Scaffolding set to make a difference
Public safety works that will allow for the reduction of an extended exclusion zone at Ayr train station are set to get underway from Saturday 15 September 2018.
The extended exclusion zone has been in place to keep people safe and protect them from a dangerous building adjacent to Ayr Station which includes the former Station Hotel – since Monday 27 August 2018.
As a result of the extended exclusion zone, ScotRail made some changes to services in relation to access to the station for trains with more than four coaches, and the introduction of replacement buses between Ayr and Girvan/Stranraer.
South Ayrshire Council has been working closely with Transport Scotland (through the recently established task force), ScotRail, Network Rail and Historic Environment Scotland to address the public safety issues at the station, with the aim of reducing the extended exclusion zone as soon as it's safe to do so.
To help achieve this, contractors will begin to erect scaffolding around the building from Saturday 15 September 2018.
The aim of these works is to put in place sufficient protective measures to address the public safety issues and reduce the extended exclusion zone – as soon as it's safe to do so, allowing greater access for the safe passage of trains (including those with more than four coaches) and passengers, and the reinstatement of services to stations south of Ayr.
To ensure the works can be completed as quickly as possible, contractors will operate 24 hours a day. The works are expected to be completed by mid-October 2018 subject to progress, although this period may have to be extended.
The wider programme of public safety measures at the building adjacent to Ayr Station which includes the former Station Hotel, and the works to complete a structural survey, will continue beyond this time.
South Ayrshire Council Chief Executive, Eileen Howat, said: "The extended exclusion zone at the train station – and its impact on rail services – is far from ideal, but we've had to take this action to keep people safe and that's something we cannot, and will not, take any chances with.
"Our priority right now is to do what's needed to allow the extended exclusion zone to be reduced when safe to do so and for rail services to get back to normal, and that's exactly what we're doing.
"Once that has been achieved, we will continue to progress the wider programme of public safety works as well as the works to complete a structural survey, which will help inform the next steps with regards to the building's future."
Andrew Mackie, Transport Scotland's Head of Rail Franchising said: "Passengers will welcome news that early work is underway to reduce the exclusion zone around Ayr Station, enabling the return of full rail services as quickly and safely as possible in the coming weeks.
"In the longer term, any solution identified must contribute to the economic prosperity of the town centre and the communities south of Ayr currently without a train service. This means we need to explore all the available options for dealing with the Station Hotel property which, in its current state, presents a significant safety risk not only to the railway line but also the immediate vicinity. Only by continuing to work in close partnership with the relevant agencies and the local community can we reach an effective solution for everyone concerned - particularly those passengers, the local community and businesses directly affected."
ScotRail Head of Service Planning Dave Smith said: "The extension of the exclusion zone by South Ayrshire Council has had a significant impact on our services and it has been our priority to keep Ayr station open for our customers.
"We are glad to have been able to do that and we are providing the best possible service under the circumstances.
"The beginning of the works to remove the extended exclusion zone is a fantastic step forward and until then we are working flat out to keep our customers moving."
You can keep up-to-date with the latest information regarding the building adjacent to Ayr Station which includes the former Station Hotel at www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/station-hotel