The Barrhill Community Bus.
© John Yellowlees, 2012
When Stena relocated their Irish ferries from Stranraer to Cairnryan in November 2011, the Ayr-Stranraer railway lost its historic purpose of conveying passengers from Glasgow to meet them.
SAYLSA (the Stranraer to Ayr Line Support Association) is a community rail partnership and was formed in 2007 in anticipation of the need for the line to diversify into new markets.
It soon made its impact with the adoption of stations including the reopening of a shop at the main intermediate town of Girvan, hosting a number of commemorative events and producing an excellent line guide now on its third edition.
Climate Challenge funding enabled SAYLSA to diversify into further activities including the production of guides to walking and cycling from the line's stations and easy-to-read station-specific timetables which have been shortlisted for a Community Rail Award.
Such funding also allowed acquisition of a 17-seater Community Bus based at the third and most deeply rural intermediate station of Barrhill.
A Scotrail train arriving at Stranraer with Cairnryan visible in the distance.
© Yellowlees, 2012
The bus has potential for conveying shoppers from its Galloway hinterland to meet the train to Ayr and Glasgow.
It also enables daytrippers from Scotland's Central Belt to reach from the train such attractions as Glen Trool in the Galloway Forest Park, Scotland's most southerly distillery at Bladnoch and the country's book town at Wigtown which holds a festival each September.
During a ScotRail fares promotion in August and September to regenerate Stranraer's economy the Barrhill Community Bus is encouraging visitors to access nearby attractions including gardens that thrive in Galloway's mild climate.
Another forthcoming boost to the Stranraer line's fortunes will be a DVD offering a driver's eye view of the journey from Stranraer to Glasgow narrated for Video 125 by Paul Coia and written by SAYLSA development manager Richard Carr.
The Scottish Region would like to thank Richard Carr for taking them on a fascinating exploration of Galloway in the Barrhill Community Bus."
Report and photographs by John Yellowlees.
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