Finlay Carson MSP

Galloway and West Dumfries

Carson secures commitment from First Minister on rail plans

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has secured a commitment from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the right contingency plans must be in place if trains ever again are shut off from Stranraer.

The Conservative MSP, who engaged regularly with rail operators and South Ayrshire Council in order to ensure trains would run again south of Ayr, pressed the First Minister on the issue at First Minister’s Questions.

Referring to a potential contingency plan when Platform Four was cut off due to the instability at Ayr Station, Mr Carson asked if the First Minister would give a personal commitment that  fit for purpose contingency plans would be in place, if a similar situation ever arose again.

Replying to Mr Carson, the First Minister confirmed: “We must all work to ensure the right plans are in place and the right contingency plans are in place to ensure that this disruption is not replicated and I give that undertaking today.”

Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “With trains being completely withdrawn for over two months, it was a hugely frustrating time for my constituents and indeed the whole of the South West of Scotland, and it is a situation I hope never happens again.

“While I thank Scotrail for their hard work in ensuring that some services began running again last week, it is clear that there were not proper contingency plans in place, despite the instability of the Ayr Station Hotel being widely known.

“That is why I challenged the First Minister to make a personal commitment to ensure that contingency plans would be fully developed so that they can immediately be implemented, if this situation ever happened again.

“I’m pleased that she agreed to make that commitment, and it is now absolutely imperative that the Taskforce works to  ensure that a full service continues running south of Ayr whatever the fate of the Station Hotel.”