart of the new Waterfront Development.* To knock it down would be like destroying Edinburgh Castle because it is too far away from Princess Street.”

The station is the oldest harbour station in Scotland built 150 years ago this year and is the only maritime building of any note in the town.* At one time trains up to 17 vehicles in length formed the overnight Northern Irishman sleeper service to London Euston leaving Stranraer at 10.00pm everyday except Saturday night.* So long were the trains that they had to be assembled in three sections.* Two steam engines were allocated to these services, which in the end usually consisted of a Pacific such as a Clan or Britannia as the train engine and a Black 5 as the pilot engine.* Overnight sleeper services ended in the early 1990’s when the service had been reduced to a couple of carriages being routed via Glasgow to connect with the service south to England.

Over the years millions of passengers including hundreds of thousands of troops have passed through the station and also poignantly many of the passengers of the MV Princess Victoria on that ill-fated morning of January 31 1953.

Architects*have already been commissioned by both SAYLSA and the Chamber to draw up a vision for how the station can be regenerated.* These would include a relocated ticket office, waiting room and staff facilities, a retro café and an area set aside to promote Wigtownshire and commemorate the role the railway and ferries have played in maritime Stranraer.

SAYLSA’s Development Manager Richard Carr says “No one is saying that the existing station is appealing at the current time.* It is not.* But with a vision and some tlc it can be made part of a focal point of the new Waterfront Development. *Many Highland towns have lost their old stations including Fort William, Mallaig and Oban, which are now functional brick built structures with all the appeal of a convenience store.* It is important to marry heritage with quality and our vision is to achieve that.”

The concept drawings should be ready in the next few weeks and will be submitted to both the Stranraer Waterfront Task Force and Dumfries & Galloway Council as well as made available to the public for comment.
 

SprinterMan

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Stranraer needs what happened in Fishguard to happen there. Fishguard recieved a very limited service to connect with the ferry only, but since Fishguard & Goodwick station (closer to the population centre) opened the service on the line is much improved. If they renamed Stranraer station "Stranraer Harbour" then they could build a new station called "Stranraer Town" here:
http://g.co/maps/grrem

Adam :D
 
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yorksrob

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Here's another view of the situation:

http://www.saylsa.org.uk/saylsa_news.html
I do sympathise - although sadly such aspirations haven't been enough to save Folkestone Harbour station for example (yet at any rate).

If the local residents feel that strongly about the harbour station then SprinterMan's idea of an additional through station nearer the town centre is probably the best way to go.
 

ainsworth74

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If they renamed Stranraer station "Stranraer Harbour" then they could build a new station called "Stranraer Town" here:
http://g.co/maps/grrem
Surely they'd be better using what appears to be either a disused station or former carriage siding just a bit south of that location rather than building a brand new station in the middle of a housing estate?
 

SprinterMan

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Surely they'd be better using what appears to be either a disused station or former carriage siding just a bit south of that location rather than building a brand new station in the middle of a housing estate?
I thought that, but its as far out of town as the harbour, and it diverges from the line. They may as well just keep the harbour.
Adam :)
 

tbtc

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Regardless of the site of the Stranraer station, the other issue is the timetable - providing a reliable clockface timetable from Stranraer/ Girvan to Ayr/Kilmarnock. Lack of the ferry market (and the huge diversion) means that I wouldn't worry about direct services to Dumfries/ Carlisle/ Newcastle, but I would concentrate on a regular service to Ayr/Kilmarnock.

The current northbound timetable is

07:11, 10:12, 12:36, 14:43, 19:08, 21:13 (with Girvan getting more services).

Two DMUs would give a bi-hourly service from Stranraer to Kilmarnock (you could link these to existing Glasgow services) - since the ferry market isn't there you should focus on times that suit the locals instead.
 

ainsworth74

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I thought that, but its as far out of town as the harbour, and it diverges from the line. They may as well just keep the harbour.
Hmm I still think it looks like it would be better placed than the harbour (and you could perhaps buy that field and turn it into a nice car park not exposed to the sea). You also don't have the issues of having to build a brand new station (in what appears to be a cutting and the middle of a housing estate) which is going to be pretty expensive and disruptive. Also worth noting that the old station that I'm talking about was called Stranraer Town before it was closed ;)

Regardless of the site of the Stranraer station, the other issue is the timetable - providing a reliable clockface timetable from Stranraer/ Girvan to Ayr/Kilmarnock.
Agreed. Talking about the site of the station is probably putting the cart before the horse without also doing something about the timetable. To my mind two-hourly clockface service to Ayr/Kilmarnock (with extensions to Glasgow) would be very suitable. I think this line has potential but it's going to need a bit of work by Transport Scotland, Scotrail and local councils.
 

Greenback

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I doubt that the route is under threat of closure. What is important is trying to ensure that the railway flourishes by providing an accessible station for the town, along with a timetable that encourages usage of the line by locals and visitors now that there are no ferries.
 

SprinterMan

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Hmm I still think it looks like it would be better placed than the harbour (and you could perhaps buy that field and turn it into a nice car park not exposed to the sea). You also don't have the issues of having to build a brand new station (in what appears to be a cutting and the middle of a housing estate) which is going to be pretty expensive and disruptive. Also worth noting that the old station that I'm talking about was called Stranraer Town before it was closed ;)
Didn't know that :P

The locals seem to want to keep the harbour station though.
Can't have everything it seems :P
 

Wath Yard

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Instead of squabbling over a dilapidated eyesore that nobody uses the 'community' would be better actually supporting their local authority and using the service, then there would be no possibility of it being under threat.

