Work is about to begin on a new staff accommodation block at Ayr station in the first phase of a programme that will unlock significant improvements for passengers and the operation of the station.
The installation of a new modular block to the east of the station; opposite platform four, will provide staff with a fully functioning base, independent of the original station building. It will serve as a booking-on point for drivers and host general welfare facilities for all station-based staff.
First phase work alone represents an investment of circa £1.3m to improve Ayr station.
The location of the new block means that work can be progressed without the need to close the line at any point. It will also enable the removal of portacabins to free up parking spaces.
Work on the accommodation block is being done first to free up the platform one area for what will be a future phase of investment to construct a new station entrance and will include a ticket office and waiting area with customer toilets.
With their previous facilities in a deteriorating condition and no longer habitable, station staff at Ayr have been in several temporary portacabins located in the main station car park since early 2019. As part of the hotel, the staff accommodation was served with a dangerous buildings notice – with South Ayrshire Council then taking control of the hotel and by default, the station building – prompting the move to temporary accommodation.
In addition to the installation of the staff accommodation, Network Rail will deliver a package of works to make the station operate more efficiently in the short term – upgrading access and walking routes, expanding circulation space as well as improving the general aesthetic appearance of the facility.
Richard Kinsella, Network Rail’s route asset manager overseeing the Ayr station works said; “We believe that more than a year in temporary accommodation has been a significant imposition on staff and it is important that we can deliver work space that is fit for purpose and offers a degree of stability for the medium term.
“The first phase of work to create the staff accommodation will free-up space on the platform one side of the station to allow future enhancements that will benefit passengers and improve the area to serve as a gateway more befitting the town.
“We are grateful to South Ayrshire Council for their cooperation in making this happen and for their commitment to ensuring the station continues to operate safely for staff and for the people of the town who use it on a daily basis.”
This work is required in the short-term to improve the situation for both staff and passengers using the station and is separate from any discussions around the future of the former Station Hotel. A Task-Force is currently set-up looking at the long-term plan for the former hotel/ station building.