South Scotland

Keith Brown makes Stranraer rail pledge

Stranraer
Image caption There have been concerns about rail links to the town after a ferry terminal moved away

Transport Minister Keith Brown has given an "absolute commitment" on the future of rail services to Stranraer, during a visit to the town.

Concerns have been raised about the future of the route since Stena Line moved its ferry terminal from the town.

Mr Brown met local Labour politicians to discuss their call to improve rail services to the area.

He said a task force looking to regenerate the town would meet this month and would discuss rail links.

The minister met Labour MP Russell Brown, MSP Claudia Beamish and councillor Willie Scobie.

They have highlighted the "sense of urgency" about the situation after Stena Line, which operates ferries to Northern Ireland, left Stranraer and moved to a new ferry terminal nearer the mouth of Loch Ryan.

Many foot passengers used to use Stranraer station after getting off the ferry.

Stena Line now takes foot passengers by bus from its terminal near Cairnryan to Ayr railway station.

However, it has indicated it would consider using Stranraer if the timetable tied in with its sailings.

The transport minister said the Scottish government was committed to doing all it could to "improve and develop" the rail service.

"Our current Rail2014 consultation allows the public to have their say in the future of the railways in Scotland and I can assure passengers that we will continue to ensure the delivery of the best possible service," he said.

"The Stranraer task force set up in November will explore potential options for the future of the Stranraer waterfront and I have assured Russell Brown and Claudia Beamish that it will include rail in its remit."

The last Stena sailing from Stranraer left the town in November.

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