Rail link for Loch Ryan port unlikely

Stena Line is currently reviewing its connection plans to and from its new £80m Loch Ryan port near Cairnryan, due to open in the Autumn.

Paul Grant, Route Director for Stena Line Scotland-Northern Ireland said:

“We have invested £80m in providing a state-of –the-art port and terminal facility for our customers. Loch Ryan is the UK’s third largest gateway and plays a key role in facilitating the free movement of passengers and goods between Scotland and Northern Ireland.

“Improvements in the road and rail infrastructure are not within our gift and while we welcome the limited schedule of road upgrades on the A77 and A75, unfortunately support for rail links in the area seems to be lacking.

“While our plans have yet to be finalised, taking passengers south to head back north again doesn’t seem logical as it increases overall journey times and rail facilities at Stranraer continue to remain sparse. We are still in discussion with ScotRail, but at this stage we are considering a number of options including longer coach transfers to Girvan or Ayr.

“While this option is not our preferred one, in the absence of any commitment to improve rail links in the region, the alternatives are limited. As an organisation Stena Line takes a long term view when it comes to its investment strategy.

“The role the company plays in maintaining and improving the link between Scotland and Northern Ireland is supported at the highest level within the organisation, hence the £80m port investment.

“Reciprocal support for the travel infrastructure around the port would be welcomed wholeheartedly by Stena Line but at present this support seems to be limited to a number of road projects only. Over the years rail and ferry collaboration has been a feature of our business in the region and it would be disappointing to see this connection fade away.”


  1. Presumably Stena Line’s long term investment view did not include a rail link when the u00a380M was approved to move from a rail served facility at Stranraer to the Loch Ryan facility? Not exactly anyone else’s fault is it Mr Grant? – perhaps if Stena Line are that bothered they might put their hand in their pocket and fund a link!nnI don’t claim to be an expert in maritime transport matters, but I am surprised at the claim that Loch Ryan is the UK’s 3rd largest gateway – does this mean that only two other ports are larger? – e.g. only two from a list that includes Southampton, Harwich, Felixstowe, Dover, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Tilbury etc, etc? Perhaps it must mean something else?

  2. Yet again the authorities who allow an almost entirely car-based development to take place, with minimal rail facilities have been caught napping. Stena appear to be blaming everybody else but it was their daft idea to build a port miles from the station in the first place, and to expect somebody else to pick up the tab to accommodate them. B’stards!nnAs for being the third largest facility, this probably relates to passenger flows, and is doubtless boosted by Rangers games…

  3. Can stena explain to their disabled customers who dont have cars how they get to the ferry although after last years debacle when we visited ireland by the time we got off the ferry after
    the cars and there being a lift that only holds one person myself and sister, daughter and 2 grand daughters were left stranded because the coach had left before we got off the security had to call someone out to run my sister round to her car maybe no one should use their new ferry

  4. This is an absolute debacle. Stena held the Scottish Government to ransom saying either we get what we want or we pull out of Lochryan altogether. Stranraer Port will be dead, it’s rail link consisting of mostly ferry passengers will die soon because of the coach transfer set up from Ayr. Travelling from Glasgow to Belfast will take one hour longer using this method than it was getting a train to Stranraer and boarding the ferry there, plus the environmental impact of herding an extra 32500 ex-rail passengers onto the goat track known as the A77. Stena proposed that Stranraer harbour will be given over to the town for free on condition they don’t attract another ferry company to use it because they also know that the town can’t afford to buy the harbour. Also airy-fairy plans have been drawn up to woo the locals turning Stranraer harbour into hotels, housing, shops and a light industry complex but who exactly will come to a now dead end town of 10,000 population? Disgraceful!


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