Ayr railway station

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Ayr National Rail
Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Àir[1]
Ayr - Abellio 380108 and 380011.JPG
Ayr railway station, with Abellio ScotRail Class 380s in the bay platforms
Local authoritySouth Ayrshire
Coordinates55°27′30″N 4°37′33″W / 55.4583°N 4.6258°W / 55.4583; -4.6258Coordinates: 55°27′30″N 4°37′33″W / 55.4583°N 4.6258°W / 55.4583; -4.6258
Grid referenceNS340214
Station codeAYR
Managed byAbellio ScotRail
Number of platforms4
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2014/15Increase 1.572 million
– Interchange Increase 50,474
2015/16Decrease 1.556 million
– Interchange Increase 72,700
2016/17Increase 1.635 million
– Interchange Increase 77,163
2017/18Increase 1.676 million
– Interchange Decrease 76,935
2018/19Decrease 1.459 million
– Interchange Decrease 59,615
Passenger Transport Executive
12 January 1886Opened
Listed status
Listing gradeCategory B
Entry numberLB21808[2]
Added to list10 January 1980
National RailUK railway stations
  • Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Ayr from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Ayr railway station serves the town of Ayr in South Ayrshire, Scotland. It is situated in Smith Street, off Burns Statue Square. The station, which is managed by Abellio ScotRail, is on the Ayrshire Coast Line, 41 12 miles (66.8 km) south-west of Glasgow Central.


The station was opened on 12 January 1886 by the Glasgow and South Western Railway.[3] This was the third station to be named 'Ayr' in the town: the original station, located on the former Glasgow, Paisley, Kilmarnock and Ayr Railway, opened in 1839. When the Ayr and Dalmellington Railway was opened in 1856, a station called Ayr Townhead was opened on the south side of the town. When the original Ayr station was closed on 1 July 1857,[3] Townhead station was renamed 'Ayr', however this second station closed the same day the current station opened.[3] The current station was built just 300 yards (270 m) south of the previous station.[3] The Glasgow and South Western Railway became part of the London Midland and Scottish Railway during the Grouping of 1923, passing on to the Scottish Region of British Railways during the nationalisation of 1948.

When sectorisation was introduced in the 1980s, the station was served by ScotRail until the privatisation of British Rail.

Station description[edit]

The automatic ticket barriers in 2007

Ayr station consists of two through platforms, and two bay platforms to the north.[4] The northbound platform station building is located on the ground floor of the four-storey hotel attached to the station, and the southbound platform has a large single storey sandstone building.[4] The glazed canopy that covers a small section of all four platforms and the waiting area was originally much larger than its current size.[4]

The station has one of eight remaining ticket offices on the Ayr to Glasgow Central line, the others being Prestwick Town, Troon, Irvine, Kilwinning, Johnstone, Paisley Gilmour Street and Glasgow Central. In December 2006, the station received automatic ticket barriers as part of ScotRail's revenue protection policy.[5]


The Station Hotel in September 2017, showing buddleja growth

The hotel attached to the station was originally opened by the Glasgow and South Western Railway in June 1866; and it became part of the British Transport Hotels (BTH) at nationalisation.[6] Future President Woodrow Wilson stayed in the hotel during his cycling trip in Britain in 1899.[7] It was sold by BTH in October 1951[6] and has changed ownership a number of times, having been owned by Stakis Hotels, Quality, and Swallow Hotels. Together with the railway station building, it is a category B listed building.[2]

The Station Hotel is currently derelict and is on the Buildings at Risk register for Scotland.[8] Its poor condition had necessitated an exclusion zone that covered a portion of the station platforms and tracks.[9]



Class 318s at Ayr

Ayr used to have an Intercity twice-daily London Euston service (one daytime and one sleeping car train) which ran to/from Stranraer via Barassie to the Glasgow South Western Line, which ceased in the early 1990s. In the 1980s the Royal Scot started from Ayr. Following completion of the electrification of the Ayrshire Coast Line the train operated in push-pull mode with Class 87 or Class 90. In the early 1990s with the restructuring of British Rail the train ceased to start from Ayr.

The Ayr to Glasgow service is one of the busiest on the rail network in Scotland and can suffer from serious overcrowding at peak times. To alleviate this, in June 2005 ScotRail extended the length of trains departing Ayr between 0643 and 1813 on weekdays to six cars wherever possible. Between 2002 and 2011 the Glasgow - Ayr route were served by Class 334s and 1986-2011 Class 318s.

May 2011[edit]

There are trains from Ayr to Glasgow Central every half hour daily, except for Sundays during the winter timetable (October–May), when the frequency is hourly. From May 2011, most services on Ayrshire and Inverclyde lines were operated by Class 380s. By the end of June 2011 Class 318 and 334 had been largely replaced, however on rare occasions they were still being used.

