Rail services from Ayr to Glasgow are to resume next week when safety work on the fire-damaged former Ayr Station Hotel is complete.

ScotRail said direct electric services between the coastal town and Glasgow Central would return on Monday, 17 June, the same day South Ayrshire Council is scheduled to finish its work on the privately-owned former hotel.

The Grade B listed building suffered extensive damage in a fire which began on 25 September last year.

Train services were suspended and replaced by buses between Ayr and Prestwick until December, before a shuttle train service was re-introduced using one of the station's four platforms.

That was withdrawn at the beginning of June as Network Rail engineers started removing debris and repairing the tracks ready for operation again.

A full timetable, with the return of services between Kilmarnock, Ayr, Girvan and Stranraer, is expected to be up and running by mid-July.

The blaze last September was the second in four months, following an earlier fire in May 2023.

The derelict hotel was previously wrapped in protective scaffolding and an exclusion zone put in place around it after a dangerous building notice was served in March 2018.

Safety work - carried out under strict criteria limiting any demolition of listed buildings - has addressed the risk of collapsing chimneys, fire-damaged supporting beams and crumbling walls.

The southern section of the building, the tower and the first three bays of the northern section have all been removed.

Although the remaining part of the building is in poor condition, it has been deemed not to be an immediate safety risk, so cannot be removed under section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

A further dangerous building notice has been issued, meaning the owners of the remainder of the building must make it safe.

'Patience and understanding'

Network Rail is already looking to prevent unauthorised access, prop the newly-formed gable and secure the canopies which run across the platform and the tracks.

The firm's managing director, Liam Sumpter, said teams were "working hard to have the track ready".

"Alongside our colleagues at ScotRail, we’re looking forward to welcoming passengers back to the station and on to services next week," he added.

“We’d like to thank passengers and the Ayr community for their patience and understanding during the station closure.”

Ayr Station Hotel originally catered for an affluent clientele holidaying on the coast when it opened in 1855.

More recently it held parties and weddings as well as being a key landmark for commuters in the town centre.

But it fell into disrepair after an "absentee owner" failed to maintain the building or respond to enforcement action.

2024-06-11T11:21:36Z dg43tfdfdgfd