Stranraer line is once again top of the rural routes in Scotland

Girvan station is one of the improvements planned by SAYLSA.
Girvan station is one of the improvements planned by SAYLSA.

The Ayr-Stranraer line is once again the best performing rural line in Scotland, enjoying a 7.4% increase in passenger journeys in 2013-14.

The service managed to beat other major rural lines in Scotland including connections serving Aberdeen and Inverness and the West Highland Way.

Barrhill station has shown a staggering increase in numbers, growing to 11,214 in 2013/14 from a number of 5,712 in 2012/13.

However, this was due to undereporting of passenger numbers at Barrhill,which was discovered by SAYLSA, the community rail partnership for the line. The revised figures mean Barrhill enjoys almost a quarter of passengers that Stranraer had in 2013/14.

Maybole’s numbers have risen by over 18% from 70,902 in 2012/13 to 83,716 in 2013/14 whilst Girvan also enjoyed an increase from 134,072 to 138,692 in the same period.

Chair of SAYLSA Dr Mhairi McKenna said “This is fantastic news and again demonstrates the value of the Community Rail Partnership in helping deliver continual growth in passenger journeys. “Given the lack of investment compared to north of Ayr this achievement is both remarkable and a vindication of all the hard work expended since 2007 when the communities became actively involved.

“It also demonstrates our strategy is correct and that direct services to Glasgow should be maintained.”

The new timetables from Scotrail will start on December 14 but there are no changes on the Stranraer line. SAYLSA will deliver their pocket timetables in communities on the line, something which SAYLSA has been key to the impressive growth rates on the line.

Richard Carr, SAYLSA’s development manager added: “There is every indication from the data sets that if the Scottish Government want to see more people travelling to and from Stranraer fares to the town must be reduced. Numbers are up but the increases are still small. However compared to towns in the Highlands who have the benefit of the half priced Highland Rail card Stranraer does well. “It could do even better with more equitable ticket prices, especially for local residents.”