There are also less frequent services (operated by Class 156 DMUs) from Ayr to Girvan (roughly every two hours), Stranraer (six per day) and Kilmarnock (two-hourly). There is a limited service to Stranraer on Sundays (three trains only).

Ayr Railway Station, with Class 380 380006 at Platform 1 and Aviation Fuel tankers at Platform 3

December 2012[edit]

There are three trains per hour from Ayr to Glasgow Central during weekdays consisting of two limited stop services and one all stations service. On Sundays there is a half-hourly service to Glasgow.

There are also less frequent services (operated by Class 156 DMUs) from Ayr to Girvan (roughly every hour), Stranraer (six per day) and Kilmarnock (two-hourly). On Sundays there are three trains to Stranraer. As of early 2014, there are four daily services to Edinburgh Waverley direct, via Carstairs.

December 2019[edit]

Monday - Saturday: Off peak, there are four trains per hour to Glasgow (two fast & two stopping).

There are 5 trains per day to Edinburgh via Glasgow and Motherwell

There is a regular hourly service to Girvan, There are 10 trains to Kilmarnock, running a two hourly frequency (with extras during the morning and evening).

There are 8 services to Stranraer, running every two hours (with a 4-hour gap in the evening).

Sunday: There is a half-hourly service to Glasgow, there are five trains to Girvan and Stranraer but there is no service to Kilmarnock. [10]

August to November 2018 amended timetable[edit]

All services from Ayr to Girvan/Stranraer were operated by replacement buses due to the exclusion zone that was place around the hotel. On Monday to Saturday there was a two-hourly service from Ayr to Kilmarnock operated by Class 156 DMUs. Ayr to Glasgow Central services ran at reduced capacity. Trains could not be longer than four carriages.[11]

On 1 November 2018, ScotRail reinstated the service from Ayr to Stranraer. The first service to run was the 16:59 service from Stranraer to Glasgow. It was the first train to run south of Ayr for two months.[12]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Terminus   Abellio ScotRail
Ayrshire Coast Line
Maybole   Abellio ScotRail
Glasgow South Western Line
  Prestwick Town
  Historical railways  
Line and station closed
  Glasgow and South Western Railway
Maidens and Dunure Railway
  Connection with A&DR
at Alloway Junction
Maybole Junction
Line open; station closed
  Glasgow and South Western Railway
Ayr and Dalmellington Railway
Line and station open
Connection with A&DR
at Hawkhill Junction
  Glasgow and South Western Railway
Ayr to Mauchline Branch
Line open; station closed

Ferry connections[edit]

Stena Line passengers travelling on through "Rail & Sail" tickets to Belfast are provided with a free coach service direct from Ayr station to Cairnryan. This departs from outside the main entrance.[13]

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Cairnryan Harbour
(via connecting coach or Stranraer)
  Stena Line
or Great Victoria Street
(via Port of Belfast)
Cairnryan Harbour
(via Stranraer)
  P&O Ferries
  Larne Harbour



  1. ^ Brailsford 2017, Gaelic/English Station Index.
  2. ^ a b Historic Environment Scotland. "Smith Street, Ayr Station and Station Hotel including canopies, footbridge, lamp standards, gatepiers, railings and boundary wall (LB21808)". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Butt, p. 22
  4. ^ a b c Hume, p. 46
  5. ^ "ScotRail: Automatic ticket gates". Archived from the original on 30 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b Carter (1990). Appendix 1.
  7. ^ Woodrow Wilson Papers: Series 1: Diaries and Diary Material, 1876-1924; Diaries, 1876-1904
  8. ^ "Station Hotel, Smith Street, Ayr". Buildings at Risk register for Scotland. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Train delays due to station 'danger' zone". 28 August 2018 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  10. ^ https://www.scotrail.co.uk/sites/default/files/assets/download_ct/20249_ayrshire_inverclyde_and_stranraer.pdf
  11. ^ "20/12/18: Services return to normal at Ayr station | ScotRail". www.scotrail.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Stories around our network". Network Rail.
  13. ^ "Sail & Rail". www.stenaline.co.uk.


  • Brailsford, Martyn, ed. (December 2017) [1987]. Railway Track Diagrams 1: Scotland & Isle of Man (6th ed.). Frome: Trackmaps. ISBN 978-0-9549866-9-8.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  • Carter, Oliver (1990). An illustrated history of British Railway Hotels: 1838-1983. St Michael's: Silver Link Publishing. ISBN 0-947971-36-X.
  • Hume, John R. (1976). The Industrial Archaeology of Scotland, Vol. 1: The Lowlands and Borders. London: B. T. Batsford Ltd. ISBN 0-7134-3234-9.

External links[edit]