When I last did the line last year on a Pathfinder tour there were representatives of some group who handed out leaflets. Very professional looking and they seemed to be making a real effort to attract passengers to the line. Good luck to them, but as for the majority of people who claim the line must be saved, the locals especially, I wonder when the last they used it was.
 

michael769

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My experience of these campaigns is that they tend to be from folks who like the idea of having the station than those who actually use it!

I suspect the folks who rely on the service just want their services to be maintained!
 

D6975

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Didn't know that :P

The locals seem to want to keep the harbour station though.
Can't have everything it seems :P
The old Stranraer Town station was on the start of the branch to Portpatrick, take a look on google earth, its route is clearly visible.
There was also a branch that came off a little to the east which headed north up the shore of Loch Ryan to Cairnryan. This was to supply the military base there. The route, again, is clearly visible on google earth.
Given that the ferries have moved to Cairnryan, reopening the old military railway route as a passenger line would make sense, but in reality is unlikely to happen. You could build a 'new' west-north chord onto the path of the branch, with trains reversing at Stranraer Town before going on to Cairnryan.

The branch to Heysham for the ferry has survived despite its sparse service, so perhaps - who knows.
 

Bruce Warren

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My understanding is that the plan is to build a smaller station with heated waiting room,
ticket office and toilet near the site of the now demolished sealink waiting room.

Unlike the shelter on the up line that Barrhill has to put up with, it would be a small but real
building. Money from the Scottish Parliament was supposed to have been awarded some years ago to build it.

It's about a third of a mile closer to the A77, but on the same side of the road as before
and would include a proper car park and bus stance so that buses, cars and even bicycles could call
at it. The official name was "Stranraer Public Transport Interchange"

About four sites were considered IIRC correctly, including the old town station, but ruled out for
various reasons. One site was ruled out because the platform would have had a slight gradient
which these days is considered unsafe. I think the town site was considered expensive to reconnect and signal properly not really much more central than the existing site.

The existing station is IMO
a) Too far down the pier when you have to walk there in the rain
b) Has no car park or bus stop
c) An eyesore.

Aside from "Architecture" the point at issue is that the new platform would only
accomodate a six car train as opposed to the much longer older one. Also without a
passing loop the fear is that it would no longer be possible to bring the annual steam
special into town. It is quite possible that the plan has been modified to accommodate
a passing loop, but I'm not sure about that.

Personally I think the new station would be a major improvement. As someone who has to get to Stranraer by bus, making a proper interchange can only be a step forward

WIth regard to Stena connection, they are actually bussing passengers to Ayr, not Girvan.
IMO this is absurd
 
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MarkyT

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My understanding is that the plan is to build a smaller station with heated waiting room,
ticket office and toilet near the site of the now demolished sealink waiting room.

. . .

Personally I think the new station would be a major improvement. As someone who has to get to Stranraer by bus, making a proper interchange can only be a step forward
Agree completely. Retention of the existing site is a nonsense now the ferry has gone. A slightly better solution might be to extend a little further curving round to the north of the car parks along the harbour wall and terminating in the green space north of Harbour Street, with a public entrance next to the tourist information office. The problem with this is you'd need a level crossing or road bridge into the former ferry terminal site.

Another idea to improve the economics of the line as a whole might be an additional parkway station near Whitecrook on the A75.
 

Essexman

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I used the line a couple of years ago, hiring a car at Stranraer, which may not be so easy now ferries have moved, and was surprised at how scenic the route is. It should be marketed for tourism, perhaps with coach trips meeting trains at Stranraer.
 

yorksrob

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Good luck to them, but as for the majority of people who claim the line must be saved, the locals especially, I wonder when the last they used it was.
All well and good, but you can't blame the locals if the trains are at all the wrong times.
 

Greenback

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Instead of squabbling over a dilapidated eyesore that nobody uses the 'community' would be better actually supporting their local authority and using the service, then there would be no possibility of it being under threat.
As yorksrob says above, it's a bit difficult to get people to use trains unless they run at times people need to use them, and take people to where they want or need to go at a reasonable speed.

Which is why the line needs a bit of a makeover now that the ferries have gone!

My understanding is that the plan is to build a smaller station with heated waiting room,
ticket office and toilet near the site of the now demolished sealink waiting room.
That sounds promising.

Unlike the shelter on the up line that Barrhill has to put up with, it would be a small but real
building. Money from the Scottish Parliament was supposed to have been awarded some years ago to build it.

It's about a third of a mile closer to the A77, but on the same side of the road as before
and would include a proper car park and bus stance so that buses, cars and even bicycles could call
at it. The official name was "Stranraer Public Transport Interchange"
This is exactly the sort of thing that Stranraer needs.

Personally I think the new station would be a major improvement. As someone who has to get to Stranraer by bus, making a proper interchange can only be a step forward.
I agree, provided that a loop is retaine dfor excursion trains. I don't have an issue with a six car platfrom, it's longer than a lot of places.
 

Blindtraveler

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how about a bus stop at current station and a bus connecting with trains, maybe an extention of current town service? And ignore going to Glasgow, run a 2 hourly service to Ayr and they can change there to the electric service. Better for viabilitty and environment
 

ChiefPlanner

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Some serious questions here ...especially with the long term decline of the passenger traffic and the relative sparseness of the population.

Ask yourself , would you build this railway now ....?
 
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