Call for urgency over decision on hotel’s future
MSP hits out after trains start rolling again
A decision on the future of Ayr’s Station Hotel must not be kicked down the road, insists an MSP.
Brian Whittle says officials must act with more urgency than ever following the resumption of services south of the town.
The surprise call to send trains back on the route to Stranraer was made by ScotRail bosses on Thursday.
Their decision followed a morning test run on the track beneath the crumbling hotel.
But South of Scotland member, Mr Whittle, warned: “Just because the trains are running again, no- one should feel we can put off making a decision about the Station Hotel’s future.
“A general unwillingness by South Ayrshire Council and others to think about the future of the building were what got us into this mess and I’m not prepared to see action put off again.
“The Station Hotel can’t be allowed to sit abandoned for a minute more than is necessary to make the decision.
“People who rely on the railway can’t afford any more dithering and delay.”
Work to stabilise the B- Listed structure continues this week with a scaffolding being erected.
One source close to the works said: “The roof is a big problem and is nowhere near being tackled yet.
“It remains to be seen what the structural engineers will want to do but saving it is a very big job.”
Limited services are now running to Stranraer for the first time since council chiefs threw up an exclusion zone in August.
Buses will continue to operate for the services that haven’t been reintroduced, and for services between Ayr and Girvan.
The existing timetable for services between Ayr and Glasgow Central remains in place.
Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “We know it has been a challenging time for our customers, so we are pleased to be able to restore some services between Ayr and Stranraer.
“We are working flat out with South Ayrshire Council and our task force partners to get all services to and from Ayr back to normal as soon as possible.”
Bill Reeve, chair of Ayr Station Task Force, added: “The return of rail passenger services between Stranraer and Ayr is a welcome step towards resolving this issue.
“While we remain mindful there is still work to be done to restore the complete service it is good that hard work by both South Ayrshire Council and the ScotRail Alliance has now made this first step possible.
“The Task Force partners continue to work together to ensure we can bring back a full timetable as quickly as possible and we thank businesses, commuters and the local community for their continued patience while we do.”
MSP Brian Whittle and the wrapped up Station Hotel